Just embarrassing

My wife asked me a good question yesterday.  Why does the Windsor Star devote so much news coverage to Amherstburg and not all of the other communities in Essex County?

Now, I don’t know if it’s factually true; I’ve never counted stories and certainly she looks for local content when she’s reading.

My reply was “Because you never know what silliness you can expect”.

All of this conversation was generated by this recent story.  “Amherstburg budget meeting takes quirky twists and turns“.

The budget part actually appears at the bottom of the story.  The silliness part appears right at the top with councillors complaining about computer problems including a conspiracy theory that someone had taken control over one of the councillor computers.

Now, these are not cheap computers.  The report points a finger at the “Trackpoint” on the computer.  If you know computers, you know that the Trackpoint is a key part of Lenovo computers and now is only available on the higher end products.  I used to love my Trackpoint although I worked in a world of haters.  If you’re long of computer use, you’ll remember that that was the only pointing option on the very first laptops.  Now, you have trackpads as well or, on some of the less expensive models, only the trackpad.  My solution for the haters was to just pop the rubber cap so that they couldn’t see it and therefore bump it. Consequently, I always had a supply of caps so that I could be seen with a clean one.

Fortunately, in this case, the council had the services of the IT staff who took control of the situation.  The article is amusing to read and it was somehow comforting to know that the voice of reason was our mayor.  However, it wasn’t one of those stories that make you stand up and proudly say “that’s my hometown”.

Now, to the councillors’ defense, they’re probably not computer people.  They just want/need to use the technology for their position.  It’s the same in a lot of cases, including education, where technology is so prevalent.  It begs the question “How often do we just drop off this expensive piece of technology and just expect that people know all the ins and outs of it and the software that it runs.  Backups?  Malware scanning?”

The answer, of course, lies in education.  You don’t just dump and run.  Expertise is gained by providing continuous learning activities for the end user.  To not provide that, in this day and age, I would suggest is technology malpractice.

For the regular reader of this blog, I know that this is old news for you.  You read and learn constantly.  But, take a look around the staffroom.  Can you say the same for everyone?  If your school/district providing the opportunities to learn?  If not, you can hardly blame those who don’t fully understand and still believe in computer gremlins.

Oh, and it looks like taxes might go up too.

4 thoughts on “Just embarrassing

  1. This one struck a chord, Doug. We are about to start a new rollout for teacher devices. As part of the process, teachers will have to completely clear their old ones, transfer their data (temporarily) to another spot, and then will be encouraged to save to a cloud environment with the new device. Can you imagine how much fun those of us who act as tech contacts in the schools are going to have with that one. I will be starting to plant the seed at a staff meeting tomorrow.🙂

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  2. Ouch! That’s not going to be a pleasant activity, Lisa. I would suspect that your tech-savvy folks will already have a backup and the process will be less painful. But for the nervous computer user? You’re going to be a busy person, my friend.

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  3. Hi Doug and Lisa,

    This post was so interesting to me because, as you know, I’m a big believer of putting funds towards professional learning. In my new role with the Technology and Learning Fund at the Ministry, it’s awesome to see that boards must spend at least 20 percent of their dollars on professional learning, and up to a maximum of 80 percent on the technology itself.

    When I was with my board, I always heard that 80% needed to be spent on the technology – and that always confused me given that all the research over the last 30 years points to the fact that building teacher capacity is an integral part of learning to use technology in transformative ways.

    Imagine my surprise when I learned that the wording was actually “UP TO 80% for acquisition of digital tools and resources” — I love that. Sometimes you get enough ‘stuff’ and need to focus the dollars towards learning about effective use! Hope your new project gets there, Lisa…good luck!

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