Monday, February 9, 2015

Ed Tech's Best Friend

As I ventured into the world of an Educational Technology Specialists within my district last December, I imaged working very closely with my assigned schools and teachers. I was excited to start and wanted to make a good first impression... However, my first week was also the last week before Christmas vacation, which I knew was not going to be the best week to reach out to teachers. So spent my first few days sending out more emails than I had in the weeks prior. It was like the beginning of the year packets for students, except through emails to introduce myself to my seven assigned schools. I reached out to all the school's principals and their TK and Kinder teams. I couldn't wait for teachers to respond to my emails. While I patiently awaited responses, I began creating a master schedule for myself. This schedule included general details related to each school (such as their Apple ID logins, bell schedules) and then left space to add specific details about each teacher (classroom schedule, room numbers, when they preferred to meet). 

My first week back from Christmas vacation was filled with different site visits meeting with principals and teachers. Those first few weeks were spent getting to know my teachers, their schedules, routines and goals for utilizing their iPads.... wait a second. That's not exactly how my days were spent... 

Honestly, who am I trying to fool! That was how each day started... but I soon discovered that I'd be spending much more time getting to know a whole other team of people, our Technology Support Services (TSS)These are the guys responsible for setting up and fixing our technology within the district, and without them, there wouldn't be Ed Tech. However, I ended up feeling like I was more apart of their team instead of the classroom. I worked closely with many of the site techs (yes, each of my assigned schools have a different TSS tech) to problem-solving issues with our devices and the Mobile Device Management system (MDM). Eventually, it was discovered that some how all our iPads were set up incorrectly and had to be taken back to the district to be reconfigured. However, even after this correction, some sites still experienced on-going issues with their devices. Luckily, I have become an expert in our MDM system and can usually problem-solve issues for my teachers. And for when I can't figure it out, I now have a few different TSS techs on speed dial!!!  Without a great TSS department, Ed Tech can easily become a huge frustration for teachers and students. I am thankful that our district has a handful of great TSS techs to support us!