an excerpt from an upcoming NEW book from Darryl Vidal….the Tao of Education Technology
The Paradox of IT and Ed Tech
So we see that the dilemma of technology in the learning environment is a conundrum from its core. Its inherent cost and cost of ownership is a capital expenditure like no other the school has faced going back to Persia.
Let’s take a stab at it:
Information Technology is the organization responsible for managing infrastructure, information services, maintenance and support of computing and technology equipment.
Education Technology is the organization responsible for supporting technology pedagogy and technology professional development.
If we examine each school’s definition of IT and Ed Tech these distinctions become glaring.
In these organizational charts, we see varying degrees of centralized leadership for IT and Ed Tech.
In the Legacy organization, Figure 1, which to a large degree still defines many or most smaller sized school districts, we see the IT techies working under Business, and the Ed Techies working under curriculum. Although there is no reason this cannot be successful, we can see that there is an organizational divide that must be overcome in order to align the priorities of these two disparate departments.
In the Modern organization, Figure 3, we see Technology elevated to the cabinet level, garnering its own resources and mind-share at the leadership level. This org chart, may be recognized in some medium-to-large school districts in an attempt to prioritize technology within the school/district. But is this flawed organizational thinking?
In the Modern-Evolved organization, Figure 4, we see Ed Tech and IT consolidated under Curriculum. This organization does two things:
Aligns the objectives and priorities of Ed Tech and IT under a single Curriculum leader
demotes Technology as a department from the cabinet level.
I have been quoted, more than once, saying:
“If I were the IT director, I would want to be the CIO (Figure 3), but if I were the Superintendent, I would not want the techie in cabinet (Figure 4).”
This thinking acknowledges the concept that Technology, in-and-of-itself, is not a center-point objective, or a cabinet level department. Technology is simply a set of tools utilized to make instruction more effective, and can be well represented as a priority in Cabinet by the Curriculum and/or Business leader.
That’s not to say that any of these examples is more successful than the other, only that leadership becomes the critical success factor in any of these organizational scenarios.
So the good news is, you don’t have to change your organization, just the dynamic of leadership, objectives and priorities.