Want to predict the future?

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by a_whisper_of_unremitting_demand

I grew up in Huntsville, AL. So my dad still sends me news from the area. It turns out Huntsville City Schools1 are going 1:1 with HP laptops in 4-12th grades and tablets in lower grades.

I don’t know details beyond this article2, but based on these Onion worthy quotes, I predict a disaster of epic proportions.

King3 said the district is on track to have wi-fi in all facilities sometime in the first semester.

We’ll have the computers but the Internet, well, it’ll get there sometime first semester.

“Holy smokes, that’s incredible,” board member Jennie Robinson said of the time frame. Initially, the district’s one-to-one computer program was anticipated to take several years to establish.

Holy. Smokes. Beware of timelines that magically change from years to a summer.

“(Information Technology) has a heck of a job ahead of them,” King said.

We’re rushing stuff. Expect very bad things to happen.

The comments on the article don’t seem to indicate a very prepared, friendly community either.

I wish HCS good luck and I hope I’m wrong but this has the feel of something done quickly without proper infrastructure in a hostile community who did not participate in the planning process. If those things aren’t done, you can be sure that the really hard work of figuring out how to use these computers effectively in the classroom is missing as well. That’s going to be bad news for everyone.

1 This website from 2000 is not a good sign.

2 The fact that there’s no PR on their website doesn’t bode well. Getting ahead in the PR battle is pretty key to doing this kind of thing right.

3 director of support operations

Come Join The Party

cc licensed ( BY NC ) flickr photo shared by Thomas Hawk

We’re looking to hire a new Director of Operational Technology1.

The job description is below in block quotes. It’s fairly boring. I think that’s a legal requirement. Stuff I think you should know is above that.

These are interesting times. You are joining a large, well established 1:1. We have a good foundation, solid infrastructure, and plenty of experience. This is not a passing fancy. We’re serious about taking our integration capabilities to the next level. Your focus is on how to support, manage, and improve all our various projects to help make current and future integration goals happen. There are lots of people and projects to manage in addition to working with me on a regular basis.

You like Macs? We’ve got those for all of our elementary teachers and 5 per classroom (in addition to a number of carts in each school). We even have 1520 iPads. You like PCs? We have quite a few of those as well. 6-12 has a Dell laptop for every student and teacher.

You want to advocate for new devices/platforms/concepts etc.? No problem. The HS device RFP is this coming year and MS and ES RFPs are the year after that. SIS and data warehouse projects are wrapping up but conversations around the LMS and its role in our future are still full swing.
This is an interesting time to be part of the discussion that will set our course for the next 5 years.

Our Technology Department works hard. You will never ever run out of things that need to be done.2 There is an increasing focus on making sure technology decisions are data driven and customer focused. You’ll be jumping into the pool. There is no shallow end. Be prepared for difficult work with a large degree of pressure and intensity.3

Come do amazing things that make life better for teachers and students, that enable new possibilities, and expand our impact immeasurably.

Title: Director of Operational Technology

Job ID: IRC34654

Brief Description

Directs and manages the District’s Information Technology programs. Oversees all computer-related purchases and initiatives of the District. Provides leadership in development of electronic infrastructures to support the activities of the school division. Supervision is exercised over various levels of professional and non-professional staff. Areas of oversight include infrastructures, computer maintenance and repair and administrative technology systems development.

Detailed Description

  • Meets with the Executive Director and Assistant Director of Organizational Development4, Quality and Innovation to ascertain the instructional and operational needs and requirements of the district.
  • Coordinates the continuing development of the District technology plan
  • Formulates, sets, and implements standards for current and future information and operational technology systems and activities
  • Reviews and recommends improvements to the District LAN/WAN
  • Provides direction for the design of new facilities and the retrofit of existing facilities regarding the requirements for integrating new technologies
  • Plans, directs and coordinates department activities and functions
  • Prepares and recommends design proposals for data networking and hardware configuration
  • Contributes to preparation and management of the department budget
  • Plans, schedules and reviews work of professional and non-professional staff
  • Attends work daily and is engaged and on task
  • Provides support for the appropriate integration of technologies for the teaching and learning process
  • Provides and manages a structure to provide support for school-level and division-wide educational technology applications
  • Provides direction and guidance to other departments for computing activities to support learning and management
  • Keeps abreast of emerging new technologies for consideration by district leadership as tools for appropriate integration into the processes of instruction, learning, and management

Job Requirements

Experience in a technology related management position. Needs extensive knowledge of interactive technology systems, networks, and instructional computing directions; skill in scheduling and coordinating personnel and facilities in order to execute programs efficiently; ability to establish and maintain effective working relationship with employees, department heads and the public; or any equivalent combination of experience and training which provide the required knowledge, skills and abilities.

Additional Details

Salary will be based on experience and training.

1 Can’t seem to link there directly which is embarrassing.

2 Probably they were due yesterday.

3 It’s much better than being bored in my opinion but it’s not some people’s preference.

4 That’s me.