Summer Problems in EdTech

Those people working in technology for a school district know that summer is when we really earn our money. Sure when the network crashes during the school year, we scramble, and everyone would be lost without us. But being honest, I work a lot harder May – August, than I do the rest of the year.

This year I had two big projects for the summer. The first was upgrading the districts internet bandwidth. This would not normally be that big an issue, but I jumped the GigaBit line, and that requires different equipment in a couple of different areas. Still not that bad, because I have some great partners that come in and assist. This project was supposed to happen in early July, but we could never get schedules put together, so this one is happening the first week of August.

The real big project was replacing all the teacher desktops. There is a valid argument to get teachers laptops, but after polling our staff I learned they would rather have a fixed desktop, and then a separate mobile device, like a chromebook or tablet. This process involves removing all the old computers, wiping the hard drives, getting the new computers unboxed, placed in the classroom, and then installing the operating system and software.

The first step, removing the computers, is mostly done. This headache is compounded by summer school, and the other full time staff in the district, I can’t remove a computer from a classroom, if there is a class meeting there; so we finally got this completed last week.

The kicker is that I am still waiting for the computers to arrive. My vendor told me they would be here 12 July. Well, they didn’t show up on the 12th. After many emails and phone calls, I finally got a status update, but I am not sure what it means. The latest tracking showed them arriving yesterday, but of course that didn’t happen, so now I have a decision to make.

Do I trust the new computers will arrive in time to get everything up and running in the classrooms, or do I simply start putting the old ones back? Thank goodness I can put off that decision for a couple of days, but only a couple. We have a very small IT department, so it isn’t like I can deploy 270 computers in 48 hours. It will take me a good week to week and a half, to get that many computers, unboxed, in the classrooms, and imaged. In the meantime, once August 1st arrives, the teachers start coming back into their classrooms. There are few things that cause a teacher irritation like coming back over the summer, and finding their room is not put together!

I was really hoping to leave the district on a high note, but so far it looks like my last two weeks of work, might be two of the hardest weeks I have had in 16 years.

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