Unexpectedly, I learned more about my school district’s network than I ever thought possible. My office is down the technology hallway even though I am officially in the curriculum department. Besides my counterpart in the technology training department, all of the nearby offices are filled with technicians without backgrounds in education. Until this assignment, I was never interested in the main server room — enough to find out about it anyway. Possibly this is similar to how they feel about objectives and assessments.
So for this assignment, I interviewed the district’s Technology Director. He gladly described the LAN and toured me through the MDF and main data center. I got to ask questions about the hardware and software we use (Infinite Campus, Microsoft, LIghtspeed, etc.) and how we maintain all of it for the district. I learned about some of the district programs that are running on our district virtual servers, such as Destiny, the Follett library program. I don’t know enough about AC/DC to explain it here, but I was shown how the power coming in the main data center is conditioned before going to the servers.
After the tour, I talked with a couple of the Help Desk guys about what I learned. I felt like a new student of a foreign language who just learned how to say, ‘hi, my name is Cheryl,’ eager to talk to someone about what I learned. But it dawned on me that they work in a world of server maintenance with all of its complexity, while I am surrounded by teachers, students and the more granular uses of technology. I imagine a Venn diagram with two bubbles that only partially overlap. The small overlap does not give either side sufficient insight into the rest of what happens in the technology and curriculum realms.
The other assignment on Acceptable Use Policies (AUP) gave me a chance to dive into the structure of AUPs. Of the ones I viewed, most were mapped out the same way: preamble, definitions, acceptable uses, unacceptable uses, etc. As technology and its uses change, the AUP needs to reflect that. My school district recently deleted “pagers” from its list of devices, for example. But also, the uses of technology have grown to include social uses. Some school embrace the use of school Twitter, FaceBook, Instagram, etc. Having policies to delineated the expected behavior and purposes for using social media is important for both the school district and the faculty and students. During this past year, my school district has received statewide, nationwide, and even international news coverage regarding a staff member’s use of social media and the district reaction to it. Our school board is currently going through the process of creating and approving new social media policy.
I look forward to what next week brings!