I am pulling my hair out with admins about what exactly should be covered in an IT curriculum. Half of them can only see a PC or Mac as some kind of magical typewriter that does not require White Out and magically sends out letters without a stamp. I keep trying to tell them that in a few years even typing will be gone, as we know it. (Thumb typing maybe, but QWERTY touch typing is becoming less and less essential.) And all they want to see is PROJECTS...ah...and when do the kids actually learn to manipulate the MACHINE...global Windows skills and learning to SELF teach from the Windows system. "Oh the kids should master Office 2003"...really? That's nice...problem is Office 2010 is coming and 2007 was a shock to most of the admins whereas my kids had no problems because they have intuition and can self-teach in nearly any program. I am really thinking strongly of leaving this field because it's a daily battle.

Any advice or ideas????

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I actually proposed this and the admin freaked out because she would lose her Office 2003. She is freaking out because we are going to upgrade this year to 2007 and she uninstalled it on her new laptop to reinstall 2003. I once proposed letting some kids learn DVORAK keyboard and she went nuts. They had their own netbooks and use them at school daily. What could it hurt? Oh no...one size fits all. I may go to Walmart this week and be a greeter if they are hiring
This post hits so many nails right on the head. I thank you for making my day, in that you are a kindred spirit. I grew up, starting with the first UNIVAC, because my dad worked with early IT at Ma Bell. I've never had a single course in computer science. I am self taught. I was never one of the nerd kids, as I was too early for that. But I totally agree that our culture has been very anti-tech until recently when ordinary idiots realized that they could SMS each other on smartphones, etc. (I am using Facebook to turn girls onto IT through GiMP photo work and using MovieMaker for YouTube which is really working...they are beginning to get interested in this stuff on a deeper level. There is a terrible gender divide, as well.) In any case, you are right...there should be certification for this subject area. Part of the problem is the terrible discrepancy between schools, even within a town, as to how much money is being earmarked. I know of schools where they bought all new leather chairs for the office conference room and the kids are on Windows 95 and dial up speed net access. If the head admin thinks this machine is just for his secretary to type corespondence from his mini recorder, well then there you are. And we all know far too many people in power in education are either former football coaches or just good ass kissers with few skills and low IQ.

Well there you have Jack's daily vent. Just skip my posts, dear bloggers, if this is pissing you off.
Jack,
Indigo 196 suggested using Ubuntu. He is a technician and he is right. I think Ubuntu/Edubuntu LTSP is a partial solution to educating our students in technology, helping with the hardware and cash flow problem. With Ubuntu LTSP (Linux Terminal Server Project) you can get those 10 year old PC's and have them running smooth and fast. I have a P4 computer that I found in the trash that I converted into a server. All I had to do was put in a used hard drive and another ethernet LAN port. Memory was bumped up to 1.5 GB. This terminal server will run about 8 legacy PCs with or without hard drives. No cost! Well, $36 for memory; still pretty cheap.

Now, how does this help you or any school with the desire to integrate technology and teach our kids the fundamentals of using technology? At my school, my students attend the 45 minute a week technology class where students practice on Apples, typing, word processing, creating presentations, searching, playing games, and working those cute projects. However, since I have a 14 computer Ubuntu lab in my classroom, my students are exposed to technology on a daily basis for about 40-45 minutes. They are writing, researching, and creating projects that apply directly to our curriculum. The lab teaches basic fundamentals that are being reinforced by work being completed in the classroom. Students easily transfer their skills learned in the lab to Open Source software in the classroom. Thank you Tech. Lab Teachers.

Teachers have to buy into the idea of using technology. I am slowly training teachers to use Ubuntu. So far I have reached 5 teachers during my first year using this operating system. In fact, I built the P4 server for one of my teachers. My goal is to build a community of educators that will support each other. Teachers who have the desire will join. Those who don't will fall behind. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink.
awesome ideas here Joel! I've been talking about this same type of thing for a year. Great!
Jack,
Another way to think of this same type of thing and how you feel discouraged is to do something new. Be the model, the example of what can be done regardless of what others say can't be done. There is much to be said about the "Power of One". This is what I did and believe me, I am no techie guru.
1. Microsoft and Apple licenses and software too expensive
Response: Use Edubuntu operating system and Open Source software
2. School needs new lab because old Apples barely do the job. Apples are great but these are ancient.
Response: Build a lab using legacy computers that out perform school lab and work when the school system goes down.
3. Teachers don't use their classroom computers; hello they don't work
Response: Use old technology and truly integrate it into daily rotations as a tool to teach and for students to use to learn content based on California State Standards.
4. The curious and the nay sayers ask, "What is the benefit of all this?"
Response: Show them, don't tell them. Display all the product students create based on learning standards. Share with your principal and other teachers. Show your district superintendent how you have created something from virtually nothing.
5. Teachers look a little bit jealous or express a desire to have what you have.
Response: Be extremely positive and offer to get them started in something new and exciting. Empower these interested teachers to stand on their own, "The Power of One", cutting their dependence upon district resources and slow bureaucracy. A group of empowered individuals makes for a strong team of models.
6. Many say that it is too hard to understand.
Response: Really, I just worked on this project for two summer months and had it going by September and I just had a base knowledge of Microsoft Office and Finale, music composition software. Desire is key to success.

Those who are hungry will follow. Do what you do best for the benefit of our young people. It doesn't matter what others are doing or not doing. Be the standard. Be the model. Be humble. Create something from nothing. Empower. Have fun!

Let us know what you need. Don't wait for help. All the information and resources you need is available worldwide. It's there for you to use and it will not cost you a dime. All it will cost is time and desire.
Thanks for these great ideas and encouragement!!!
Stick with it. I know how frustrating it can be, but we need people like you to be passionate about what they know and can do because you can ignite the interest in other teachers and students and grass roots movements are often the best.
Dear Classroom 2.0 bloggers...I do apologize for venting and ranting on this space. But I gotta tell ya...you are all giving me a lot of good Karma...don't believe I used that term...to launch another school year. The good news here is that the minkies (my kids) return next week and once they are in the lab, and the door is closed, and my NetOp lab controller is up and running...we call it Finkelstein...I am in heaven. You should see some of my 6 yr olds reinventing the wheel in MS Paint...yup that silly little program sitting in Windows the last twenty years...BTW it's a wonderful "self teaching" program for the little minkies...say grades K to 3. Last year my 8th graders also fell in love with it...we made a HUGE collection of smartphone wallpapers for mom and dad. Sounds silly but the accidental learning that went on made me tear up.

Thanks for being on here for me, folks. I am getting lot outta this blog.
Thank you Jane for the words of encouragement...I am about to go postal...school starts in five days and every lab PC is down
Are you the IT guy as well as teacher? When my lab goes down, I pass the buck to the guru and wash my hands of it. I just do the little stuff, like printer repair.
Well my admins think I am both IT Manager and IT Teacher. With 34 classes a week. They thought they'd have me manage the campus in three periods a week this year. Fortunately a Board member and the new head saw the folly in that and sub contracted with an IT company. As the title of this thread goes....THEY DON'T GET IT

Funny story...last year our part time IT manager (all self taught and no expert) was outta town. Our servers went down. So I went in an pulled the plug, waited ten minutes, and it all reset itself. The head of school, who has retired, asked me later "Well did you fix the computer?" and I whispered to him to call it a server because he was showing his abject ignorance. He just laughed it off.

THEY DON'T GET IT

And yes I know that pulling the plug is a HORRIDLY dangerous trick. But it worked.
Ha! Our vice principal pulls our plug too! You know, It does work. How funny!

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