NECC – Why aren’t you having a bigger impact?

Both of my NECC 2009 presentations are now available!

As I noted earlier, my first presentation, Effective Leadership in an Era of Disruptive Innovation, is available at ISTEVision. My second presentation, Why Aren’t You Having a Bigger Impact?, was targeted specifically at technology coordinators and is now available from

I think did a really nice job of highlighting some of the main points of my presentation. Two links on the left allow you to watch the first and second halves of the presentation. You also can download my slides and an audio podcast of the session. I thought the questions and conversations were quite lively given that the session was at 7 in the morning!

Here’s a quick quote from the presentation:

The tech coordinators [like you] that I meet are very dedicated and hard-working. They’re really trying their very best to do a great job for their school and make everything run smoothly. So why do I hear so many complaints about you?

Happy viewing!

6 Responses to “NECC – Why aren’t you having a bigger impact?”

  1. Hi Scott,

    Because we are incompetent, lack any charisma, and are cowards. (Or maybe I am projecting my own attributes on others.)

    What makes you think we aren’t having an impact? Or are we just not having the kind of impact you’d like us to have?


  2. Scott~
    Having been laid off as a Tech Coordinator just over a year ago~ and left public education for private higher education, I have had a year to consider the essence of your question.
    As a public education tech coordinator~ I was a direct report to a tech director. Who reported to an Asst. Supt etc. The source of power and change is with the money~ essentially held at the district office. In higher ed, the money is generated by enrollment.
    My accountability, innovation, and effectiveness need to ultimately impact enrollment. Captivating current and future students with engaging pedagogy is the underlying goal of our Center for Teaching & Learning.
    Not so in public education where captivation is a better descriptor. And in public education, the students can vote by dropping out but that’s a pretty severe vote.
    As a tech coordinator, I was pretty far away from the students but could get close to the teachers.
    And I had this thought last night when contacted by a former colleague for ideas to use at a leadership conference~ catering/informing/collaborating to/with the unions who tend to bargain upon *physical* rights and encourage *intellectual growth* paid staff development w/in the calendar year. (Influenced by Charles Kerchner’s research)

    my 2¢
    (and I now look forward to work everyday and absolutely love my job)

  3. I think the frustration in schools comes from the way they strike tech departments and committees to coordinate technology when they should be looking at ways to coordinate information. What I mean is that they’ve set up a system to fix one sort of problem when really they want a solution to another sort of problem. The whole structure is set up to be frustrating from the get-go. Tech is just a medium, like paper is a medium–and we don’t set up paper departments or committees.

  4. I think one of the factors is the constant tug on technology coordinators between administration and the teaching staff. In addition, school districts, particularly smaller, rural districts are terribly understaffed for technology support. The technology coordinator, therefore, spends his or her day troubleshooting and problem solving, with little time to plan initiatives or promote technology use for instruction.

    I’ve also found that there is often little understanding on behalf of school administrators in terms of what the technology coordinator is doing to support the school, the value of having a skilled technology coordinator on staff, and how important it is to have the technology coordinator as a key player on both the administrative and instructional teams.

  5. It’s easy to categorize technology as a service. And this view of technology exists in schools where technology exists on the learning side of the org chart or the operations side of the org chart. And with any customer service oriented endeavor, there are going to be complaints. In the best case the complaints have a way to come to the surface and can be addressed. But unfortunately customers will often complain to strangers but not forward their complaints to someone that can actually address them. Maybe that’s why you’re a complaint magnet, Scott…. 

    Of course, education technology can be more that a school service. It can be a catalyst for transformational change in education. It can be a support for learning. Districts that can devote time to these uses of technology get farther down the path of technology benefits. But these districts only get to go there if they have their customer service house in order. Technology initiatives don’t get too deep if the technology doesn’t work reliably.
    So, districts have to take care of job one, customer service, first. If they have only one shot at a technology coordinator (i.e. rural district) they are most likely not going to get a person that can do it all. So they bring in someone that can run the technology and throw them into a situation where that’s all they are going to get.

  6. If schools are to be places that promote academic, social, and personal development for students, everything hinges on the presence of intelligent, passionate, caring teachers working day after day in our nation’s classrooms. Teachers have a colossal influence on what happens in our schools, because day after day, they are the ultimate decision makers and tone setters. Having a positive attitude is by no means an easy task. Being encouraging to all students at all times, trying to interact with each student on the same footing, and acting as if every student has a major potential to succeed is a monumental task. But the important thing to remember is, that each student does have a potential. But each student will not have the same potential. Each will be challenged in some way. It is up to me, as a teacher, to find the “key” that unlocks each child’s ability to maximize his full potential and inspires him to learn. Every child can be a success at something. As a lower elementary teacher, I hope to instill a feeling of self-worth in each child at a very early age. If I can help each child build successes one at a time, I will provide the basis for a positive self-attitude throughout life. The child will then be able to accept challenges and find ways to work through these challenges independently in the future.

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