A few years back I did a nationwide study of district technology coordinators for NCREL, with help from CoSN and QED. Although our response rates were much lower than we hoped, those we did get were fairly representative of our sample and the nation at large. Some of the key findings of the study (360 respondents) were that:
- nearly a fifth of the respondents had more than one formal title in their district (can you effectively do the job of tech coordinator as a part-time job?);
- nearly a third of the respondents said that they were the only person providing technology support for their district (even in a small district, can one person effectively do the job of tech coordinator?);
- although nearly all of the respondents were considered to be district-level employees, barely half were on an administrative contract (which raises issues related to power and authority);
- rural technology coordinators made significantly less than their urban and suburban counterparts (thus raising recruitment and retention issues);
- average salaries were lower than those paid by business and industry (again raising issues of recruitment and retention when competing against the corporate world for talented people);
- respondents received, on average, a paltry 35 hours of training per year (and most of that was likely technical in nature, not leadership-oriented); and
- large proportions said that they probably would leave for a job with the same responsibilites but better pay (59%) or a job with the same pay but fewer responsibilities (34%) (again raising recruitment and retention issues).
In addition to the report, I also wrote up a short article on this for Scholastic Administr@tor.
Although the results are from 2003, my personal experience is that things haven’t changed much. We have seen a trend, particularly in larger districts, toward more CTO-/CIO-like positions and/or hiring people with experience in business and industry.
What do you think? Are these findings still relevant and/or important today?
Not only are they relevant, but they are indicative of the importance placed on the position by administration and the state level DOE’s. In our small district (1400 students) we have a technology coordinator with one helper to cover over 500 machines. Add to that aging school facilities that were wired for electricity decades ago (30 years being the youngest of the bunch) and you have two very overworked guys who do not get a chance to help teachers with technology literacy integration. Until we get the priorities straight we will continue to fall short in preparing our students for the world they face when they leave high school. But boy could they play (insert sport of choice here).