Is Technology over-restrictive? It seems there are many things we cannot do.
The technology department is tasked with servicing a wide array of systems and devices
with a limited number of staff
. We strive to meet the district's varied needs in the best possible manner by using the resources available to us. A more detailed description is follows:
Computers: Computers are set with tight controls to prohibit a great deal of customization. While some customization can be fun and individualistic--some causes other issues that the user may not be aware of. Further, if the technology department has to service this machine, our task is to return the machine to the state to perform the job assigned to it--not reinstall the individual changes that have been applied to it. Often, as mentioned above, these individual changes lead to the problems that required the service. While we would love to allow staff to do as they see fit to customize machines, this practice is simply not feasible with the limited staff we have.
Websites: This is an ever-evolving area. Over 100,000 new Websites come online every day. Many of these are not appropriate for educational use. Per CIPPA requirements the district uses a filter to catch unwanted sites, but this filter, like all others, is not perfect, and acceptable sites are also sometimes blocked. We can review this if you submit a helpdesk. Be sure to select unblock Website as the category.
- Personal Equipment: We get many requests from teachers asking to bring their own equipment and use it in the classroom. We do not allow the vast majority of this as we cannot directly support it. Most equipment requires special software called "drivers" to work properly. We do not have access to these drivers. Further if we have to reimage (meaning restore machine to its original state) we do not have the resources to track all added software that has been brought from home. The district cannot be responsible for any damage to equipment that is not our own. We therefore do not allow such devices to come into the system.
Software: All software must be approved before installation. We get many requests to install software that is "free". But just because it is free does not mean that it does not cost someone money. It often costs the department time and energy in trying to get "free" programs to work as they should. These programs were designed to work fine in a home environment or a small school setting, but with a district of our size and with our limited resources we must often find the balance between supplying teachers with what they need vs. what we as a representative of the district can support. Further, there are requests to install software that is similar to other software in the district. As a department tasked with servicing these systems we want there to be one piece that performs a certain function. We are more effective and efficient when we have this ability because we are more familiar with the software being used. Finally, not all software "plays nicely with others." Installing one piece may conflict with another, and though we are not always able to do so, we like to test software to see if it will be compliant.
Why can't I do something I was able to do just a few days ago?
We try not to make some changes that effect people in this manner. However, sometimes for security reasons we are forced to implement emergency procedures. Many times we know what these changes will affect Many times we do not. We have not always communicated these changes effectively. However, with this new site we will seek to do so through updates posted on the front page. It is not our goal to prohibit you from doing what you need to do as you serve this district. It is our goal to help you do so in the fastest most efficient manner possible.
If my department, site, or organization is willing to purchase the equipment, why can't we get what we want?
We certainly want all district-related organizations to have what they need to do their jobs. However, purchasing is not just a matter of acquisition. After purchased it becomes maintenance which is our responsibility. We do not reject purchases to make our jobs easier--that is not our interest. Many times we have put in countless hours to get something to work when another product was "easier." We did so because we deemed it to be in the best interest of the district and those that we serve in the long run.