Tonight I was in my thinking room. The shower, of course. I realized that this is the 8th summer vacation I've been a part of at my current school. That means for the past 8 years I've been doing the something like this:
- Gather one type of each computer system in the school
- Erase each computer
- Reload each computer
- Load and configure all school required software
- Image machine
- Return machine to home building
- Push image to all systems in the school
- Drink heavily. Mountain Dew of course.
The means by which this has been done have changed a bit over the years. This year the biggest new challenge for me has been imaging Mac OS X with Deploy Studio, and trying to figure out what in the world Microsoft did to the sysprep tool that worked so well with Windows XP but now requires a bit more knowledge.
The systems from year to year change too. Slowly I've been able to refresh the systems so most of them are no older than 5 years, and most of them also run Windows XP and some flavor of office productivity suite. Looking back to 2004 when the school was on a major of Windows 98 with old and dying machines I'd say overall progress has been made, and if this is where my thinking ended I'd be in bed now.
I wonder though, what has changed? What impact has technology had on the students at this school? Are they better off? Are we preparing them for the "real world" by teaching them an applications class based on Microsoft Office? As a whole, what has changed?
Sadly, I say nothing. Sure there are exceptions here and there, but overall... nothing. Electronic grade books have changed, but they are still implemented in the same way. Perhaps some teachers have included more multimedia in their classroom instruction, but the students still "create" for one person. The teacher. I would venture that if I took technology away from the classrooms, that school would continue unchanged for months on end. Sure, kids would be upset they have to write their term paper by hand, but certainly that is no reason to spend the money spent on technology.
So that's it. My name is Steve, I'm a Technology Director, and nothing has changed in the last 8 years.
Time to light some fires. Starting with me.