Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Why should K12 CIOs and Technology Directors be on Twitter? Part 2

In my last blog post, I began listing some of the reasons that K12 CIOs and Technology Directors should be on Twitter. Here are a few more!

Stay connected to your customers
Regardless of whether the K12 technology leader comes from a "education" background or a more traditional "IT" background, connecting and interacting with educators - not just technology professionals - is vitally important to help you stay connected to the students, teachers, and administrators you serve. As I described in an earlier post, there is often a serious disconnect between technology operations and instructional technology.  By staying on top of the latest education technology trends, you will be able to make better operational decisions. For example, I hear many stories of educational Web. 2.0 technologies being blocked by IT directors over the protests of educators and administrators.  Just today, I spoke to a teacher at the FETC who would like to use Edmodo in her classroom, but her district's IT department blocks it because it falls into the category of  social networking.  I can certainly understand wanting to set up a school/district subdomain for Edmodo, but the wholesale blocking an educational tool like this strikes me as an incredibly short sighted decision by a technologist who has no idea of what Edmodo actually is or how it can be used in the classroom. 

Stay connected to Education IT colleagues
Being a technology leader in an educational environment is different from other industries. In addition to overseeing traditional desktop/server infrastructure, the education IT leader must be familiar with a plethora of client and web based educational software and a dizzying array of classroom peripherals. Smart Boards, Document Cameras, and iPads, Projectors, Chromebooks, and Apple TV's…let's throw in a mixed Apple/Windows environment and BYOD! Funding constraints often mean maintaining a lot of aging computer hardware. In addition, there are industry-specific rules and regulations to follow like CIPA, e-discovery requirements for e-mail, PCI compliance, etc. And let's not forget that revolving door of web apps and social media applications to keep track of! However, by connecting with other education IT professionals on twitter, you can learn from those who have already walked a mile in your shoes and spare yourself hours of work in the long run. 

Keep your eye on the big picture
I think it is very important for CIOs and Technology Directors to make a conscious effort to keep their eyes on the big picture. When you oversee IT operations it is very easy to get caught up in the minutia of day-to-day responsibilities. I think it is a rare technology leader that doesn't have these tendencies, because most IT professionals are detail oriented by nature. What I have found is that being active on twitter helps keep me from getting "lost in the weeds" and reminds me to focus on doing the right thing, not just on doing things right.   

Who would you add to a list of the "Top 20 Education CIOs and Technology Directors on Twitter?" And why do you think other technology leaders should follow their lead?


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