Technology Coordinator Job Description:
I am a teaching technology coordinator so my job has three parts. I am a guide for teachers concerning technology in their lesson planning; I also oversee the computer system specialist (CSS) position. The CSS is the person who deals with all the networking, computer repair and sever upkeep in the building. I also lend a helping hand with crashed computers, downloads and installing software.
I am also in the classroom running two digital video courses, two Introduction to Technology courses, and two sections of Art. This means I am also creating and writing curriculum. The bulk of my technology curriculum is based on the International Society for Technology in Education's standards.
The school (I work in) equips each student with a laptop. My CSS and I are very busy maintaining each computer. The School District of Philadelphia is large so I don't maintain a network directly, I do, however, watch over the networking equipment and communicate with the networking department.
What was your career path in becoming a school technology coordinator?
I had no idea I would become a teacher. I went to art school; I wanted to be a famous artist. While I was there, I worked for a k-12 Pennsylvania certification in Art. My major was in Printmaking and I also had a minor in Art History. After art school, I went on to gain as much life experience as I possibly could.
Then about three years later I was on top of a ladder, with tequila leaking from every pour, thinking what if I fall off of this ladder: I had no health insurance, no money, and no future. That is when I decided to use my teaching degree. I started teaching in West Philadelphia.
So I started off as an art teacher and because of how the arts naturally lend themselves to computers to enhance, reproduce or exchange; I began to learn all about how to use a computer. The principal at my first job could see how much I knew about computers and she made me the building technology teacher leader.
This is a leadership position so the district began training me on maintenance and upkeep of the server and other computers in my building. This was anything from e-mail to No Child Left Behind benchmark testing. Due to getting this leadership position and all the training from the district, I decided to get my masters in Instructional Technology.
A year after I received my graduate degree, I applied for a job at SLA and got it. Pennsylvania requires a teacher to have a Business Technology certification to be able to teach technology classes. I only had k-12 Art for the classroom, I had to go back and take this praxis to continue teaching technology in a different school.
I am still a teacher; I never left the classroom. Public schools have such a problem with funding that many teachers wear several different hats in one building. Public school teachers fill the gaps so students can get the education that is their birthright in this country.
Do you recall any humorous moments as a school technology coordinator?
Now looking back on this, it is funny, but it wasn't at the time. I was talking to a fellow teacher in her classroom. I walked out and saw that one of the ceiling sprinklers had busted and was spewing about 50 gallons of water per minute on the 3rd floor of our building. At first I had no idea that it was water coming from the ceiling.
First, I searched for the shut off, but the building is huge and it is three buildings made into one, so pipes are all over the place. I went around unplugging everything. After I did that, I put a teacher near the door of the switch closet and told her not to let any water into the closet; she was sweeping it out with a push broom. Then five other teachers and myself found 50 gallon trash cans and threw them under the leak.
As they filled up, we dragged them to the janitor's closet and dumped them out. We did this for a solid hour until the workmen finally got there to shut it off. Even the firemen couldn't find the shut off. We were completely drenched. We worked ourselves sore, but we saved the building from serious damage.
Any advice for those seeking information technology coordinator positions?
Start writing a blog. Get into a learning network; seek out people who are doing what you want to do. Get a feed reader and subscribe to blogs that are in your discipline and some that are outside of your discipline, ones that entertain you and some that interest you. Get a graduate degree to open more doors.
Go to a college that meets all of your career goals; start networking there. Take training or an internship that will give you the best possible networking connections. To become qualified as a technology coordinator a person will need to become certified by their state. Many universities have the Instructional Technology Certification in the Education Department.
What is the employment outlook for information technology coordinator positions?
I feel that it is better to be a school level technology coordinator because you get your summers off. I think it can be a burnout-maker if you are at the district level and the I.T. people do not work below you in the department. I think this is hard because I.T. people usually have an idea about how the network should be configured to protect it, but that does not always mesh with the pedagogy.
The pedagogy should always lead the network, not the other way around. I believe that technology is becoming more ubiquitous and the job of the technology coordinator is fading away. Employees and prospective employees are going to be expected to come to the job with the technology skills and knowledge.
What factors can affect a technology coordinator salary?
Public schools are state run and the only way to get paid by the state is to be highly educated. So, if you plan to go into public service, be sure to be highly educated. I don't know how private organizations work, but I am sure they would pay well for a technology coordinator's expertise. However, I do not think the quality of living would be the same.
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