Bill MacKenty

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ITIL Certified and Management in Schools

Posted in Educational Tech Leadership on 29 - October 2013 at 07:05 AM (10 years ago). 239 views.

I just earned my Foundation certificate in ITIL. As I learn more about managing technology for enterprise I see the benefit and value of bringing these best practices into the school. I believe schools traditionally do not manage technology well. There are many reasons schools don't "do" technology well.

1. Our outcomes are a little fuzzy

Schools don't have a bottom line that is easy to measure. When we try to only use a norm-referenced or criterion-referenced test to measure learning, we reduce what learning is. As such, clearly defining outcomes, benefits, and easily measurable products (in a management output-model) are tough. I'm not saying it can't be done, but it's fuzzy.

2. Leadership in schools is difficult

Schools are classically under-staffed at an administration level. How does one administrator effectively evaluate 30 staff members? Coupled with intense pulls from parents, district and state mandates, lack of training in project management (and IT management), the stage isn't set well for leadership to be successful.

3. Management isn't a "thing" in schools

Management isn't a language we speak in schools. Outcomes, milestones, measuring, metrics, Demming Model, KPI's, RACI, and value aren't part of our nomenclature. I'm not sure why, but there isn't a culture of management in schools. I don't look at "the union" as the reason schools don't have strong management, I think just historically this is the issue.

4. No one really understand how technology works

It's odd, because this is a chicken and egg problem. Clearly defining measurable outcomes from student technology use can be done (via the Service Strategy and Service Design parts of ITIL). But schools don't do this because they don't have expertise or knowledge managing technology. I have personally heard many principals, superintendents, and directors say they simply don't understand how technology works, or how it impacts student learning.

My final thoughts on this?

Management frameworks like ITIL and PRINCE 2 project management has immense value in organizations, especially when there isn't a real culture of managing. I'm not a shill, but after 15 years in this business, I clearly see the value and benefit of implementing more structured approach to management in schools.