The Network Professional’s Survival Guide

The Network Professional’s Survival Guide

IT-ET Survival Guide For Modern Learning Environments

I would like to thank Brooke Furry at Helpsystems for providing the opportunity to contribute to the Helpsystem’s Network Professional’ Survival Guide. The Network Professional Survival Guide represents the collective experience and wisdom of a number of IT-ET leaders across the globe. These IT-ET leaders are passionate about sharing thier personal experiences as a means to improve the integration and alignment of technology to support modern teaching, learning, and assessment practices. Check out their services and products. I couldn’t imagine managing a network without having tools like Intermapper.

 IT-ET Survival Guide

The IT-ET Network Professional’s Survival Guide

From the growth of mobile devices to the complexity of modern networks, keeping your core technology up and running 24/7 is more challenging than ever before. Get advice from six network professionals on how to successfully manage, monitor, and automate your network activities.

Technology is unpredictable. As a network professional, you know this all too well. One minute you’re sipping your morning coffee and reading the day’s emails. The next, you’re trying to figure out why the internet suddenly went down. Or troubleshooting a spike in bandwidth. Or reconfiguring devices that stopped talking to each other… or any number of other unexpected, time-sensitive tasks.

The IT-ET Paradigm Shift

Over the last 25 years, IT and ET services have moved from the mindset of being an add-on or luxury to a “utility mindset.” A utility mindset in that IT and ET services are now essential services like water, electricity, and heating. The daily societal use of technology has reinforced this expectation of 99.9999% uptime and 24/7 access to network resources through the use of mobile computing devices. Schools are closed when utility services such as water and electricity are not working and sadly to say, whether it is good or bad, schools daily administrative and management functions come to a grinding halt when IT and ET services are not longer available.
 

Key Points To Consider For An IT-ET Leaders Network Survival Guide

1. IT and ET services have developed into an essential foundational element necessary to support modern teaching, learning, and assessment practices.
2. IT and ET services need to be aligned and transparent in promoting modern teaching, learning, and assessment practices which don’t make technology anymore or less important to the foundational elements that support effective educational institutions. 
3. It’s not about the technology, but it is. Regardless whether a leader or organization views IT and ET services as a necessary evil or unfavorable budget line to sustain, technology is an essential part of the day to day operations of modern educational systems. It is critical that educational leaders are aware of all the elements and indicators involved in aligning modern teaching, learning, and assessment practices.
4. You get what you expect, so it is important for leaders to clearly understanding what IT and ET services are required to support the vision, mission, and mandate of the organization. These expectations need to align to the level of support that is required to implement and maintain the IT and ET services needed to achieve organizational goals.
5. It is absolutely critical that IT-ET leaders have the necessary tools to be proactive instead of reactive. IT and ET services need to be transparent, and IT-ET leaders need to have the appropriate network monitoring and alerting tools to anticipate and develop proactive measures that reduce the likeliness of technology failure impacting the day to day operations of a modern, teaching, learning, and assessment environment. As a former teacher, I am emotionally attached to standing in front of the class when a lesson entirely dependent on technology, fails. As an IT-ET leader, I see the frustration and disappointment in the student learning process, but even more important, I see an opportunity lost with an educator. A teacher losing confidence in using technology due to unreliable IT-ET services can have a tremendous impact on how he/she attempts to integrate the use of technology in their future lessons, and this can influence generations of students.
6. As IT-ET leaders we need to strive for 99.9999% uptime and the best quality of service that empowers educators to design and engage our students in modern teaching, learning, and assessment practices. Can we imagine an educational world where the expectations for modern teaching, learning, and assessment practices were similar to societal expectations for technical uptime? As IT-ET leaders we need to ensure that technology accessibility and reliability are not the limiting factors for educators aligning the integration of technology into instructional and assessment practices. The more accessible and reliable IT-ET services become, the more we can concentrate on teaching and learning, which in the end, is the only thing that is important.

You Get What You Expect

Stress builds diamonds or crushes rocks. – Glenn Nowosad
You get what you expect, so it is critical that IT-ET leaders create and foster an environment what I refer to as “predictable chaos.” K-12 education is probably one of the most challenging “business” environments to implement and support IT-ET services. By the way, education is not just a business model, education is not a black and white or binary process because you are dealing with people. Far too often IT managers apply an ISO model mindset to educational operations and practices. Technology services may be a predictable binary process, but education does not and probably will never conform to this level of predictability as long as we are dealing with people.
So the first step in creating a world of predictable chaos is clearly identifying your “sphere of influence.” Everyone throughout the organization needs to know “what to expect.” That is what to expect in terms organizational and educational goal alignment, IT-ET services, and end-user practice expectations.  The collaborative development of an IT-ETSM (IT-ET Service Management) framework that clearly identifies the expectations for all IT and ET services throughout the organization. As an IT-ET leader, you can only worry about what you can control. Stress is only a by-product of choosing not to be aware of the what the expectations are for quality of IT-ET support services. 
If you want to reduce your stress as an IT-ET leader truly, you need to have a clearly defined IT-ETS framework that:
•aligns to educational practices and outcomes.
•developed from an understanding that education is not a standardized IT support the business model.
•focused on a realistic quality of service model.
•and most importantly promotes a proactive vs. reactive approach to making IT-ET services a transparent process within the organization.

Source: The Network Professional’s Survival Guide

IT Meets ET

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