Hey, guess what? We're understaffed!

No kidding, right? However, sometimes actual data instead of the crushing feeling of despair...
Written by Christopher Dawson, Contributor

No kidding, right? However, sometimes actual data instead of the crushing feeling of despair...I mean, um, job security...can help validate what we tell our communities, administrators, and school boards. Those data came yesterday in a detailed survey conducted by SchoolDude, eSchoolNews, and CoSN, looking at IT concerns in over 600 school districts.

An executive summary of the survey is available here, but the take home message is that we spend too much of our time fixing things and far too little of our time actually planning and implementing new technologies in the classroom.

If you ever feel like you're treading water, putting out brushfires, and not accomplishing your long-term goals, you aren't alone. According to a representative from SchoolDude (and several other outlets),

Staffing shortfalls translate into reduced institution and classroom benefits

  • 55% reported that 50-100% of their departmentâ s workload is spent reacting to technical problems.
  • Three-quarters do not have enough staff to implement new technologies.
  • 65% do not have enough staff to integrate technology into the classroom.

How long is your to-do list? How many items on it relate to just keeping the ship from sinking or providing help to individuals? How many relate to making real change and ultimately improving student learning through technology?

The study also found that, not surprisingly, a lack of funding, lack of understanding on the part of school boards, and severe obstacles to staff recruitment and retention got in the way of achieving long-term goals.

One up note from the study: a growing number of SaaS (Software as a Service) vendors, from SIS developers to Google Apps, is making deployments easier with less need for in-house staff and expertise.

However, this hardly means that what we do can be outsourced. It's even more important that we as technology administrators take on leadership roles rather than fighting brushfires every day.

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