First post! Really pleased to have found this community!

One of the problems I run into frequently is how to deal with school IT technicians when trying to innovate using social media, digital video etc in lessons. I have a lot of respect for the work they do - they do a good job at keeping the school network running on an extremely limited budget. But where a teacher might see the educational benefits from streaming video, or using students' own devices on the school wireless network, an IT technician may see extra work or a potential headache.

Any tips for working productively with school network managers would be appreciated!

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I can tell you that even when you as a teacher are in charge of your own server and site, your problems would be the same that IT staff face.

I am a teacher and co-admin of a student education site. My son works for the IT department of our local school district, so I also have that input. I have learned a lot about both the instructor's side and the tech administrator's side of the story. Some educational tools really put a lot of strain on limited resources of RAM, disk space, bandwidth, and IT staff time. Our Moodle had to be moved to a dedicated server because its RAM needs were so high. We bumped up our disk space over the summer and in a mere 6 weeks filled it all up and had to bump up again. We can easily perceive network slow down when streaming videos run. Videos on-server take so much disk space to house them on-site they gobble up disk space faster than any other type of resource we have, so we opt for alternatives such as VoiceThread and off-site streaming that the kids access outside of class time when possible. For instance, I have family newsletters that go out for each module in my science classes to alert parents and students to some the great resources that they can access from home so we don't tie up bandwidth more than necessary during class time.

Knowing software well enough to know how to keep it from hogging more than it needs to is a big help. In our Moodle, I am starting to pull off the duplicate backups to my own system and removing the redundant one because our analysis shows that the backups are taking up 43% of our disk space resources. We are running 'tighter' so that we can slow down our exponentially growing need for hard drive space. We have to pay for that space ourselves as a group, so we have incentive to run efficiently while still meet the needs of the kids.

With be being part in the teacher role and part in the admin role and having a son on a school district IT staff, I see how the desire to have these resources plays against the limited resources that are available. The only real solution is to try to keep the resources expanding and select options when possible to make efficient use of what you have. In the real world though, we all know that resource use and expansion has a lot of team playing involved. See what can be done to build the team. What are the most immediate walls in the system? How can the team work together to reduce or eliminate the walls? How can we analyze what we have to determine where we can do something more efficient in an area that would make a big impact of resource availability to other things that we want to do?
Thanks for such a detailed response! It's really useful to hear from the perspective of somebody who's on both sides of the fence.

I agree that outsourcing bandwidth hogging resources is a good way forward - we have a school Flickr account , and the latest photos are shown on our website . With nearly 2000 kids, who love looking at the school photo stream, there's no way that we'd ever be able to host the photos ourselves.



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