Tech Director Chat
Episode 16

Fellowship of the Gmail

Ben Rimes published on

A weekly chat tackling the issue of educational technology from both sides. Ben Rimes, a former teacher turned educational technologist, chats with Pete Poggione, an Information Technology Professional from the private sector turned School IT Director.

Technology Directors don't always make the decisions we feel are best for our students. All of our classrooms have unique challenges, opportunities, and realities, and it's incredibly easy to get caught up with the idea that everyone is ready for the change you need in your classroom. It's not always popular to "lead from consensus" but you may find that being patient and working closely on building positive relationships will lead to manageable change. This week's episode speaks to that reality; many school districts continue to separate student and teacher digital learning environments, as well as block access to certain tools and abilities that many feel students should have access to. Finding balance is key, and difficult. But the conversations are necessary, even if they take time.

Timestamps for this week's questions:

:58 What has Pete been up to?

3:45 Wait, so we don’t have more laptops and devices coming from the bond?

6:14 Jason asks, what importance does Pete see in keyboarding skills?

8:00 So Pete isn’t the type of guys that read instructions?

10:30 Steve asks, why do some school districts separate Staff Google Accounts from Student Google Accounts?

12:15 Why do Tech Directors want to separate staff systems and student systems?

17:55 Mr Wolski wants to know, should Google Hangouts be open for student Google Accounts so they can video chat with experts outside of the school?

22:05 Stump Pete!

23:15 What was Pete’s first computer? 

You can talk about the show or continue the conversations on Twitter using the hashtag #TechDirectorChat or chatting up Ben (@techsavvyed) or Pete (@ppoggione) on Twitter.

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  • Jason D. Valade

    Nicely done gents!

  • Ben Rimes

    Thanks! We waxed on a bit too long in this one, and left a lot of the cutting room floor. Glad it was well received.

  • TechTime

    I love listening each week. Thank you for the info. I love the humor.

  • Debbie Seaver

    Crazy. At a time when keyboarding skills is a useful skill in a MAJORITY of jobs because of the use of computers is expected in a MAJORITY of jobs. Why in world would it be not important now? Dragon Speaking is a useful tool if your a in a quiet closed office. Many people using the computers are not in a closed quiet office; we are becoming more mobile...we are out and about, airports, business meetings, restaurants. Using a stylus is coming .... ....along. I do not see anything replacing the efficiency of inputting data with a keyboard anytime soon. Schools have been and are making a mistake lessening the importance of keyboarding. Duh...lets give all the students laptops, Chromebooks and do away with keyboarding?
    Students, Faculty, Employees, have much more confidence when they sit down with a computer if they have decent keyboarding skills.

  • Ben Rimes

    That's an excellent point Debbie, and one that I didn't spend nearly enough time talking about from my perspective. As a former technology teacher at the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade level, I always tried to balance typing skills with the other technology skills that I needed my students to work on. If we were in a 1:1 environment (every student with a device) this would be much easier for us to address. That having been said, we do have a typing curriculum and online program that we use with students 3rd through 5th, and those that take technology as an elective 6th through 8th. I should have mentioned that rather than moving on to another question, and goes to show you that a Tech Director certainly doesn't know everything that's happening in a district.

  • Pete Poggione

    Oh wow! Debbie you make me want to go back and listen to exactly what I said, because you and I are in complete agreement. Just general keyboard awareness is not enough and I do believe that we need to spend more time on traditional skills. I have watched my own kids as they have developed their own ways of keyboarding and have been amazed at the lack of skill they posses. My apologies for the misunderstanding and as Ben would probably agree, sometimes my brain runs faster then the words come out. Thanks so much for the comment. Keep calling me out on this stuff. I really appreciate it.