6 Tips for Smart IT in 2014

As 2013 draws to an end, it’s time for the savvy district technology leader to look forward. We asked some smart leaders for their best ideas (and will share some of our own) to get 2014 off to a great start. Here are six actions you can take to ensure that IT is doing all it can to support the mission of your district.

  • Improve IT Efficiency and Effectiveness: Okay, it’s not the sexiest idea, but efficiency and effectiveness are where the rubber meets the road. Focus on them and you can demonstrate value to your superintendent and improve the bottom line, sometimes in dramatic ways.
  • Move toward cross-departmental integration: Speaking of silos, as you look forward to the new year, it is worthwhile to look at your school system and ask yourself how many of the department applications (SIS, LMS, cafeteria, transportation, library, etc.) contain the same student information. Many of these applications have the capability to import student information fields using defined formats, SIF, or other standard formats.
  • Don’t forget about security: If you have been reading about major 1-to-1 deployments, one theme keeps coming up: security. Think about the security breach that the Los Angeles Unified School District experienced when hundreds of students hacked their new iPads. It got national news coverage–and not the kind you want.
  • Focus on bandwidth and network design: CoSN just completed a national survey of nearly 470 school districts on E-Rate and bandwidth. The big takeaway: 99 percent of districts say they will need additional internet bandwidth and connectivity in the next 36 months.
  • Define beneficiaries for new services, and seek their support: Is your district implementing or considering a BYOD and/or a district-provided 1-to-1 initiative? Are you feeling the pressure for infrastructure upgrades to enable high stakes online assessments? Clearly there is no lack of demand for funding for new IT projects. And this is all happening when IT budgets are below 2008 levels for most districts.
  • Fine-tune your skills: Finally, the greatest thing that holds back school systems from practicing smart IT is the lack of human technology leadership. On the other hand, you and your team are the greatest IT asset you have. To help you develop the skills you need and connect with your peers, check out CoSN’s Framework of Essential Skills of the K-12 CTO.

Read the entire article by Keith Krueger on THE Journal at http://thejournal.com/articles/2013/12/13/6-tips-for-smart-it-in-2014.aspx

Framework of Essential Skills of the K-12 CTO http://www.cosn.org/Framework

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