That’s right! It’s that time of year again and this year Tech Directors’ Day is NEW AND IMPROVED!
That actually may be overstating things a bit but it has changed some. You can read all about the changes and wax nostalgically about the origins of this special day in all its grandeur by clicking HERE and I highly recommend you do.
In brief, here is the 411.
Firstly, the hashtag this year for the live tweeting of the day is #oktdd16… You will probably want to go ahead and use the #oklaed tag as well or you will just be tweeting to about six people!
Secondly, The Oklahoma Technology Association has officially recognized the day and will potentially be working to get a resolution past the Oklahoma Legislature this year! Thank you OTA for taking this on. (BTW… If you are a member of the Oklahoma Legislature and are reading this and want to make a big group of nerds feel warm and fuzzy for a moment or two, give us a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will work with you to get it going! Now get back to work! Daddy literally needs a new pair of shoes!)
Thirdly, and most importantly, we have moved the date from its traditional observance of February 25th to the FOURTH WEDNESDAY OF FEBRUARY from now until the end of the Gregorian Calendar! The reason for this is obvious… It of course gives us two days to promote this around the office every year so someone might feel obligated to bring us cookies on that Wednesday! Genius don’t you think?
So set your calendars people! We have a day to celebrate!
It seems like only a few days ago our governor was announcing to all of #oklaed, “We have heard your cries in the wilderness! We feel your pain! We’re from the government and we’re here to help!” and that she had somehow found the magic key to providing Educators with a $3000 raise when the state can’t find two nickels to rub together and, if they did, they would give them to the Oklahoma Space Port or something else random.
Now I knew as well as everyone else in the state knew, there was zero chance of a raise happening. But still… There for a little bit this week, I allowed myself to play out little “what-if” scenarios. The funny thing is, it was eerily similar to when I was spending 3 bucks on a Lotto ticket when the Jackpot hit over a billion bucks. My wife and I are both certified teachers so any raise above the increase in insurance premiums we get hit with in January is a huge deal. My mind started running with all sorts of ideas of what we could do with a raise.
Then I realized, I stood a better chance of winning the lottery than I did of getting a raise this year… By the way… I didn’t win the lottery…
And as everyone predicted, Andrea let us in on Representative Inman’s big unsecrete…
So now, the best thing we have to look forward to is next November and election day. Between now and then, create yourself a Google sheet and start keeping a list of all the Oklahoma politicians who are up for re-election and say something along the lines of “Well, we tried really, really hard to take care of the issue of teacher pay raises but we just couldn’t make it work this year because (Insert disingenuous excuse here)…”
Then vote for someone else.
My district is turning off as much stuff as possible… Heaters and lights of course are easy because all you do is flick the switch. We are also re-evaluating everything software-ish… Some things we do because it is best practice and/or because it takes a little pressure off my one man shop are now needing to go away before next year. Cutting stuff off now adds to our carryover which in turn will carry the savings into next fiscal year and hopefully allow us to keep an additional staff member or two.
Logmein was the first to go… Easy enough but I was lucky to catch it about two weeks before it auto-renewed and put a $300 hickey on the school credit card. The helpful part was they let me know it was about to happen which gave me enough warning to assess my situation and make a necessary adjustment. That adjustment was to not renew this next year. Soooo… Hello Google Chrome Remote Desktop! It’s hard to argue with free…
The second thing I tried to turn off was our off-site backup. Here is where I got stuck. We hadn’t signed a contract with the company in 3 years and had been paying the bill month to month during the whole time. When we signed the contract it was for one year because, in Oklahoma, that’s all we can do. I made the assumption we were on a month to month contract the same way we are with our phone provider…
I was wrong.
The contract reads unless either party contacts the other to initiate an order to stop services, the contract auto renews. Apparently, there is nothing illegal about this. It’s a way some mid size providers use to help keep their income up… In this case that is exactly how it helped them. Because I assumed incorrectly and didn’t plan accordingly, we are paying out an additional $900 bucks this year that we had determined we couldn’t afford any longer. The good news is that the contract is set to end now and so we won’t have to spend that $300 bucks a month going forward which in next year dollars will save us $3600 for a grand total of $4200 bucks for the rest of this year and all of next which is wonderful! I just hope we don’t get hit by a Tornado in a couple of months…
I bring this up because if, like us, you are looking in the couch cushions for change to help fund next year, you need to review your contracts now before one of them comes back and bites you on the keister! If you have auto-renewal contracts for services and support, dig into them now. Re-negotiate if they are mission critical the best you can. Turn them off otherwise. If you let the auto renewal kick in and the company is like the one I’ve been dealing with, they won’t care a bit about forcing you to give them money this year and next.
Especially when they find out you won’t have the money to defend yourself in court.
I am a tech guy… I am accustom to looking up things on the internet to help myself and anyone else in the district do their job. However, I prefer when I’m working on stuff where my wife will be looking over my shoulder while I do something, to have some extra knowledge.
So I have become a profiler at Lowe’s…
I wander the store looking for the oldest and grayest person I can find who has hands that look like they are permanently bound in the state they could only serve the purpose of holding a hammer. A pro because of experience. A pro because that is what they lived to do. A pro who new they probably wouldn’t get rich doing what they loved but did it anyway.
Tonight I found that guy and had a 15 minute discussion on kitchen sink installation. My wife says the harvest gold sink has got to go so… Who am I to argue. Talking to someone about how to fix things when that person you are asking is a pro, makes all the difference in the world when you start talking about the gotchas of stuff to look for that you didn’t expect. They have the insight to recognize what if scenarios and how to avoid getting into a bind. This gentleman was able to do all that plus point me to the stuff I needed while explaining he didn’t know why the parts I needed were in three different places either. (I found this comforting… I thought I was the only one confused by that!)
As I drove home I got to thinking about our current political and financial issues we face in #oklaed and I couldn’t help but wonder… Did anyone at the Capitol think to go ask a pro educator before they started remodeling? A pro educator because of experience? A pro educator because that is what they loved and lived to do? A pro educator who new they probably wouldn’t get rich doing what they loved but did it anyway? A pro educator who could point out good and bad scenarios and how to avoid getting into a bind?
And yes… I know the answer to my own question… The answer is of course a great big NO! The difference in the two situations seems to be that while I was looking for answers from a pro so that I stood the best chance of being able to use my sink after a couple of hours worth of work, politicians have been applying answers derived from political talking points of organizations outside of Oklahoma without asking any questions … At all.
Now get ready #oklaed, the politicians are about to force those answers on us in the name of “Doing it for the teachers and/or kids” and to “Save public education” when really, they just want to say they got their unneeded answer codified into law and they are going to use this crappy situation they themselves created as the justification.
So be ready… If we aren’t careful we will be:
It was great to spend the day with so many people engaging in making #oklaed better today!
This post is yet another attempt to get restarted posting stuff. Hanging out with so many bloggers can be inspiring and even a little daunting but you have to start somewhere….
Welcome to somewhere…
It seems everyone in the #oklaed Twitterverse did a Top 10 of, well, just about everything… And as usual we are chiming in a bit late here at oktechdirectors.com! Following is an aggregated generic list of what Tech Directors and Staff all across the state of Oklahoma accomplished this past year.
Here we go!
10: Had a teacher restart their PC to resolve an issue with Word. Case resolved.
9: Had a teacher restart their PC to resolve an issue with Power Point. Case resolved.
8: Had a teacher restart their PC to resolve an issue with Excel. Case resolved.
7: Had a teacher restart their PC to resolve an issue with Internet Explorer. Case resolved.
6: Had a teacher restart their PC to resolve an issue with Outlook. Case resolved.
5: Had a teacher restart their PC to resolve an issue with antivirus software. Case resolved.
4: Had a teacher restart their PC to resolve an issue with an Adobe Software. Case resolved.
3: Had a teacher restart their PC to resolve an issue with Java. Case resolved.
2: Had a teacher restart their PC to resolve an issue with a network resource. Case resolved.
1: Had a teacher restart their PC to resolve an issue with a Printer. Case resolved.
That’s it! Thanks for reading!
Actually…. This may be an over simplified list. 🙂 The real list should have included things like surviving yet another on-line testing snafu, providing network security in an age where hacking has become common place, providing leadership moving districts to 1:1 programs for students and teachers, Deploying cloud technologies such as Google Apps and Office 365, and perhaps most importantly, stand up for freedom of choice for districts when selecting services, vendors, and technology paths. (One of my personal highlights was watching Administrators and staff from the 2014 OTA District of the year teach a then candidate for state superintendent how to use Twitter at EdCampOKC!)
But, even more importantly than even all this, was being able to be a very small part of a year where Oklahoma educators were actually heard… While there are still miles to go before we sleep, I think we can all say there is hope. So here’s to a new year… May 2015 be everything the last four have not…
Just as an FYI… We are still active! We know its been awhile since we’ve posted anything but we’ve been a bit busy… with the winter testing window opening up November first we thought we should update the testing info page. The nice thing is, there just isn’t that much to do on it! We are all very hopeful and encouraged Measured Progress is going to live up to expectations and we are looking forward to an “uneventful” testing window… The other nice thing is the CTB/McGraw Hill Tab has been DISABLED! This truly is a great Thanksgiving…