Educators recognize the rapid pace at which technology changes, but what may not be as obvious is the dramatic changes in recent years to the roles of education technology leaders.
Long responsible for managing infrastructure for the business office and school sites, as well as the organization's devices, today's CTOs and IT directors are also in charge of forecasting, budgeting and understanding their organization's curricular focus.
With more on their plates, something's got to give.
"Traditional IT skills are still critical, but in order to have the time to actually take on the new roles that are thrust on the IT director, we need to be smarter about the other roles," says Jeremy Shorr, director of technology innovation and early childhood education for the Teaching Institute for Excellence in STEM.
Cue the adage about working smarter, not harder. But what does smarter look like?
Here are four tips to help IT directors create more time to handle their expanding roles:
Automate inventory management.
Paper asset management and manual tracking in digital systems takes too much time and is too inaccurate. Instead, automate inventory management with new tools that simplify the process.
Manage devices in new ways.
Devices like iPads and Chromebooks can be easily managed through enterprise device management systems, allowing you to track, update and lock down devices without ever having to physically touch them.
Turn to ticketing systems with automatic flags and reports.
There's no need for IT directors to spend time running reports and looking for unresolved tickets when they can be notified in a dashboard.
Outsource when it makes sense.
Consider outsourcing some components of a traditional IT team to gain efficiencies when it makes sense for your district. Network management is an easy starting point to test the outsourcing approach.
This post is an updated version of a post that originally published on Sept. 23, 2016.