IT Reboots and Troubleshoots
November 28, 2020
Due to distance learning, the amount of technology used in classes has increased dramatically. The unsung heroes of our school are the very people who enable that and keep it running smoothly; the IT department.
Andrew Nation, in his third year at Bolles, who specializes in instructional technology at Bartram and Ponte Vedra, described this summer as a lot of “rolling with the punches.”
As expected, almost everything about our current situation was unpredictable.
“I don’t think anyone truly knew what this was going to look like.” Mr. Nation said.
Allie Sollie-Bailey primarily helps students and teachers troubleshoot computer issues. She explained how many teachers’ curriculums are being altered due to the partial distance learning, and with this, the amount of technology is increasing dramatically.
“It’s not like, for instance, if your computer goes down in class or the teacher’s computer breaks in class she can’t just put it up [..] because if the computer goes down in the whole class that means there are kids at home who aren’t getting the information, and that can’t happen.”
In unprecedented times like these, it can be difficult to predict what kind of problems we will face. This is true for our daily lives, as well as for the IT department.
Gloria Wood, who manages to work in IT as well as teach, has the unique ability of being able to see both sides of software issues. “I like to be involved with the students. I love teaching,” Wood explains. “Being involved with the students on a daily basis enables me to understand teachers’ needs firsthand.”
By having a connection with the students in her classroom, she can understand at a deeper level tech issues faced by fellow teachers, and then give help as a trained IT professional. It is also important to recognize that like humans, technology is unique.
Nation sheds light upon the idea that, “With technology there is never a one size fits all situation. What you need in a math class is not necessarily going to work in an English class.”
However, as time goes on, we continue to adapt to our new way of education.
“There are people here who have gone from being relatively uncomfortable with technology to very competent and really quite awesome” Sollie-Bailey stated. “I think people should be proud of that.”
While most of us have improved our understanding of technology, lots don’t know what work actually goes into that adaptation.
Many people don’t fully realize the work of our IT department. According to Mrs. Sollie-Bailey, only about 10% of their work is commonly known about.
“The best IT departments are the ones that you never hear from” Sollie-Bailey said.
While this may be the goal of the department, it can also negatively result in underappreciation for their work. Our day to day lives are built around it, which many of us don’t even know.
“It’s almost if you imagine building a road. Networks, computers, the internet, it’s all the infrastructure. Like building a road, you have to lay all these foundations, you have to dig it up, you have to put down gravel.” Sollie-Bailey explained.
“You have to do all of this work before you can even begin to actually put the road on and paint the stripes on it. There is all of this work that has to be done beforehand.” Sollie-Bailey continued.
Sollie-Bailey recognizes that the preparation IT does is invisible and silent most of the time. “And so before the kids can even come in and log into Schoology, there’s so much more that has to be done. And in a perfect world, no one ever sees that.”
Distance learning has caused technology to be a staple of our education. Its element of uncertainty constantly poses issues.
In times like these, we have to work to stay positive about our surroundings and situation.
“I love Bolles […] It’s a great education, I love this school,” Mrs. Wood said. “The administration is always finding a way to support both students and faculty in every way they can and that makes Bolles a special place to be.”
Mr. Nation also encourages us to keep persevering. He advises to push through, and not to stress because there is no perfect answer to any of these challenges we are facing.
“Do your best and try what you can with what we’re given. Unfortunately, there’s still a lot of unknowns.”