For those of you wondering how school IT will work when the consumerisation of IT is complete, and us IT technicians are surplus to requirements, I got a glimpse of it today.
If you’re familiar with Edmodo, you will already be aware that even when the school has a domain setup for the site, pupils have to create their own accounts and join the school domain using a group code. This means that accounts generally get created in lessons with a class teacher, because the teachers manage their own groups and codes.
For proponents, this is the embodiment of consumerisation in action. The teacher does everything they need to (in the “Cloud”, no less) without any help from an administrator.
And for the most part, it works fine.
Then sometimes, you get an email from a teacher asking when a pupil’s Edmodo account is going to be created, because they’ve been having to email his assignments to him separately for the last four months.
This week I received an email asking me how to do something in Word. It was something fairly trivial, but we have recently upgraded to Office 2013 and the process is slightly different, so fair question.
Or at least it would be a fair question, had the instructions for said task not been on the front page of our staff Intranet since the middle of December. You know, the staff Intranet that is set as the homepage for all staff in their browser.
It’s times like this that I really wonder why I bother.
Why is it that the people who complain the loudest about students not reading the question properly in exams are the exact same people that don’t read the instructions properly on anything they click on ever?
“Yes, that field says ‘Email address’. That means you need to fill in your email address, not just your name.”
“The reason that help box popped up when you clicked ‘OK’ is because you actually clicked the ‘Help’ button, not the ‘OK’ button.”
“Do you see this big yellow notice that says the IT department isn’t responsible for fixing the photocopiers? You see, right here in the entire top half of the screen where you filled in a request for me to fix the photocopier?”
WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE.
For 3 days, the attendance system was erroneously reporting to all form tutors that they needed to fill in a missing register for a day during half term.
Exactly 1 person reported this problem to me.
For 3 hours, the web filter was erroneously blocking Facebook access for staff.
I got 16 emails about it.
Nothing puts me in a good mood first thing on a Monday like having to traipse over to another building in the pouring rain because a teacher forgot that YouTube has its own mute, and that they pressed it last time they watched a video.
The telephone rings.
“Angry Technician, please state the nature of the IT emergency.”
“BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP I think there’s something wrong with my computer BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP it’s making some kind of alarm noise BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP I was just rebooting it and BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP”
Let’s back up a little.
Years ago I attended a call where the user had reported that every time they clicked on a menu – any menu – it flashed up for a fraction of a second and then vanished. When I arrived and sat down at the workstation, the problem was gone.
It took a few moments for me to realise that when I had sat down, I had almost unconsciously cleared the clutter on the desk from around the keyboard, and in doing so, had removed a binder that had been resting on the Esc key.
I never fail to be astonished by how often this sort of thing happens.
“BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP”
“Sounds like you’ve got something resting on the keyboard to me.”
“BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP Oh, hang on, maybe I have BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BE-”
“Yep, that was it.”
I walked into an unlocked classroom yesterday to diagnose a reported printer problem, and sat for 15 minutes at a teacher’s unattended, logged-in workstation, with their car keys and iPhone 5 sitting cheerfully on the desk next to the mouse.
Now, last time I encountered this level of wilful ignorance of security, I emailed the Head from their account to resign, drove their car out to the nearest clifftop, and left it there with the door open and engine running after sending a text to their spouse reading “GOODBYE CRUEL WORLD”. However, my parole officer has been discouraging me from this sort of behaviour, so this time I just locked their workstation and left them a post-it note.
I think I might be going soft in my old age.
Recently I wrote some code for our Intranet that issues somewhat blunt reminders to teachers who don’t have their attendance registers done on time (or in some cases, at all).
This has historically been a problem for us, and despite marked improvement in the last year since we changed our electronic registration system, I was keen to finally eradicate the problem forever. However, aware that my usual tone does not always meet with universal approval, I consulted senior management as to whether I should word the reminders more… diplomatically.
Their response could best be summarised as: “f*** diplomacy”.
I’m thinking of having the email framed.
I was summoned urgently to one of the admin offices to deal with a mysterious problem – every time the user clicked on a menu, it would open, then immediately vanish again.
I walked in, and lo and behold, she could demonstrate the problem perfectly.
“Look, I can click on Start, and it pops up for a second, then disappears! I can’t do any work!”
Restraining myself from commenting on how giddy she must be at actually having an excuse to be in her normal state of ‘not doing any work’, I quickly ascertained the cause of the problem. Leaning over the bomb site that passes for a desk in these parts, I gingerly lifted the pile of class registers off of the top-left corner of the keyboard, releasing the Esc key that was being held down and cancelling out of every menu.
If only they were all that easy…