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Philosophy of Administration and Educational Technology

Technology Administrative Philosophy
It is most important to be proactive, rather than reactive, in managing any technology organization. It is a process of actively managing change (where the alternative is worse: managing obsolescence), and not just waiting for problems to arise. Technology is constantly changing and so do the processes that go along with integrating it into teaching, learning, and research environments.

The role of an administrator is to provide leadership through vision and direction, setting priorities in collaboration with the staff in the organization. I promote a horizontal management structure that allows input from all members of an organization in setting goals and prioritizing projects. This is similar to what Pierre Levy calls “Collective Intelligence,” essentially saying that 2+ heads are better than one. This approach is especially important when managing technology, since it is constantly changing and evolving and one individual cannot be the 'master' of that kind of knowledge any longer. The administrator becomes a 'facilitator' in allowing the organization and its staff to be successful and serve its users.

I believe in an outside-in approach to customer service. I try to view the organization from tech perspective of the people we strive to serve. What services are the users needing the organization to provide? What are the priorities of the users? One of the key skills of an organization is helping separate ‘need’ from ‘want.’ User often have an idea of what they want, the support need to help them figure out what they really need to accomplish their goals. It is the technology support organization that has a responsibility to solve problems and remove bottlenecks to the successful integration of technology. Further, I believe we never say 'no' to a request for help from a user. If the organization does not have the necessary resources, we need to offer advise on who does.

Instructional/ Educational Technology Philosophy
The role of an educational technologist is to assist faculty, staff, and students (as appropriate,) manage change as discussed above: change in educational practices, pedagogy, and technologies to support and enhance teaching and learning. Users need to be enabled to successfully integrate, then continue to stay current on, technologies that facilitate instruction and research.

In education, technology should never be burden to instruction or research. It should not get in the way or slow down the process. Ideally educational technologies are seamlessly integrated and invisible. While this is not always possible, this idea needs to be the main goal of every interaction with users, whether it is recommending technologies, installing them, or providing training in its use. To that end, a technology needs to be proven it enhances teaching and learning before it is recommended.

In making recommendations to faculty interested in the integration of new technologies in their teaching, we must remember that there are probably multiple ways to solve any problem: we need to need to listen and evaluate their needs. In doing so, we need to speak the language of faculty, not 'techno-speak.'