School is not a user-driven experience

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I’ve said in posts and presentations that schools have their IT upside-down. Our core business is in the classroom, not in the admin office, yet in most cases the weight of IT resources has been in building and maintaining the latter. An historical artifact, I think. I hope.

Today I began a comprehensive needs assessment of our entire back office and drew this up:

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I know our set-up well but I still gave an audible “Fascinating!” when I was done. Each Post-It represents a tool or function used in the back office. For comparison, I added the two core tools for students and teachers on the right. My hunch is that this imbalance is fairly typical. We have tails wagging dogs all over the place. School, it seems, is not a user-driven experience.

The complexity of the admin-side is plain. Moreover, that complexity is starting to work against us and all those interlocking parts have become too rigid for our planned growth. Happily, we’re starting to pull things apart.

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