It only works if you have the budget…

and if everyone in the process is playing from the same sheet of music.

The military leadership school that I work at is developing a strong philosophy component – focusing on the classic old question, “which comes first, the chicken or the egg?” And as in all versions of this debate, a good strong argument can be made for either point of view. Which doesn’t make the current situation any less frustrating.

The chicken side of the argument goes like this: We need more tech resources at the school. And the only way to prove to our parent organization that we really need those resources is to write the curriculum as though we already have them, then get the POI (plan of instruction) approved, then use the approved POI as the basis for requesting things like Smart Boards and a student computer lab. As long as we continue writing curriculum for old-style (in tech terms, old-style = state-of-the-art from 3 years ago, right?) campuses with PowerPoint, paper student guides, and little else, then why should they approve budget for more? Our curriculum says we don’t need it!

But the egg side is equally convincing: How can you write and implement curriculum that requires the students to have access to secure computers to do their assignments and requires the faculty to use SmartBoards to correctly display the lecture visual aids if you don’t have them?!?!?

The implementation of our new week-long training management piece was a nightmare – we “worked around” the lack of SmartBoards for the most part, but then we put the students on study time to do their homework and they had to scatter like cockroaches to try to find libraries with computer labs (about 20 computers available in the local area, 117 students) or go back to their offices (for the 40 or so who work locally). The whole point of study time is to give them a few hours to work on their assignments with the faculty available to answer questions and steer them in the right direction, but having the faculty available in their offices on campus to assist doesn’t help a bit if the students have to leave the campus to do the work.

Miss Clairol is the only entity I can see benefiting from this situation, because my hair is going to go gray at an exponentially increasing rate over this.

The good news is that we should eventually get the budget for the resources we actually need. Maybe in FY11. Probably in FY12. By that time, the technology we need now will probably be obsolete – who knows what state-of-the art will be by then?

I just have to laugh. Because if I lose my sense of humor, this just won’t be bearable at all.

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