Open the pod bay door, HAL....
A few suggestions to school IT people everywhere:
1. Please understand that we are busy trying to make sure that students learn. We do not have 40 hours to spend crafting a website on the software that you purchased instead of working on matters more directly related to teaching. We are not enthralled with the idea of spending more than a full week learning a bunch of code. We especially do not want to do this and then get some cartoony website that looks like third graders did the graphics. Well, maybe a third grade teacher would be okay with that. But most of us are neither IT guys nor third grade teachers.
2. I also do not have time to respond to fifteen (no kiddin') emails about WHY I prefer to use blogging software for my classroom website over your ridiculous program (see 1). If you have time to send me fifteen emails, then YOU need to find something to do. I have some papers that need grading. Perhaps you could try to enter the grades on the idiotic internet-based grading system software you have also foisted upon us. Because right now it will neither save the grades that I have spent all day putting in, nor will it let me quit. So I am in quite the Catch-22 position.
3. You also want to require every teacher in the building to take over 45 hours of computer classes, and yet there are no microphones with which to make podcasts, there are two digital cameras to split among over 200 teachers, and I have to go get extra special double secret permission before I can add any piece of freeware or download a song from iTunes to my computer for instructional purposes. Since you are out of communication 70% of the time, that usually does not happen.
4. And meanwhile, I am placed in firewall limbo when I try to access any images to liven up powerpoints-- and images would be the only thing I use them for, since my students admit that my criticism of powerpoints (ie, that the only thing a kid will write down when being shown a powerpoint is what is on the slide, and nobody wants to read a slide with more than ten words of text on it) is valid.
5. And then, every year, there is the debacle over the software crashing (and often crashing the servers) when students are trying to register for next year's classes. Since my classes always go first, they are always the guinea pigs when this happens. Madness then ensues.
6. The excuse behind the internet-based grading system we use, meanwhile, was that it would save us labor. Since I now have to keep both a paper gradebook and the internet-based one, I think that that claim certainly doesn't hold water (and by the way, neither does my keyboard, and my roof sprang a leak last year right over my desk over a weekend. That was fun).
7. How about the next time we marry ourselves to some software company, we do a check to see if their customer service level rises above something better than, "We have no interest in fixing that problem right now." Which is what you told us the company actually said the last time the software went through a systematic meltdown.