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R: What is your vision for technology integration into education?

Where will we be, here in the TDSB, in 10 years?


M: Hopefully the technology will be in a place where it can support all
the devices and all the students, and we have that true
anywhere/anytime type of learning. I know that that sounds relatively
simple, but when you start digging down into it, as to how you can
ensure that can happen, you need a lot of infrastructure in place. You
need to ensure that people can use the technology tools.
R: You need a lot of personnel to make that happen.
M: Only because this is a very large system.
R: When I look at who is doing it, theres you, theres that little
department with Brian Hill and Kevin Bradbeer, and theres IT support,
but in terms of the academic side
M: Well there is another academic side in DQs area, shes the
academic side of operations. PMs the operations side. And
underneath there, theres a lot of academic areas, like JLs, that
supports a lot of his teachers in their schools.
R: Professional development.
M: Yes, professional development is in there too. A lot of the
instructional leaders came from JLs area to schools. And of course
theres special ed. So theres some support there too, depending on
what youre looking at, but those supports are not looking at how to
use technology tools effectively. They may look at math, for example,
or literature, or what have you, but not necessarily how to use the
technology tools to teach math or incorporate into the curriculum. The
ICT part comes from BHs area, and Kevins.
R: So these areas are all separate, and sometimes theres a
professional development session that ICT does with the other areas.
M: Yes, in my opinion, all of that should be together. Someone whos
helping teachers teach math or science or anything, better, should just
as well know the technology tools as opposed to I only know math, I
only know literature, I only know technology. To me thats not an
efficient way of going.
R: No, not a lot of teachers attend professional development sessions
given by the ICT people.

M: But there are a very large number of teachers in our system who
have done some excellent work, its not that nobodys doing it.
R: I guess its that how do you spread it?
M: Its just bits and pockets. Yes, the interesting thing is how do you
spread it.
R: Is there resistance to technology integration within the board? How
do you address this?
M: Well, theres lots of resistance, including your teachers union.
R: Why ? What are they afraid of?
M: Well, you will have to ask them that. As you probably have seen, if
you are reading the news, even last school year, when we rolled out
the first set of laptops, the Apple laptops, for grade 5 and 6 math,
people were all upset: You mean the teachers have to spend time on
professional development? Oh, this is extra work. Now, when the
18,000 are coming, for this fall, theyre upset about that too. So, its
like nobodys ever happy. If you dont have the tools, youre not happy
because you dont have them. When you do have them, youre not
happy because now you have to do some professional development
with it, because you need to know how to use them. So, there is
resistance, very much so. And other teachers who have been in our
system for a long time, really the question that came back to me is,
Whats in it for me? Why should I? Ive been perfectly happy for the
last x number of years.
R: What kind of incentive could be created to make them change?
M: Now that is definitely not up to me to address! [laughs] But theres
definitely resistance.
R: You worked with the school board in Calgary, in the same capacity?
M: Yes, but I also looked after all the superintendents. Its a slightly
different structure there.
R: What did you learn from that experience?
M: You see, there, the government mandated that teachers will take x
number of hours and learn technology and integrate those technology
tools into the curriculum. It was mandated.

R: Release time was given to do professional development?


M: Some was release time, some was trade-off time, it was done in a
number of ways. But, you had to get a certain level of technology
expertise to teach the ICT curriculum there. There it was government
mandated that you teach ICT curriculum in the classroom. So for that,
teachers got a lot of training and I didnt find any issues there.
R: And it worked? Now Calgary has moved forward and technology
has been integrated into the curriculum?
M: I think it has. Just a different set of rules. Just like in the US,
theres a number of areas where it is mandated that you have a
certificate or level of training in the technology side. Different states
do it differently but a number of them do have that.
R: Teachers are happy to take extra courses when it moves them up
the salary grid, I wonder if somebody will want to spend the money on
that.
M: Theres lots of different kinds of incentives.
R: So, it seems to all come down to budget when we talk about
technology.
M: A good chunk of it.
R: Is there a way to allocate the existing resources differently?
Examples that I thought of were desktops to laptops or tablets, from
traditional textbooks to interactive resources, from bricks-and-mortar
schools to e-Learning. Are there ways that we can shift the money,
instead of just trying to get more money from the government?
M: Yes, certainly there are. Thats just what I was trying to do this
past year, so youll see the results this September. Spending that
same $3.5 million that the system has allocated to technology for the
last 8 years, that everybody bought desktops out of it, about 3500 for
a system of 561 schools, a quarter of a million students, that doesnt
go a very long way.
R: 3500 in the last few years?
M: Since 2004. Thats what you guys have been doing.
R: Since 2004, they bought 3500 desktops?

M: You have a budget per year, every year you get $3.5 million to
spend, every year you can buy about 3500 computers.
R: Thats what theyve been doing.
M: Thats what theyve been doing, so that doesnt go very far, in a
system thats as big as this. Thats why you ended up having 7 or 8
year old machines because they couldnt refresh them enough, nor
could they put enough in labs.
R: So youre getting 18,000 in one year. Is that something that
continue year after year?
M: No, the lease is going to be a 3 year lease, so were getting 18,000
machines for 3 years and then we can renew it and get another
18,000, or maybe more by that time. It depends on how well you
negotiate.
R: Averaging out to about 6000 a year.
M: No, every year its another $3.5 million. I havent spent any more
money. Ive spent the exact same amount of dollars.
R: So its a much more efficient use of the same resources.
M: Youd better believe it.
R: More money is not a necessity to make technology integration
happen.
M: Not necessarily, but if you keep cutting IT budgets, then you get to
a point where you cant do anything.
R: Is this the first year that the IT budget has been cut?
M: No, it was cut the first year that I was here, and the second year I
was here, and this coming year it was cut. So schools dont get that
was originally designated for them for things like wireless. So if you
dont have the wireless access points, you dont have the network
capability, then youre going to have a bit of an issue logging in.
R: So you have to do more with less. You dont even have a choice.
M: Well, it gets to a point though, after a while, when you neglect a
system for so long, that it will not just be doing more with less, you will
just have to stop doing.

R: As the rest of the world moves forward, our school board


M: Yes. You need to look at technology from a pro-active way.
R: Do you have an opinion on this bricks-and-mortar schools to eLearning? There could be massive cost-savings there.
M: I dont know about massive cost savings. I think you can get more
students, hence you could make sure you could support the system.
R: You could get more students from outside the GTA?
M: Yes, I think so. You look at the US, you look at Florida, for example,
maybe you can go and research that one, and they have an e-Learning
high school there that they have over 100,000 students in it, and you
can take it from grade 9 up to 12.
R: Public high school?
M: Yes.
R: In Ontario, I think we have one private high school, its called Virtual
High School.
M: Actually, you have more than one. You have one in Ottawa too,
and I dont think thats a private one. If you look online you can find it,
actually. Theres about 3 that are online and you can take your high
school credits online.
R: Other school boards could do this before us.
M: They are doing it. The Catholic board last year has taken a couple
thousand of our students.
R: This is looking like a difficult situation that the TDSB is in.
M: You need to look at it and you need to plan for it and see what will
it bring you, but sometimes to get ahead you need to invest. Just like
you want to save on your house, lets say on your heating bill. If you
have a really old furnace, youre not going to save on the heating bill
even if you turn the heat down. But if you invest in a new furnace
thats more efficient and better, although you spent money, over time
you will save.

R: But this money has to come from somewhere. It either has to come
from the existing budget or we have to ask the government for more
money.
M: You know how well that goes.
R: But the Ministry of Education seems to be very interested in eLearning.
M: Yes, they are.
R: Is it possible that they will provide e-Learning at the expense of
school boards?
M: Well, they are providing e-Learning in a sense through courses.
R: Through school boards.
M: Yes.
R: Could they provide it on their own? And make school boards
obsolete?
M:

They could.

R: They seem to do this budget game every year where they if you
dont balance your budget, were going to do it for you.
M: Sure, but dont forget, these are public dollars, theyre not school
board dollars. Theyre your dollars that the public has put in through
taxes so its someone elses money and we should manage it
effectively and efficiently.
R: So that may be the answer.
M: It just needs to be managed so that you think forward. Wheres the
return on your investment? Wheres the value at? How do we ensure
that we can turn our part-time students into full-time students? Why
are they part-time? Because they failed a course here or there? Or
they couldnt take a course? Whatever the reason is, you get x
amount of dollars for a part-time student, you get x amount for a full
time student.
R: These are 18-20 year old.

M: Whatever year old. It doesnt really matter. You have part time
students in grade 10. This past year, quite a number of them, almost
600 or so, have ended up taking online courses, hence we turned them
into full-time students, hence the funding was full-time student funding
not part-time student funding.
R: So this is one benefit of the technology.
M: Yes, but to me the course has to be interesting. Students today
dont want pdf files to read.
R: Yes, my courses are synchrononous. I have to log in for 3 hours at a
time. These courses are not.
M: So we need to do them differently, so we can engage those guys
out there, those students, in a much different fashion. And thats what
Brian, for example, is working on. I want to develop courses at the
TDSB that are much more interactive, much more engaging. Now, the
ministry has a ton of courses, and we use some of those because we
dont have enough of our own, but a lot of those need to be modified,
and have stuff added to it. Because a lot of it is just text, text, text.
Static pictures. Why have a static picture when you can have an
interactive image?
R: But this is also going to take an investment. Whos going to do
this?
M: We have people currently. We have media people sitting over in
BHs area, for I dont know how many years theyve been there, but
nobody, for example, gave them appropriate equipment to do the
animations with, or the video with. Now that I gave that to them over
this past year, what did it cost? $8000? And now they can do some
fanastic things.
R: Yes, they have some great ideas.
M: As a matter of fact, theyre currently just developing something for
one of the English literature courses where theyre going to bring in
really old characters from Queen Victorias age, Napolean, etc. Theyre
going to put them around a round table, all done in 3-D, and they all
look pretty much what they look like, and theyre all going to have a
discussion on various things, from their own particular time. And the
students can click on them and in a sense have an interactive
discussion. I mean, those are fantastic things. Those are some things
that will engage the kids to do something. Why arent we doing a lot
more on game development? Game development is big. We dont do

that here because whatever the reason, all kinds of reasons. Theres
all kinds of neat things out there. Now I know a few of the teachers are
using some that they have found on the internet, but its not a
pervasive-through-our-system kind of mentality. We should foster that,
because thats really interesting, thats how you keep the students
really motivated and moving forward.
R: Even classroom teaching is not working the way it should, now that
the kids have experienced all of this technology. Its hard to keep their
attention as theyre sitting in individual desks and youre teaching at
the front.
M: Yes, its just not how the future is rolling out.
R: So you picture the TDSB creating content.
M: Yes, very much so.
R: Teachers creating content.
M: Yes. Ive already seen some that they have created over the last
couple of years, its just fantastic. Now its a matter of where are we
going to put it? Where are we going to store it? So everybody can
have access to it. So people can pick different pieces, if you like, little
modules.
R: A learning repository.
M: Yes, learning objects which they can incorporate into their learning
management system. The one we picked here is Moodle, only
because its the cheapest.
R: Its free.
M: Well, its not free. We pay about $85,000 a year but everybody has
access.
R: And Desire2Learn is just for the summer courses?
M: Desire2Learn is through the Ministry, and every 4 years, the
Ministry may change the company they work with because you put out
RFPs. So one year it might be Desire2Learn, another year it might be
Blackboard, another year it could be somebody else. You have to
retrain everybody in how to use it. Thats not a good thing. We have
such a huge system.

R: You prefer Moodle?


M: I dont. I have it here because first of all, its the most inexpensive
piece. We can train everybody in it. You can move the courses from
there to someplace else if you want, but at least that we can afford for
the next 10 years. I know what it takes to retrain people from
Desire2Learn to Blackboard to somebody else, its a big retraining. We
cant even get teachers to try and use the basic tools, let alone train
them to develop their own courses. So I want to keep it as simple as
possible, and Moodle is pretty simple, but you can still bring in a lot of
interactive objects. So if you can continue that basic training for those
teachers, develop a whole repository of training modules, and give
them ideas of This is how you can do something really interesting in
Biology or in Math or Literature or in some other area then its easier
to move forward, than every year or every 3 or 4 years to say No, we
cant use that tool now. Learn this one. Then learn this one. Then
eventually people just say Forget it.
R: So youre committing to Moodle.
M: Not much of a choice here.
R: Desire2Learn, we cant use that during the year?
M: Sure you can. Now you can, because the Ministry changed the rules
this past year, and they say now you can use it for mixed instruction
during the classroom time. Yes, people can use it.
R: So it will be a mix. People can choose what they want. But in terms
of content, it doesnt really matter what the Learning Management
System is. Creation of content happens independently of that. You
take your content and you stick it into the system.
M: Yes, but you have to develop your content somewhere. How are
you going to develop it?
R: You develop it using authoring tools, using video production
software.
M: The authoring tool is part of Desire2Learn; an authoring tool is part
of Blackboard, except they all work slightly differently.
R: The authoring tools could be independent of the system the content
is sitting on.
M: It could.

R: Adobe Captivate.
M: You could, to capture little modules. Everything has its limitations.
With Adobe Captivate, you will not be able to put together a really
good lesson, because you want to be able to incorporate, for example,
chat rooms. Then youll have to do some other mixing and
programming and bringing it together because its not a simple step.
Thats not to say that some savvy teachers cant do that. But not
everybody is there.
R: So doing this on Moodle, that would require a fair amount of
training, right?
M: And theres a fair number of teachers who have already been
trained on Moodle, several several hundred. Every year we run
several hundred more teachers through it. So, thats the beginning of
it, and thats once of the reasons we also dont want to leave it there
because we already have a bit of a base. Lets build from there. As
opposed to keep changing things all the time.
R: About digital textbooks, I had read your report, it was really
interesting. Do you think they will become standard in schools,
replacing print textbooks altogether?
M: Yes, for sure. Just give it time.
R: And you picture this as being the interactive textbooks or the pdf?
M: No, pdf textbooks are dead. It has to be an interactive experience
for sure. And a lot of the publishers are now starting to look into that.
Just look at Apple, what theyre doing with iBooksAuthor and iTV.
Theyre just fantastic pieces that you can use.
R: People can create their own books. Teachers can create their own
textbooks.
M: Oh yeah, interactive.
R: But on what device will students be viewing them in a classroom?
Will we provide that device?
M: Thats a big debate. Why do we have to provide it? Believe me,
this fall, a lot of students will be brining their own. Theyre already
bringing their own, in some schools. A ton of kids bring their own stuff.
Anything from handheld small devices, all the way to laptops.

R: That would help, a lot.


M: It would only help if the teachers would know how to engage them,
otherwise they would just do their own thing, if theyre even allowed to
do anything, because in a lot of our classrooms today, its Leave it out
there at the door. And thats no good. I mean, that is why I wanted to
bring in the laptops, because theyre mobile devices, you can move
them around, you can do better teaching than sitting in a lab using the
technology tools. Plus, this way at least, we can build the base for
some of the devices so that if were using e-resources, that the kids
have something to use them on. Theres no sense having e-resources
if you dont have the tools. So its a lot of these puzzle pieces that
have to come together.
R: If theres a library of e-resources, Im sure teachers would use them.
M: Theres lots of e-resources currently available. Some of the
publishers have come into some of our schools and this past year they
had a really good pilot in a number of places.
R: For the digital textbooks. How is that going?
M: It went really well. Except now publishers are saying, Now, its x
amount of dollars. Whos going to pay for that?
R: Is it something like $10/textbook/students/year?
M: It depends who youre talking to. In that particular report at that
time we were bracketing it because not everything is the same. Some
places you go for a particular textbook it may be $12 a year. The math
one that we brought in last year for the grade 5/6 is $2/student/year.
So theres a range. It also would depend, have you bought their book
before? Because if you have bought their book before, theyll give it to
you cheaper. So, you really have to look at what the model is. And I
dont necessarily want to buy into any one. Just because we bought
the book or didnt buy the book shouldnt matter. If theres a new eresource out, I would like to have it at a very very reasonable price.
R: You negotiate a good price.
M: Yes, were a big system. We should be able to leverage that very
well. Hence the RFP for the 18,000 units for the same amount of
dollars [as 3500 units].

R: So youre saying it could work out to be cheaper in the long run to


use digital textbooks?
M: I think it could.
R: And it would constantly be updated.
M: You have too. Look at how much things are changing every year. I
know adding 1 + 1 will always be 2, granted. 10,000 other things will
not.
R: And its the presentation, too, to grab the kids. Content may not
change that much.
M: But how you present it, and how you get them engaged, how you
get them to think, those are the 21st century skills, right?
R: And those are changing. This year its Facebook, and then its
Twitter, and then its something else. If you incorporate these sorts of
things into the classroom.
M: Theyre not going away. Theyre growing at an incredible rate. I
think we can do a heck of a lot more, and better, to engage the kids,
engage the students far better than what were doing currently.
R: In terms of sources of content, we could get it from vendors &
publishers, open education, we could create it, or we could have
partnerships with publishers. Which do you see as the best option?
M: I dont think theres a best option. I think it has to be probably a
mix. Theres currently an incredible amount of free stuff out there but
you have to know where to look. Thats why I want to create a
repository for us to have an easy way to access something because
now some teachers will know a couple of places, others will know a
couple of other places, the two dont necessarily meet.
R: Theyre duplicating the work of looking for those resources.
M: Most likely, and most likely they havent found all of it anyway. So,
other times the publishers have some really good material thats worth
getting. So I think you need to look at a multi-faceted model. Its not
going to be a one-size-fits-all.
R: You were talking about creating TDSB content and maybe getting
some teacher-release time to create that content.

M: Well, currently in the summer, we hire some teachers to write some


of the courses for us and create the content, but its 3 or 4 courses at a
time because we only have so much money. But yes, if during the
school year, as theyre preparing their lessons and putting things
together, they can prepare good stuff then some of those sections can
be put into a repository. But then you have to think about things like,
Is that section from person A really good? Person B actually did a
little better job. So now which one do we put on?
R: And who would be the person to evaluate that?
M: I dont know. Youll probably have to have a panel to view it, a
review panel that would say Yes, were going to keep that. And
whose going to keep on updating things? Theres a couple of items in
there that you will have to look into to make it operational.
R: Its like we need more people who are experts in technology in
administration to be able to make these sorts of decisions.
R: So currently the TDSB offers e-Learning as a small segment of dayschool offerings. Is there going to be a dramatic expansion of this?
M: I really hope so. I think over the last 2 years, Ive been talking
about Lets have an e-high school and now I think with the Ministry,
with the way theyve been looking at e-Learning, and some of the
senior people here, they really would like to see not only just an e-high
school but potentially some e-Learning opportunity right from K to 12.
What it would like yet, I dont think theres anything out there that you
could say, Heres a really good model or Heres a really bad model
but I think the idea of getting them used to being online is excellent.
Theyre doing it already, theyre playing games. Thats being online.
You may dismiss it but in a sense theyre still learning, even if theyre
playing games. And then certainly for the e-high school, why not have
the TDSB potentially have a virtual high school in China or a virtual
high school in South America? Why should something like that stop
us? Why cant we be the leaders here in Ontario, in Canada, in North
America for e-Learning?
R: Do you mean have a virtual high school that is located somewhere
else?
M: Yes, for example, I live in Brazil and I want to graduate with a TDSB
diploma. I know there might be a few obstacles in place all those are
changeable. So why would I have to come here to take all the courses
when I can log in from there quite nicely, thank you very much, and I
can take the courses. Thats the beauty of the virtual high school.

R: Isnt part of the blockage for the virtual high school, isnt it the
Ministry that is making it difficult for us to charter this kind of school?
M: Worldwide, yes. Here in Ontario, no. I think its just a matter of
demonstrating what were doing. I dont think that would be a major
issue. They already had precedents where they approved other high
schools, virtual schools, so why shouldnt they do it here? I think
theyre going towards that kind of thinking. Theyre just maybe not
there 100%.
R: The Ministry seems forward thinking, at least on the face of it.
M: There are a lot of people there who would like to see change
happen, which is good. But yeah, that kind of high school, why not?
You have the technology.
R: Do you think there are enough opportunities provided to educators
to engage in professional growth to become leaders in using
technology in their classrooms?
M: I think there is. I just dont think people take advantage of it. Too
many times I hear, If I dont get release time, I dont want to do it.
Okay, dont. [laughs]
R: Theres a summer course offered at the end of August.
M: Usually those courses get pretty filled up. If you look at the ICT
curriculum that we have, that KB has put together with his team, and if
you look at all the online material thats behind it, its staggering. But
if I were to run statistics on how many people are actually using it, it
would not be that much. Why? Its all there. Lesson plans are there.
The material is there. Yes, you may have to learn a few things. But
dont misunderstand, some teachers, I think, are great. We have a
group of teachers who, although they have been getting 3-day release
time per year, theyve been spending their own free time going out to
schools and helping other teachers.
R: TACIT?
M: Thats the one. Theres 65 teachers or so in that group. Theyre
fantastic. Theyre spending their own time. Theyre not complaining.
But because our systems so huge, in a sense it becomes a very small
group of the ones who say lets go, lets do something different, lets
move forward here. Look at robotics in some of our schools. Some of
it is absolutely phenomenal. Ive been to a couple of demonstrations

last year. In one theres robotics for grade 7 and the kids were so
engaged it was incredible, whereas I would see them in other classes
and they were not. Why were they engaged here? The answer is This
could open up some doors for me. This could be a really good
opportunity. It just staggered me. And I thought, why arent we
offering robotics in every grade 7?
R: Or could they spend the morning in robotics? Make it
interdisciplinary? They could get their English, Math, Science done?
M: Why not? But you dont get enough of the teachers who want to
participate, who want to learn how to run a robotics class. Its not for
everybody. But it comes down to, Allow me some time so I can try it.
R: So there are some systemic problems here.
M: Can we not partner with industry to do some of these intiatives?
Sure we can. Theyd like to put their name on the door, Mattell, or
whoever it happens to be. Maybe they would, but is that going to be a
huge impediment? Maybe Im stepping on some political toes, saying
that, but look at universities. They didnt do blatant advertising but
there might be the name of a company above the classroom. Because
they just donated a couple of million dollars. But here its like you
cant do any advertising of any kind. Thats a very narrow view of
things. The kids get advertising in their face a million times a day. Im
not saying to put up a McDonalds sign on the side of the school but I
think you could do it in a much more nice, tasteful way where a
company could say, Hey, Im being recognized because I just donated
a ton of money to you. And there would be lots and lots of areas
where people would be interested in doing something like that.
R: Do you belong to international organizations? Do you go to
conferences? Like ISTE?
M: No, Im more on the technical front and multimedia front. I belong
to places like the CIO association of Canada. I go to a lot of webinars,
only because its easier to do that than actually travel. And now, of
course, travel is cut off anyway. Thats you included. So unfortunately
that will limit a lot of things if you want the system to pay for it. So I
belong to a lot of things that the TDSB doesnt pay for. You have to,
otherwise you become obsolete really quick. Technology changing at
an incredible pace. Its really good to keep up. On the other hand, we
also bring in a lot of vendors over here, in the last couple of years, we
brought in a lot of vendors to demo this or demo that.
R: And you learn just from seeing whats new out there.

M: Sure. It also gives opportunity for teachers and principals and viceprincipals to come and see what there is and what they can do, so it
helps. And I also give talks in a lot of places.
R: Is there any way you can model use of technology.
M: I use it. Even for presentations I try to set the bar higher.
Powerpoint shouldnt just have text on it. Here and there people come
up and say, I like what you did. How did you do it? Things like
travel, here, we have 3 or 4 different offices. You shouldnt have to
travel all the time. You open up your laptop, and can have a
conference. Last year, I introduced laptops for all the executives
because they would bring in paper this high. The first time I walked
out and there were 3 binders there 2 inches thick! And I thought, Im
not going to carry those things around, it looks ridiculous. Give it to
me online. Ill just take a laptop. Finally I convinced them to get
laptops. They did. The paper went down, drastically. And then,
because they didnt want to learn a lot more on the laptop, how to do
this and how to do that on the laptop, the paper went up again. So
they had the laptop open, a stack of paper, their phone or Blackberry.
And I thought, what an inefficient way of doing things. So this coming
fall Im going to run a few seminars, just 10 or 15 minutes, to say
Heres a nugget. This is what you can do. Some of that is lacking.
R: Photocopying in the TDSB. This must be a huge expense!
M: Some principals, who are really innovative. Theyre beginning to
say, If I can turn x amount of my photocopy dollars into e-textbooks,
what can I do. What Im advocating is dont go out on your own and
get e-textbooks, lets go out as a system . See here again, something
that was ingrained over the years was that everybody can go out and
do their own thing. Thats nice, but you end up paying that much more
for things. If you can do it as a system, you can do better. Hence the
$2 per student per math resource. I think there are different ways of
looking at things. So some people are looking at photocopying and
thinking, maybe I dont need it.
M: To PTAC, Principals Technology Advisory Committee, I like to get out
and talk to people as much as possible, but there are just so many
people, so many faces, so many names. Sometimes its, Yes I
recognize the face, but whos that person? But theyve been really
good.
R: Principals, especially, seem really supportive of what youre doing.

M: I feel I can talk to them. I spent a lot of time being out there too, at
their meetings. I think if you communicate, you can get something
done.
R: It sounds like we need people who are committed on a deep level,
theyre not just doing it because they have to do it. Theyre taking
their spare time and doing it. Theyre doing more than they need to do
to get the job done. Thats a hard thing to find in a unionized, public
service environment.
M: It is, because the mentality is that you pay for my training. If I
were to say as an IT professional, Ill just wait until the company pays
for it, I would not be where I am, knowledge-wise. I have to have that
initiative, that desire, to move and grow and learn.
R: This is an issue, not just for school boards, but for any public
organization.
M: It is. In the private sector, you look at it differently. Yes, you do get
training dollars, but on the other hands, if you dont keep up, goodbye!
Thank you, nice knowing you. People learn really fast.
R: But if you do keep up, in the private sector, you get rewarded. That
doesnt happen here.
M: When you have a horrendous deficit, thats very hard to do. Thats
why managing the system within the bounds of what you get is very
important. A $110 million deficit, you have to cut a little bit here and
little bit there. People let it accumulate to such an extent and now you
take that chunk out, and everybodys head is spinning because its
huge.