A friend of mine once described innovation in the Howard County Schools as follows:
Somewhere in Central Office there is a mysterious department called The Next Big Thing Coming Down the Pike. They are always working on the things that are going to happen five, ten years in the future. As soon as they complete one project, they move to the next big thing coming down the pike.
"But what happens if there's a problem with what they created? What happens if people need help?" I asked.
That's not their job. They're already working on the Next Big Thing. And there is no department of Implementing What We've Got Now.
Of course this is purely anecdotal, and framed in a rather allegorical way. But today it seems rather apropos. I submit to you two articles:
HoCo Times, August 29th: Howard School system gives high marks to new software
WBALTV, September 9th: New computer system causing trouble in Howard County classrooms
So, what do you think? If you are a parent, have you found the implementation of new systems and support of current systems satisfactory? If you are a teacher or a staff member, have you found training and subsequent support to be adequate?
Investing tax payer money on the Next Big Thing is only justified if training and support are just as important a priority. It's the Customer Service piece that's just so, so crucial. Who is the end user? Can he or she actually use it?
Right now I'm not sure there's enough data to make that judgement.