Avoid Tech Zealots and Fanboys


zeal·ot  ~ A person who is fanatical and uncompromising in pursuit of their religious, political, or other ideals.

fan·boy  ~ A fan, sometimes also called aficionado or supporter, is a person with a liking and enthusiasm for something. 

Do I really need to explain this? For the sake of the blog, I will, but as briefly as possible.

This week someone asked me what kind of person they should hire to lead technology for their BYOD(bring your own device) program. I told them to look at the ISTE Standards, and from that build their criteria. Then I said, “Make sure to avoid Technology Zealots.” I received a strange look, so I had to explain myself.

I breaks down like this:

  • You believe in BYOD
  • Therefore you believe in choice guided by standards
  • Therefore you believe in a flexible and personalized work environment for students and teachers.

So why would you hire someone who only:

  • Believes in Apple
  • Believes in Microsoft
  • Believes in iPads ( literally as the answer to everything including Fermat’s Enigma)
  • Believes only in 1 design to fit all needs

If you support BYOD concepts, then you need people leading technology who are focused on curriculum standards and the technology required to help students meet and excel passed those standards. If brandname comes into the conversation, then there is a problem.

Obviously the school has to buy specific products for specific jobs; and often the school is limited by the suppliers they work with. That is the school though, and the shared resources the school is buying. Those rules should not apply to a BYOD program based around equal opportunity and freedom of choice.

Everyone needs to remember that technology changes and companies change. Good judgement needs to be applied to all problems, projects, and road-maps. The choice should always be the best tool for the problems ahead, and not the brand that makes people feel like it is the best tool.

So fanboys, stick the blogs and stay out of the schools.

Tony DePrato



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