Blair has experienced difficulties in implementing MCPS's Technology Modernization Program (TechMod), an initiative to keep technology current in County schools, partially due to a lack of user support specialists to oversee the installation of a new computer system at Blair, said faculty members. This was Blair's first installment of new equipment as part of the program.
TechMod, which started in 2001, is projected to cost MCPS $15.3 million for fiscal year 2005. Each school receives new hardware and software every four years as part of the program.
This overhaul of technology is the root of the problems that Blair has experienced, according to User Support Specialist Anne Wisniewski. She added that the problems themselves are varied: The protocol for rewriting passwords, which worked for teachers, did not work for students, preventing students from logging on to the network for the first two weeks of school. Many applications which were supposed to be sent to each computer did not run on all computers. Some applications ran perfectly one week, but malfunctioned the next, said Wisniewski.
User Support Specialist Tim Hall said that he and the other user support specialists cannot specifically target the problems that are occurring, except for the simple reason that installing a new computer system is inherently difficult. "When you upgrade in a large organization, it's the equivalent of a brain transplant," said Hall. "The entire roadmap that we once knew has changed."
Some Blair administrators have said that there has been little technical support from the County. However, the County has provided ample resources, and no one should bear the blame, according to Wisniewski. "It's not fair to point fingers; we've had a lot of people come from MCPS, but they just can't solve our problems," she said. "We're all a little frustrated, and they're frustrated, too."
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