An Easy Win for Educational IT People

I was a visitor in a school today where it was time to transition from a paper and pencil warm up to a computer assisted practice session.

The class was moving well. The students were alternating between partner talk and whole class instruction. The teacher was attentive to the needs of the room.

But when the computers came out, and it was time to log on to website X, things took a turn.

Logging in commenced. With mixed results. Then students reached into their desks for their one page list of logins. And my jaw bounced off of the table. A couple times.

Each student in this classroom had more than twelve unique usernames and passwords for various school and curriculum tools. That’s a tremendous ask of a precious finite resource (a child’s working memory) to have to keep track of all of those. And where the paper is. And which extra ones we have to write down versus which ones will be provided to us.

That’s just mean. For everyone in the room. And with my educational IT guy hat on, I can understand how it happens. Each company has their own way of hashing usernames. Passwords get generated however they do.

But the stuff adds up. And what may well be learning’s most valuable resource, time, is squandered as a result.

School and district IT people, you can return hours of instructional time to children and teachers. You can win big with and for all the folks you’re looking after.

Fix this.

Every unique login you can eliminate returns minutes per day to a teacher and a child.

School conference rooms will be named in your honor. There might be parades. We can tear up those login sheets and use them for a better purpose.

Confetti.

photo by: State Farm

4 thoughts on “An Easy Win for Educational IT People

  1. Bud — yes! Where I wor, we’re down to one login to remember for everything through Google authentication and Clever. If there’s a certain IT department that needs any technical assistance to make this happen, we’re happy to help.

    1. Sadly, there are many, many IT departments that need assistance on thinking about and implementing this idea. AND truly plenty of curriculum departments who need to pause before they add “one more resource” with the publisher or vendor’s generic login.

  2. You’ve pretty much described what Clever has been doing for schools; providing single sign-on for a host of websites and apps. It can be a bit clumsy, but gives students a single portal and login.

    Also, it’s important to talk to the person in charge. Our former IT Director always got a earful of this from me; we worked hard to try and make as much of our systems integrate with our LDAP/Google Accounts….but there are still so many vendors that don’t play nice like this 🙁

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