We’ve got this garbage email system. The calendar doesn’t work right, it requires massive amounts of manpower, isn’t organized well, has features that don’t work, and the list goes on. When I came here from using Outlook in my two previous careers, it was quite the shock to see something so inefficient. For example, we still have to print out our office vacation calendar.
It feels like we have three different school calendars in four different places, and we do have an aging server that needs to be replaced soon. We realized that we need to start looking for a new email/calendar tool. Microsoft and Google are the hot “free” products out there and both have some neat collaborative tools.
The problem comes in that this clunker that we have has some quirky features that our students absolutely love. They can see who is online at any given moment, they can instantly chat with those that are online, and we have a great “Discussions” folders system where faculty and students can direct messages to various audiences.
Since word has gotten out that we’re making a switch students have been stopping me in the hall and sending emails to our Tech Director begging us not to switch. They love it and specifically say that a change will drastically affect our school’s culture.
So now what do we do?
Us, we’re heading back to the drawing board and making sure that the tech that we’ll move to fits our needs and our culture. It is the culture that we failed to take into account when we first started looking at this switch. We covered needs, functionality, price and aesthetics; we neglected culture, and that almost led to a riot. Well, not really, but the transition would have been much more difficult had we jumped the gun and rolled this out in September.