IT Definitions

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Question: What does IT stand for?

The IT Guy says:
When I first received this question, I thought it was just a joke. But after I thought about it for a minute, I realized it could easily be a legitimate question. We seem to be so in love with acronyms and abbreviations that sometimes we forget that they aren't necessarily an effective way to communicate!

To make things confusing, the abbreviation "IT" has two different meanings in education. For a long time, IT was short for "Informational Technology," and usually referred to the group of people responsible for technology support and maintaining administrative systems such as email, payroll, and the networks and infrastructure to operate them.

However, sometime in the last few years (at least around these parts), another group of people decided to change their name. "Educational Technology" started to transmogrify into "Instructional Technology", and the abbreviation for their program became "IT." (They never used an abbreviation before, preferring to call themselves "Ed Tech" rather than "ET." The extra-terrestrial connotation was too much)

I often find myself confused when I work with districts and they start throwing around the term IT, because in some districts they are referring to the technical staff, while in other districts they are referring to the educational staff. I try to figure it out from context, but sometimes I need to stop and ask exactly whom they're talking about!

So for this column, what does it mean? Most of the time it means Information Technology, but if I get an Instructional Technology question I like (such as the animation question from last week), I'm happy to pretend it's the other meaning!

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