My three most critical discoveries were:
I'll be honest that the first few weeks of this course I was a little lost and confused. Like most teachers, I had never heard of Enterprise Architecture and had a hard time wrapping my head around what it all meant. Our book used allusions to architecture of a home, which were very helpful, and eventually I understood it as a way to approach education organizations from a structured perspective. Instead of departments working in isolation, departments work together for efficiency of the whole organization. Rather than creating new systems and connections as they come, EA aims to set up standards and protocols for how things operate, in order to keep things organized. This kind of system can truly help a school or district save time and money, and work at the highest efficiency.
This video still really helps me understand the question "Why EA?"
One of my most critical discoveries was seeing education from a business perspective. My experience in education has always been within the classroom as a TA and then a teacher. The first few years are all lesson plans, teaching and learning strategies, and making the classroom efficient. In recent years I have started to deal with district leadership more, on committees and such, and seen the massive effort that goes on behind the scenes of schools, to make sure everything runs smoothly. Trying to relate this “enterprise” language to education was challenging at first, but many of the same departments and relationships exists, so it became obvious the education is definitely a business and Enterprise Architecture is absolutely useful.
3. EA provides structure and flexibility
The video above provides a great visual to how EA provides structure and organizes that “hairball” operation that districts and schools experience, into a cleaner, more structured operation. With the development of Big Data, schools can easily fall into a disorganized state. especially with transitions like moving to digital records, cloud storage, and/or approaching online learning. Enterprise Architecture forces a close study of the district or school, and most importantly documentation of the current state, and through that process a structure is built from which to operate under.
Although it is a “structure”, and Enterprise Architecture is not rigid. By including in the EA process a definition of the “Future State”, education organizations can continue to work towards goals and adjust for any changes in the expectations of education, such as this new Common Core approach. Frequent reviewing and updating of the EA is vital to its efficacy, and in that sense it also provides flexibility to education.
How will the learning you have gained serve you in your role as an educational technology leader?
From my Ed Tech leader lens, EA can help streamline processes and applications. THe relationships defined by EA help applications and devices work together with multiple departments and stakeholders. EA can help Ed Tech leaders provide the best services to their schools and districts.
From my teacher lens I see it as the ultimate collaborative process. With the adoption of Common Core, collaboration has been a huge push in education. Enterprise Architecture provides that collaboration at an organizational level, and allows leaders to set up systems and set procedures for operating together, rather than in isolation.