Mr. Robinson: The New Face of Technology at GFA

[NOTE: This content was provided by the Fairchester Student Press Association and produced by the Beachside Press]

 If you’ve had a problem with your Mac this year, you may have noticed that the response is no longer, “We’ll re-image it.”  This year, Mr. Robinson took the role of Director of Technology at GFA, and implemented many changes designed to help students.

Before taking the position here, Mr. Robinson was the Director of Technology at both The Siena School in Maryland and The Linsly School in West Virginia.  At both these schools, Mr. Robinson built the technology infrastructure from the ground-up, so he says it was a different experience for him to come to a school with already established policies and practices.  He has also worked as a computer science teacher the American School in England and at Loomis Chaffee.  He has also been a fencing coach and is currently working on his PhD in technology.  Mr. Robinson says the transition to his new position has been “great” and that he finds everyone at GFA “friendly” and kind.

Greens Farms Academy. Photograph by Matt Hintsa.

Greens Farms Academy. Photograph by Matt Hintsa.

He has already made many changes to tech department practices, including ending ‘imaging’ on Mac computers and switching to the user-friendly Jamf client (Self-Service).  He is still working to find an imaging alternative for Windows computers.  He says he is trying to shift the department to have more of a “customer service focus”, though he says they are still trying to develop a balance between this and keeping the school network safe.

In addition, Mr. Robinson has started teaching technology classes at GFA.  This year, he is teaching Game Design and working with 2 students on an independent study in iOS (iPhone/iPad) Programming.  Mr. Robinson comes across as a fun and dynamic teacher, describing the way he structures his Game Design class as a game itself, using a points system for grading.  Every other Friday, he also treats his class to a day of game-playing, with the understanding that they must write a review of the game over the weekend.

This year, the school is experimenting with the implementation of Haiku as a supplement to First Class, and Mr. Robinson is leading the effort to determining the viability of this option.  He has also purchased three 3D printers and a 3D scanner for teachers to integrate into their curriculum in the future.  The printers have already been used by Latin students for projects and by Lower School students to help them learn about gardening.

Mr. Robinson says that he is focused now on removing any preconceptions about the tech department that may have grown throughout previous years.  To do this, he is ending unpopular practices such as imaging, making policies transparent so that students can understand why things are done a certain way, and implementing a technology committee to give teachers, faculty, and students input into the future of technology at GFA.  With Mr. Robinson at the helm, we look forward to having GFA at the forefront of computer education and technology use and having a fair and reasonable technology office.

— Jack Gartland, Staff Writer at the Beachside Press

Posted by on October 23, 2013. Filed under FSPA. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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