BY E.M. FORTIER
“I am of certain convinced that the greatest heroes are those who do their duty in the daily grind of domestic affairs whilst the world whirls as a maddening dreidel.”
― Florence Nightingale
I grew up in a time where class films were viewed on a television set rolled into the classroom on a stand that looked ever close to tipping and the the teachers used overhead projectors illuminated on a screen that was precariously affixed to a nail below the chalkboard – and yes, we had chalkboards. There weren’t white boards in most classrooms and the idea of a touch screen board that would link to a computer was some sort of Back to the Future II based fantasy.
When I started college in the Fall of 1997, email was such a new form of communication that no professor used it as a part of their curriculum and I didn’t log into my email account for close to three months. The reliance on technology seemed to exponentially increase as each year passed. By the time I graduated from law school in 2004, the majority of research and communication was electronic. By the time I did my first felony trial in 2005, the majority of audio and visual evidence was expected to be electronic and easily linked via a USB or laptop.
Now, to say that I was not “tech savvy” would be an understatement. But there was this guy in our office who always came down and fixed whatever I messed up on my computer and taught me how to do any number of technology cased work; who sat through trials for weeks on end to assist in the use of technology in the presentation of cases; who calmed us all down when something went wrong. He was not a lawyer. No one ever congratulated him on that awesome verdict; but the victory was surely partly his in the end.
Today, I am reminded of that IT specialist and how much he meant to all of us as we tiredly rolled into court after our late night preparations and he had already set up everything we needed. Last week the NM Public Education Department declared school buildings would be closed for the remainder of the year but that they were planning the implementation of “remote learning.” In my days as a school child of the 80s and 90s, “remote learning” equated to using the fancy remote controlled TV to watch such shows as Reading Rainbow, Sesame Street, or Mr. Rogers. Here we are, in 2020, and every teacher, principal, and administrator is gearing up to teach using technology broadcast to students wide and far. Behind every teacher, principal, and administrator is an IT specialist setting up new and improved means for students and teachers to connect. When google hangout is not working for that AP class to meet in real time, an IT employee is figuring out how to make that connection. And behind every person capable of working from home is an IT employee constantly securing networks and updating them as needed.
Like the IT guy in my office, the IT personnel who are allowing us all to live and work and learn as normally as possible from afar deserve a huge show of gratitude. And, like most IT co-workers I have ever had, they rarely ask for the glory or the thanks – they just keep working to keep the world running.