ECM Show # 26: Louis Zulli @lzulli on Improving Tech Support and Teaching STEM #ecmatters

Thirty six year teacher and IT Administrator, Lou Zulli (@lzulli)  is hero. When judging his student work at the Microsoft Innovative Educators Forum in Seattle, his love for students and method of empowering students to solve school network problems while teaching STEM will wow you.

He is the only person I know of who has won in 2 different categories in the Microsoft Innovative Educators Worldwide Competition (2011-Collaboration and Cutting Edge Use of Microsoft Technology for Learning.)  He’s that good and those competitions are tough.

How his methods can save your school money and make you more efficient

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His methods are particularly helpful for all schools because he provides life changing real-world experiences as his students troubleshoot and solve problems on the campus of his school, Lakewood High School in St. Petersburg, Florida, but also because his students are scripting and writing programs that make the school a more efficient place.

He’s literally given a team of students back door entrance into making the school more efficient. They’ve invented new hall pass systems and methods for deploying printers. They are eyes and ears and propose and implement things that make all teachers at his school more efficient.

Problems are the canvas upon which we can paint learning in the hands of a pro like Lou.

Can Teaching IT staffers make schools better?

While he’s been sent to Washington DC to testify before Congress, the model his school has established deserves a closer look. He is the Network Administrator for the “Center for Advanced Technologies” at Lakewood (named one of America’s best high schools by Newsweek)  and this interesting dual role as Teacher and Administrator is a powerful combination that more schools should consider.

One of the top complaints of IT departments is “not knowing what is happening in the classroom.”One of the top complaints that some IT departments have about IT teachers is a “lack of real world experience.” I’ve heard this said countless times.

I think the combination of a teaching IT Administrator can work in many schools and is certainly part of the uniqueness that is putting Lou’s school on the map.

Lou Zulli is humble and helpful and loves kids

The best thing about Lou is his humility and approachability. If you look at his summary on Linked In, you can see a glimpse of who he is. Lou says:

“Please do not feel it necessary to respond to any endorsement requests sent out by LinkedIn. While I appreciate the gesture at no time did I actively solicit these endorsements. As we are all experiencing, they are an effort by LinkedIn to generate traffic. I am not the type of person who will seek out this type of professional resume padding.” Louis Zulli, Jr. Linked in Summary

He’s the real deal. He makes technology easy. He’s always learning. He still loves teaching. We need to pick his brain before he retires. I wish everyone would interview Lou because his story is worth telling. I hope you’ll listen and comment your thoughts about this model. This is the kind of creative thinking we  need today.

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Do you think the student as tech support model can work? Are you doing this on your campus?

Every Classroom Matters is a bi-weekly podcast by Vicki Davis on BAM Radio network where the top educators around the world share what they are doing in their classrooms today. Each show is 10-12 minutes long and designed to stimulate your thinking with best practices and exciting ideas from educators who are doing it. Subscribe.