Relative Advantage Chart

Relative Advantage Chart

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Technology Use Planning Overview

Technology Use Planning

Technology use planning is often mistakenly defined as computers, and maybe initially years ago that definition was applicable. Times have changed.  In the 21st century, technology use planning must be defined as how to most efficiently integrate all forms of technology into schools and work places.  This takes careful planning and understanding.

Planners must identify goals and objectives of how technology is to be used to benefit the students.  An assessment of technology currently in place must occur.  During this assessment, it must be determined what is obsolete and what is not.  Anything obsolete must be purged.  Once existing technology has been streamlined, then research must be conducted on what to update.  When organizations purchase new technology, they must be careful to procure only those items that will truly be fully utilized in the classroom.

Upon receipt of new technology, training must occur immediately.  All hands must attend.  If only a few select teachers possess the knowledge, what is the point of having technology in the classroom?  Administrators must provide adequate time for all staff members to receive training.

Those on the planning team must also decide the longevity of the plan.  Will it be short term, one to two years, or long term, five years or more?  Some items fit into the category of short term, whereas others are long term.  Regardless of the length of the plan, everyone must realize technology is constantly evolving and plans may have to change.

The final aspect, frequently overlooked is the maintenance and upkeep of technology.  Just providing access is not the answer.  Equipment and software must be maintained on regular maintenance schedules.  The annual budget must allow for unexpected costs for items that are broken or simply wear out.

National Educational Technology Plan 2010

The National Educational Technology Plan 2010 provides administrators, teachers, and technology planners with the most up-to-date definitions of technology.  This document asks questions and gives answers to such things as to what students need to learn, how students learn when using technology and multimedia.  A set of standards was included from the International Society of Technology in Education (ISTE), which I feel will be useful at my school when justifying the increased integration of technology.  These six standards are the framework of the 21st century student. They include:

  •  Creativity and innovation
  • Communication and collaboration
  • Research and information fluency
  • Critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making
  • Digital citizenship
  • Technology operations and concepts

Included in this document is the definition of the Universal Design for Learning (UDL).  This design addresses all students including low-income, minority, English language learners, those with disabilities and early childhood.  The goal of this design is to provide equal access for all students.  Children who are given the opportunity to have access to technology in the classroom in all subject areas, have more of a chance of being successful as they progress through their education and into the workforce.

If we, as educators, truly want our students to be successful, then we must empower them.  This means to provide them access to technology through an authentic learning environment.  States, districts, and private schools must adopt a set of concise standards on how to best achieve this goal.  Taxpayers must also be educated on the importance of technology in the classroom and that it does cost money.  This must be done if the United States is to continue to be competitive internationally.

  John See Comments

The longevity of technology use plans depends on the facility.  I do not think there is a definitive answer to short or long term plans.  When creating a plan, the users must evaluate the goals and objectives.  Planners must ask the users exactly what is the expected outcome.  By dividing a plan into both short and long term plans, I believe expected outcomes may be achieved.

Short term plans involving applications are relevant.  Considering the speed with which applications are changing, it would be very difficult to project goals and objectives long term.   Planners must be knowledgeable and realize updates will be necessary on a frequent basis.  Long term plans are also required.  Certain items such as computers should be able to be placed on a long term plan as long as there is a regular maintenance plan in place.  It must be understood; maintenance is not optional and has to be included in the annual budget.

Upon reflecting on See’s comment which states “effective technology plans focus on applications, not technology?” I have to agree.  Should I have been asked that question two months ago, my answer would have been the opposite.  I did not realize how many applications are readily available with a little bit of research on how to best integrate them.  One example is how to utilize Google drive in the classroom.  I have been able to provide training to our staff, demonstrating ways to use this free application.  What amazes me is that it has been available for two years and we are just now getting onboard.

Technology is obviously an integral part of any use plan.  Unfortunately too often an emphasis is placed upon it and applications are overlooked.  As educators, we must speak with the planning committees, providing them with research on the importance of both technology and applications.  I am in a unique situation where I have an administrator who has an open door policy and is willing to listen.  I do not have all the answers but I am willing to help find solutions.

Technology Use Planning Experiences

My experience with technology use planning in education is somewhat limited.  I have been teaching five years but after spending twenty-two years in the Navy managing large budgets, I listen carefully to conversations regarding budgets within our school.  I know we have a very limited budget for technology.  Several issues truly caught my attention.  One issue I have noticed is we tend to be reactive instead of proactive.  We actually have quite a number of student computers in our school.  The problem is that maintenance seems to not always be considered a top priority.  Managing a large number of student computers is a difficult job, and I do appreciate the work our technology manager does however too often there are technical issues.

Another personal experience I have had was I was using a seriously outdated computer that had become an impossible burden.  Not one to complain, I dealt with it and one day I was told I would be receiving a replacement.  Unfortunately, the replacement is not compatible with several applications I had been using daily.  This was two months ago and I have learned to work without the use of many tools I had become accustomed to.  I find this unfortunate since I firmly believe more research should have been done with the possibility of a higher quality upgrade.  As with anything, hindsight is often 20/20 and I have begun to spend more time talking with the administrator and tech manager.  I am hoping to ask questions and provide possible solutions.  If nothing else, I am getting them to think outside the box.

References

Graduate Students at Mississippi State University.  (2002).  Guidebook for developing an effective instructional technology plan.  Retrieved from:  http://www.nctp.com/downloads/Guidebook35.pdf

See, J.  (1992).  Developing effective technology plans.  The Computing Teacher, Vol. 19, Number 8.  Retrieved from:   http://www.nctp.com/html/john_see.cfm

U.S. Department of Education Office of Educational Technology.  (2010).  National education technology plan.  U.S. Department of Education.  Retrieved from:  http://www.ed.gov/technology/netp-2010/learning-engage-and-empower