Technology planning and Effective technology planning…. yes, there is a difference. I often go into schools to find a tech plan that was written 5+ years ago but, hey, “We have a tech plan right”? Not Quite... My first question to these schools is, “How is that plan working for you”? This question is often met with blank stares followed by a sporadic chiming in of explanations such as, “We hope to evaluate it soon, we just don’t have the resources”, or the answer I like to hear, “We need to make a change but where do we start”? The answer is, it starts now.
Effective technology planning is a process, but one that isn’t unobtainable for schools or districts with few resources. Within this digital age, comes a wealth of knowledge at your fingertips through social media such as Twitter and school websites that provide technology plans and assessment procedures. Key leaders who have experience in effective technology planning are often willing to share resources and ideas and enjoy supporting other schools on this journey.
So what is the difference between technology planning and effective technology planning? Effective technology planning begins with a model and must be taken into consideration when writing an effective technology plan:
A Model for Effective Technology Planning includes:
An understanding by all constituents, of why technology plays a critical role in a school’s growth and development.
An understanding by all constituents that effective technology integration requires support in the classroom (technology specialists/coaches/administrators) as well ongoing embedded professional development that doesn’t separate itself from the current mission/vision of the school/district nor from other curricular professional developments.
An understanding by all constituents that on-going assessment is necessary when evaluating a school or district’s effectiveness of technology progress. This includes but is not limited to infrastructure (complete overall assessment of cost and needs), equipment needs/wants, relevant technology integration tools, and the integration of technology into the curriculum.
An understanding by all constituents of what it means to be “Digitally Literate”. Educators (including administrators) must have a common understanding of what effective technology integration looks like across disciplines as well as maintain a level of “digital connectedness” between other educators inside and outside of the school/district (PLN).
Most recently, I set off evaluate a PreK-3 through 12th grade Independent school’s technology plan and write a BYOT
plan that would effectively support the school’s current mission and vision, whilst adding components that would take the school to the next level of technology use. I took the model into place as I started to build a step by step plan to ultimately produce an effective BYOT plan that would be adopted and integrated within the next school year.
From beginning to end I took the following approach:
Complete evaluation of current technology plan including infrastructure, professional development, personal learning plans, student/teacher equipment/hardware, budget, Learning Management System, and software.
Complete evaluation of current technology use to include equipment, assessment procedures and tools, level at which teachers are currently integrating technology, and awareness of current plan and structure.
Evaluated National BYOT plans including implementation procedures. Determined percentage of BYOT schools in the state to demonstrate need of such program.
Met with budgeting and IT team to determine cost of implementation, time needed to upgrade the infrastructure, as well as to determine ongoing structural support to ensure a seamless launch and implementation.
Wrote BYOT plan to include research based information, implementation plan, device suggestions, questions and answers for administrators, teachers, and parents, ongoing professional development plan, responsible use policy, equity plan, assessment/evaluation plan, and a plan to implement Parent University (ongoing professional development for parents)
Distributed BYOT plan to administrative team for ongoing evaluation over 2 months followed by an evaluation by the schools curriculum committee.
With the support of division administrators, I met with every teacher (organized by teams, departments, and ultimately divisions) to review the plan, answer questions, and add to the plan as needed.
Met with the Parent Association to review the plan, answer questions, and add to the plan as needed.
Scheduled an all constituent meeting to review plan, answer questions, and adjust plan as needed.
Developed Parent University to provide front end support and training for parents before beginning BYOT for the 2015-2016 school year.
Provided ongoing Professional Development for teachers and administrators through face to face and online resources.
Developed plan for continual professional development and evaluation to include use of personal learning plans, digital badges, online training, and curriculum and integration assessments.
Launched Parent University Spring 2015 and included complete BYOT plan to all constituents.
Although the planning process was robust, having an effective technology planning model in place and mind, aided in a seamless approach to integrating a new plan into the school’s current culture and structure. The 2015 school year will bring new excitement and challenges to the school, however, having an effective plan in place will not only guide administrators, parents, teachers, and students alike, but help to ensure a seamless transition into the digital age.