Summer is here! For many this is a time to relax and take it easy, but for some of us this is the time to get busy thinking about and planning for the coming school year. With the day-to-day demands of school out of the way, we have the space to start thinking about what technology we want to start implementing – and how we can make those plans a reality.
The First Part of That Planning Process Is Goal Setting
Technology goals must be set in place before purchasing decisions even come into the conversation. Not having school or district goals set in place is like building a house without house plans. All schools/districts should have a technology plan set in place.
Who Should Create the Technology Plan?
The most successful technology endeavors are endorsed and driven by an effective district- or school-wide technology committee. Information on setting up a technology committee can be found in our complete guide on launching technology in your school. Download the free guide from the link below.
When building a technology plan, be sure to involve all the stakeholders in the technology committee for the school/district, including administrators, parents, students, and board of education members. These stakeholders should be leaders who excel in communication skills, planning, and collaborating.
What Should Technology Goals Look Like?
Many states have designated technology plan templates that adhere to state and national goals. Check with your state educational department to see if such a template exists. If it does, use it to build your own.
To begin, do some research to identify school/district technology needs. To make the task easier, consider providing staff with a school/district technology needs assessment.
What Should Be Included in a Technology Plan?
A tech plan should consist of the following:
- An introduction (an overview, committee member names and titles, and vision statement)
- Goals and objectives
- A goal area (example: teaching and learning)
- Objective(s) for that goal area (example: All learners will have engaging and empowering learning experiences both in and out of school that prepare them to be active, creative, knowledgeable, and ethical participants in our globally networked society.)
- Action steps for your objectives (example: Develop a technology skills curriculum matrix with grade-level Guaranteed Technology Experiences.)
- Person(s) responsible for the action step (example: Technology Committee, Library Media Specialist)
- Possible examples of the action step
- Resources that support the action step (example: ISTE's National Educational Technology Standards – NETS)
- An appendix of referenced resources (example: 21st Century Skills document, ISTE documents, assessment tools, surveys, etc.)
- Prior year technology accomplishments
How Do You Use Technology Goals to Direct Purchasing Decisions?
The technology plan should drive what the district sets in place year after year. Keep your larger mission and goals in mind as you continue to plan for the year. Make sure that the plan allows for some flexibility and risk taking as teachers learn new technology and implement it in the classroom. Don’t expect every objective from your plan to get accomplished. Continue to implement, revise, and evaluate the plan, year after year.
Consider presenting the tech plan at a faculty meeting in the beginning of the school year. Encourage teachers to use tech plan language when designing lesson plans. Reward successes within the school building with teachers and administrators who might have initially been reluctant about carrying out the program.
When making technology purchasing decisions, always consider the educational goals and objectives in your plan.
- Make sure your technology purchases are not just a substitution method, instead of something that will transform the way teaching and learning take place.
- Think about the type of content you will find in programs. Make sure the content aligns with your state and national standards.
- What does your plan say about infrastructure? Will the equipment you purchase align with the infrastructure you have in place, or will adjustments need to be made to ensure successful implementation?
- Lastly, how will you evaluate your purchase? Look at the goals of your tech plan and use these goals and action steps to determine how you will evaluate it. Once you have evaluated it, how will you use that information to improve and/or build off of your program?
Be sure to set time aside at the end of the school year for the evaluation process of your plan. Gather feedback about the implementation process based on the mission and goals that were established. Data and best practices should be gathered throughout the school year to support your plan. Decide what needs improvement and use that evaluation feedback to revise your plan and come up with next steps.
What makes this process successful is to repeat it year after year. Technology implementation is an ever-evolving strategy that will need adjustment as changes in your schools dictate. Summer can be the perfect time to focus on planning, without the ring of the school bell.
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