Technology is evolving exponentially during the 21st century. In order for school districts to keep pace, they must plan technology use with a time horizon of 2-3 years. Technology use planning means school districts need to plan for IT needs (such as infrastructure and hardware) as well as technology assessment practices, professional development, how to infuse technology into core content and how to increase student engagement using technology. Technology use planning leads to better educated students who contribute more to our community, city, state, nation and world.
One powerful resource states may use for technology use planning is the National Educational Technology Plan 2010. “The National Education Technology Plan, Transforming American Education: Learning Powered by Technology, calls for applying the advanced technologies used in our daily personal and professional lives to our entire education system to improve student learning, accelerate and scale up the adoption of effective practices, and use data and information for continuous improvement.”(U.S. Department of Education)
This resource is essential because it gives states a template to share with their schools districts ensuring they are meeting the needs of the students. For example, the state of Arizona took the template created by the Department of Education and modified it to fit the needs of AZ. Each school district is required to submit their technology plan to the state every 3 years based on the 5 areas in the national plan.
Over the last three months I have been meeting with our district technology planning team consisting of teachers, IT directors, curriculum technology coordinators, community members and administrators to write our new three year technology plan. The plan is due to the state at the end of April. We have spent over 30 hours collaborating and forming our technology use plan. My four counterparts and I will present the technology use plan to the school board for approval on April 24th and then it will be submitted to the state. Here is a link to a draft of the technology plan: https://sites.google.com/a/cfsd16.org/cti-quick-notes/technology-plan-2012-2015
While the state of Arizona requires a new technology plan every three years, a Technology Integration Specialist for the Minnesota Department of Education named John See wrote an article on technology use planning in 1992. In it, See suggested that school districts may want to plan technology use for shorter time periods such as 1 year versus 5 years because of the rapidly changing state of technology. He also suggested that we may want to use phases instead of years. While technology is changing rapidly, technology use plans need stability in order to be effective. Hence the reason a 3 year plan with multiple phases is has been highly effective for my school district.
In the same article from 1992, Developing Effective Technology Plans, Mr. See commented that, “effective technology plans focus on applications, not technology.” While we do need to focus quite a bit on applications and how to effectively use them in the classroom, not planning for the technology hardware is dangerous. Hardware and infrastructure are expensive. For example, planning for wireless connections in every classroom takes time and money. Mr. See didn’t incorporate this with his technology planning simply due to when he wrote the original article, things like wireless just weren’t around at that time. In today’s world technology (hardware) needs to be one of the 5 main focus areas of a technology use plan.
The National Education Technology plan is all encompassing. School districts and states using this plan as a template will keep up with infrastructure, assessment, professional development, core content and student engagement ensuring our students are ready for today’s world.
Hunt, G. (n.d.). Technology Plan 2012-2015 – CTI Quick Notes. Retrieved April 15, 2012, from https://sites.google.com/a/cfsd16.org/cti-quick-notes/technology-plan-2012-2015
National Center for Technology Planning. (n.d.). Retrieved April 16, 2012, from http://www.nctp.com/tech_plan_links.cfm
National Center for Technology Planning. (n.d.). Retrieved April 16, 2012, from http://www.nctp.com/html/john_see.cfm
National Education Technology Plan 2010 | U.S. Department of Education. (n.d.). Retrieved April 16, 2012, from http://www.ed.gov/technology/netp-2010