Technology Use Planning Overview
Technology use planning is the process of creating a plan for how a school, district, or larger entity will integrate the use of technology into the daily life of the schools, as well as the final written document that records that plan. It includes the acquisition and upkeep of hardware and software. But, that is not all it is. An effective technology use plan includes how that technology will be used in the classroom, and how teachers, students, and administrators will be trained in the most effective use of the technology they have available.
The National Education Technology Plan 2010 (NETP 2010) can be a powerful guiding document in the area of technology use planning. It provides the framework for what areas of education can be improved by the use of technology, and how educators and policymakers can go about making those improvements. By using a document like the NETP 2010, teachers, administrators, and state-wide policymakers can have a blueprint for what areas they should focus on. The NETP 2010 has five areas of emphasis, but a couple of them are key areas that affect a classroom teacher.
One area that I think is important is in the area of assessment. The report puts the goal of assessment to be to “measure what matters.” It can be very time-consuming to do all the progress monitoring that good teaching requires. A computer can grade a test or quiz in real-time, and then that information can be used to adjust the teaching, instead of waiting until the end of a lesson or unit to find out what was learned. The report says, “For this to work, relevant data must be made available to the right people at the right time and in the right form.” Accomplishing this goal would go a long way in transforming state-mandated tests from not just a stress-inducing requirement, but an actual tool that can be used in the classroom.
The overarching goal of the NETP 2010 for teachers is to enable connected teaching. If teachers are able to connect with other professionals, they are able to learn and share best practices. As the report states, “The technology that enables connected teaching is available now, but not all the conditions necessary to leverage it are.” Teachers need to be trained in what is possible and how connected teaching can help them to be better teachers. Unfortunately, not all teachers are interested in learning that type of thing, but the more we can make the expectation be that teachers are a group of connected people, working with and teaching and learning from other educators all over the country and world, the sooner we will reach the goal of having connected teachers.
Other areas of the report deal with providing the infrastructure necessary to use technology effectively. These areas, including the use of 1-to-1 technology called for in the report, are beyond the scope of a teacher to implement successfully. In this regard, something like the NETP 2010, provided by the federal Department of Education, can serve as a siren-call to policymakers and administrators of not just what is possible, but of the necessity of changes.
Technology plans can also be short- or long-term plans. An example of a short-term plan is that my school is buying Deep Freeze for our computers this summer. An example of a long-term plan is that we would like to have tablet computers for students, but it won’t happen for at least a couple of years. John See, in his article Developing Effective Technology Plans, argues that technology plans must be short-term. His reasoning is that since technology is changing so fast, we do not know what we will want five years down the road. I agree with See in that regard. However, I think that there is a place for long-range technology planning. I teach at a small charter school. There is no way we will have the budget in any given year to buy the technology that would help us to be more effective educators. I think a long-range plan is needed so that the budget and time commitments are able to be made, and savings are able to be made to make larger purchases possible.
There is a danger that what you are saving for may not be the best choice when the time comes to make a purchase, but that is when people need to be flexible enough and trusted enough to be able to adapt to changing conditions.
See also says that, “Effective technology plans focus on applications, not technology.” His point is that we need to plan for what we are going use the technology for, not just buy hardware or software without first having an end result in mind. I agree completely with See in this regard. Our goal should be to use technology as a tool in improving learning, not just to have technology in the classroom. We must have a clear vision of what we want to accomplish before we will know what tools will allow us to reach our goals.
I am just starting my path down the trail of technology use planning, since I am still a relatively new teacher. I can remember seeing the giant laser discs when I was in school, which we only watched a few times. Who knows how much money was spent to get the latest gadget then, when it was never really used effectively, at least at my school. I think that as we move forward in planning the acquisition and use of technology in our schools, we need to keep our focus on what the end result will be, and what tools will allow teachers and students to be successful.
List of Sources
Al-Weshail, A., Baxter, A., Cherry, W., Hill, E., Jones II, C., Love, L. T., Montgomery, F., … Woods, J. (1996). Guidebook for developing an effective instructional technology plan (Version 2.0.). Mississippi State University. Retrieved from http://www.nctp.com/downloads/guidebook.pdf
Anderson, L. (1999). Technology planning: It’s more than computers. National Center for Technology Planning. Retrieved from http://www.nctp.com/articles/tpmore.pdf
See, J. (1992). Developing effective technology plans. National Center for Technology Planning. Retrieved from http://www.nctp.com/html/john_see.cfm
Transforming American education: Learning powered by technology. (2010). Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Technology. Retrieved from http://www.ed.gov/technology/netp-2010.
This assignment demonstrates experience or knowledge in the following AECT areas:
STANDARD 3 UTILIZATION Candidates demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to use processes and resources for learning by applying principles and theories of media utilization, diffusion, implementation, and policy-making.
3.4 Policies and Regulations Policies and regulations are the rules and actions of society (or its surrogates) that affect the diffusion and use of Instructional Technology.
This project about formulating the policies and regulations that are involved in creating a technology use plan.
5.4 Long-Range Planning Long-range planning that focuses on the organization as a whole is strategic planning….Long-range is usually defined as a future period of about three to five years or longer. During strategic planning, managers are trying to decide in the present what must be done to ensure organizational success in the future.
This assignment showed evidence of long-term planning by describing items that are important in the area of technology planning. It also shows critical thinking in the area of resource management by demonstrating the thought process of procuring materials and writing a technology plan.