Technology use planning is the process of creating a vision and a mission for what and how technology will be used in your school and then implementing that plan. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD, 2009) stated that “schools need to prepare students to deal with more rapid change than ever before, for jobs that have not yet been created, to use technologies that have not yet been invented and to solve economic and social challenges that we do not yet know will arise” (p. 5). The question is, how do ensure that we are using technology t0 prepare our students for that change? We know that in order to provide the best learning environment possible, “technology and pedagogy must be better integrated” (Christen, 2009, p. 28). A plan needs to be put into place to ensure that technology needs are met. The technology planning model developed by graduate students at the Mississippi State University (1996) outlines a plan well . They describe five phases including: Recruit and Organize Planning Team, Research, Construct Technology Plan, Formalizing the Plan, and Continually Implement, Evaluate, Revise (p. 8). A well designed plan should include motivated staff members who are interested in improving learning and technology. They need to best practice for technology and identify the needs of the school. They need to put a plan in place. The plan needs to be monitored and put into action throughout the school. Finally, the plan needs to be evergreen; it needs to adapt and change according to the needs of the school.
The National Education Technology Plan 2010 would be an excellent place for schools implementing a technology use plan. It would provide the plan with defined goals and tasks that need to be completed. There are five goals as outlined by the National Education Technology Plan which include: Learning, Assessment, Teaching, Infrastructure, and Productivity (p. 10-12). They have outlined actions that need to be carried out in order to achieve these goals. The National Education Technology Plan (2010) also talks about the importance of technology and the preparation of learners for our ever-changing world by stating “Technology will help us execute collaborative teaching strategies combined with professional learning that better prepare and enhance educators’ competencies and expertise over the course of their careers” (p. 3).
Technology plans need to be evergreen. They need to be able adapt to changes occurring in the world of technology and the needs of the school. Three year plans are an appropriate length for planning. Technology does change quickly. However, when planning to purchase software or hardware or budgeting for professional development, schools need to plan where they will spend their money well in advance of one year. Often, school divisions want a plan for expensive items that schools will be purchasing. This helps school division to plan where they may be spending money. Technology plans need to flexible and able to change according to new curriculum and technologies. Teachers need the ability to attend conferences and in-services that come up without sufficient notice. A three-year plan, which can become more general as the plan progresses, provides a structure to work around. It enables school goals to be accomplished. If the plan is less than three years it may not provide the adequate follow through. Short term plans are also short sighted. Often, what looks good today, may not be well suited for the mission and vision of a school.
Technology plans should be based on the needs of the school. They should address what is going to be done in the school. A well-developed technology plan should be able to answer the “why” questions. They should be prepared to explain their need for technology and how it is going to improve the quality of education that the students receive. Schools need to plan with a common vision. Following a technology plan such as the one discussed earlier will identify the needs of the school. The needs will be identified in the vision, mission, and goals.
I have not had the privilege of being involved in planning for technology use in a school. The school division in which I work has a well established plan in place that is monitored by a senior administrator. He receives feedback from coordinators. Our school division has a fairly solid plan in place. They control the expensive technological items that schools need (computers, printers, Internet access, firewalls and other protective measures, software). Most software installed on our computers is determined by the division. They have a user agreement that staff and students must agree to before they are able to use the technology provided by the school. Schools are able to purchase locally determined technology needs (Smartboards, sound systems, and special need devices). I am satisfied with the administration of the technology in our school division.
I am the vice principal of an elementary school. This is my first year in my current school. I am in charge of budgeting. At my school, I have had discussions with my staff regarding school needs. In February, I had a meeting with each teacher on staff. I asked them to identify needs we may have regarding technology. They informed me there is a need to acquire more in-servicing for the Smartboards that we have installed in each room. They also expressed an interest in purchasing sound systems for our classrooms. I do believe a technology plan for my school is beneficial. We have ample technological resources at our school. Each classroom has a pod of four computers with a printer. As I mentioned, we have a Smartboard in each classroom and a computer for each teacher. We have a computer lab of 28 computers. Our library has eight computers. We have 16 teachers and 270 students. My concern is the technology we possess is not being utilized. I feel we are not taking advantage of the opportunities available to us. I feel it is because the teachers in my school have not turned the page on seat work and standing at the front of the room and lecturing. They need to be introduced to constructivist approaches to facilitating learning. They need to be provided with the skills to use new technologies. A technology plan for my school will help solve these issues.
We will be implementing new curriculum this year at our school. This will be an excellent opportunity to help them implement effective uses of technology into their learning plans. Our school is getting a new principal this year. It will be a conversation that I have with her when I have the opportunity to meet her. A technology use plan will be an excellent fit for my school.
Al-Weshail, A. S., Baxter A. L., Cherry, W., Hill, E. W., Jones, C. R., Love, L. T., . . . Woods, J. C. (1996). Guidebook for developing an effective instructional technology plan. Retrieved from http://www.nctp.com/downloads/guidebook.pdf.
Christen, A. (2009). Transforming the classroom for collaborative learning in the 21st century. Techniques, 84(1), 28. Retrieved from http://www.acteonline.org
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). (2010). PISA 2009 results: learning trends: changes in student performance since 2000 (Volume V) doi : 10.1787/9789264091580-en
See, J. 1992. Developing effective technology plans. National Center for Technology Planning. Retrieved from http://www.nctp.com/html/john_see.cfm.