Planning for Technology
Czubaj, Camilia Anne, Journal of Instructional Psychology
Rising enrollments and rapid developments in technology are the two primary reasons why communities need to renovate existing schools and/or build new ones. The National Association of Secondary School Principals recommends that high school enrollments have a maximum of 600 students. The six symptoms of the intoxicated zone are listed as defined by the Naisbitts. A formula for technology budgeting of 2 to 2, 1 to 1 to 1 is discussed. An assessment rubic is given to assess the status of ongoing technology. A long-range technology plan, "work-in-progress," allows for long term technology assessment. Schools should be centers of communities. This allows the community to use the technology within the schools. Some resources are listed to assist technology planners. A bipartisan bill will ease the cost of technology for some districts.
It is reported that the members of the National Education Association (NEA) estimate that it will cost $322 billion to renovate American schools. This amount is projected to alleviate overcrowding, repair and restore existing conditions, and make schools "Internet friendly." According to Dunne (1/ 22/01), "education technology" will cost $53.7 billion while $268.2 billion is needed for school infrastructures. This amount is triple to the reported $112 billion estimate for the 1995 school repairs and modernization.
Communities around the nation need to renovate existing schools and/or build new ones. Rising enrollments and rapid developments in technology and are the two primary reasons for this need. The majority of schools were built 40 or more years ago, making it difficult to accommodate both the rising enrollments and technological developments. The reported life span of a school is 40 years, after which rapid deterioration occurs. It is estimated that $127 billion is needed to bring the schools in America into "good condition" for the 21st century (U.S. Dept. of Ed., 2000). The purpose of this article is to offer some solutions to problems relating to technology in schools.
Not much was done in the 1900's to address the needs of schools. Since then, costs for infrastructure upgrades have risen substantially. Schools continue to age and deteriorate. The average American school is 42 years old with almost a third of America's schools more than 50 years old. In a 1999 Department of Education report, "The Baby Boom Echo Continues," it was forecasted that school enrollment would increase by 4.7 million in both public and private schools to a record of 54.2 million students (Dunne, 1/22/01). Educators are not only attempting to reduce class sizes, but research indicates that schools with enrollments exceeding 800 can be detrimental to the learning process. Smaller schools encourage communities to develop "smart growth policies" leading to better neighborhoods and more livable communities" (U.S. Dept of Ed., 2000).
When renovating old schools and constructing new schools, the size requirements need to be considered. Educational experts (not named) believe that "super-sized schools" hinder both the social and academic success of students. School psychologists (also not named) suggest that administrators can help control school violence in smaller school settings. The National Association of Secondary School Principals recommends that high schools have an enrollment of 600 maximum. In contrast to this recommendation, there are 71% of children attending schools with enrollments of 1,000 or more students (Dunne, 1/22/01). These enrollment issues must be taken into consideration when planning for technology in schools.
Technology, the second primary reason, for the need to renovate and build new schools is addressed in the book, High Tech-High Touch. In the audio-tape used for this article, the authors, John and Nanna Naisbitt, claimed to examine the positive and negative impacts that technology is having today in their book. In their interview, they stated that our society accepts violence as normal; they predicted that kids would bomb schools. This has become a reality today. They believe that the electronic games are lethal and poison the students. The games train and reward students to harm people. Because of this, school playgrounds are becoming battlefields. They stated that a"Military Ninetendo Complex" exists. This complex joins the military with the entertainment industry to train soldiers to be most effective killers and to give children a play thing. That plaything is the electronic game, "Doom." This game is used in military training and is a popular game for children. The majority of adults, 95%, did not know about "Doom." Conversely, 75% of children did. The Naisbitts believe behavioral changes are occurring because of this complex: children are killing children (2000). The behavioral changes are occurring because we are living in a technology intoxicated zone. According to the Naibitts (2000), there are six symptoms to this zone:
* We savor quick fix from religion to nutrition.
* We hear and worship technology.
* We blur distinction between real and fake.
* We accept violence as normal.
* We love technology as toys.
* We live our lives distant and distracted.
The Naisbitts (2000) feel that we are rushing to use technology in classrooms. However, we must consider first is how are computers going to help children learn. Initially, computers were used for memory rehearsal. Now, with spell check and grammar check, students will not be learning the mechanics of our language. Just as with calculators, students don't know how to multiply. In addition to this change in learning comes the fact that the technology that students are learning on is outdated. This occurs because schools are not profitable; they cannot keep up with the costs of technology development as business can. We must think about our relationship with technology. That relationship, according to the Naisbitts, should be media literacy (Naisbitt, 2000). The Naisbitts did not elaborate on the media literacy relationship. One must question as to which media they are referring to and why just one media. There is much more than just media literacy involved with using computers in the classroom. In addition to media(s) literacy, there is collaborative learning, information retrieval, producing of documents, procurement of documents, and socialization to name a few. In order to implement technology into classrooms successfully, regardless of the relationship, planning should precede purchasing, and training should precede implementation. Too few administrators plan, and too few teachers are adequately trained. There are only 3% of classrooms that have integrated technology effectively, and 59% use outdated technologies (Jukes, 1998). The focus has been to acquire technology, not to use it effectively. This is due to problems with vision, leadership, curricula, instructional strategies, and management implementation strategies. Jukes, a technology consultant, has spent $65 million for purchasing 30,000 workstations and 800 networks.
Hardware has been 25-30% of the cost. He states that budget considerations for technology should be 2 to 2, 1 to 1 to 1. His formula driven planning is for every $2.00 spent on hardware, spend $2.00 on staff development, $1.00 on software, $1.00 on facilities, and $1.00 on technical support. Although the following percentages total 105%, the budget should be composed of the following approximate percentages: hardware 30%, staff 30%, software 15%, facilities 15% and technical support 15%. If the focus is only on hardware, technology will fail (Jukes, 1998).
Once technology has been implemented, the assessment of technology should be ongoing. The document entitled "Planning for Success -- Where's Your Organization At?" is a five page technology assessment rubric designed as an array. This rubric allows individuals who are the technology planners to assess the current technology status of their schools. The left column of the rubric lists the components that are being assessed: planning, funding, policies and procedures, staff development, curriculum integration, access, security, standards, evaluation, and technology audit. Beneath each component is a listing of the elements that comprise the components. Across the top of the rubric are the numeric assessment scores. The scores begin with the number four and descend to number one. Each square of the array contains a conditional statement regarding the components. The planners are instructed to highlight the portions of the rubric which best describe their school or district. After the planners have finished highlighting all sections of the rubric that pertain to their schools, the numbers above their highlighed squares are totaled. This total is then compared to an evaluative statement that indicates how well technology is implemented within their schools. The first component of the rubric is as follows:
Components 4 3 Planning Staff, community, & students A technology plan Are informed about & exists & efforts are implementing components of being made to build the tech plan. staff, student, & broader community awareness. Components 2 1 Planning A technology plan No technology plan being developed with exists. staff & community input. (Jukes & McCain, 1998)
The Rockland Central School District in Garnerville, New York, developed a long-range technology plan they consider a "work-in-progress." This document is revised regularly and is kept brief. This allows for flexibility. The document is designed as a grid. As each year's technology plans are recorded, the grid then slides to the left for the next year. The district's technology committee revises it yearly and considers it to be a "draft" (Fries & Monahan, 1998). Across the top of the document are the school years in sequential order. Down the left side of the document are the five categories 0f technology planning that the committee considers: infrastructure, hardware, communication, staff development, and administration. An example of their entries for the category of infrastructure is as follows:
September 1997- September 1998- June 1998 June 1999 Infrastructure Expand wiring to one Continue expansion of additional grade. wiring Of elementary buildings Begin expansion of middle Expand wiring so access is School (MS) wiring to provided to all teams. bring classroom. Develop high school (HS) Carry on with HS wiring wiring plan. Begin plan. implementation of plan. Involves HS Tech. Comm. Correct existing network problems. September 1999- June 2002 Infrastructure Complete wiring for all elementary classroom. Complete MS wiring so all classroom have access. Complete implem. of HS wiring. (Fries & Monahan, 1998)
Centers of Communities
Current research suggests that classroom configurations need to be varied for optimum learning with collaborative problem solving, personalization, and technology. Students achieve best when the community values lifelong learning. For lifelong learning, schools need to be centers for the community. They need to be accessible during school hours, nights, and weekends. Community-based learning environments are being developed through educator-architect collaborations. One innovative approach extends the stand-alone school so that the entire community is serviced. Senior citizens will be able to utilize the gym and health facilities while immigrants will be able to attend evening English classes. The same holds true for technology. Community members can use the technology at the school and enhance or update their skills with lifelong learning programs and classes.
A group of educators, facilities planners, architects, government leaders and interested citizens developed six design principles for schools as centers of communities:
* Enhance teaching and learning and accommodate the needs of all learners.
* Serve as centers of the community.
* Result from a planning/design process involving all stakeholders.
* Provide for health, safety, and security.
* Make effective use of all available resources.
* Allow for flexibility and adaptability to changing needs (U. S. Dept. of Ed., 2000).
Ten innovative school designs are highlighted in the booklet, Schools as center of community: a citizen's guide for planning and design. One school is in partnership with a museum. Another design renovated an abandoned four-story school that was constructed in 1898 to a Transition School full of science labs and up-to-date computer and Internet technology. The planning process consists of two parts: five steps for getting started and getting organized, and seven steps for developing and implementing a facilities master plan. The steps for getting started and organized are:
* Initiating the planning process;
* Funding the planning process;
* Identifying a facilitator to oversee the planning process;
* Putting together a core planning team; and
* Organizing the steering committee.
The steps for developing and implementing a facilities master plan are:
* Building common understandings, shared beliefs, and a collective vision;
* Determining educational needs;
* Identifying resources;
* Developing steering committee recommendations;
* Communicating with the larger community;
* Creating the master plan; and
* Implementing the master plan (U.S. Dept. of Ed., 2000).
There are many resource agencies and organizations that can be contacted for assistance in various aspects of technology planning. Some of them can help in the planning processes, hiring an architect, designing facilities, and partnering with area wildlife. A listing of resources and organizations is contained in the booklet, Schools as Centers of Community: A Citizen's Guide for Planning and Design (U.S. Dept. of Ed., 2000).
In addition to resources and organizations, there are many publications available that are written for technological planners. The Council of Educational Facility Planners International's (CEFPI) web site (2/03/ 01) offers seven books that can be purchased on-line: Designing Places for Learning, The Guide for Planning Educational Facilities, The CEFPI Consultants Directory, The Guide for School Facility Appraisal, Preparing Your School Building for Technology -- Workshop Proceedings, Lessons Learned, The Educational Facility Planner, School Building Renovation & Student Performance Study.
Lastly, the CEFPI hosts an annual technology conference. They encourage school administrators, district representatives, technology coordinators, educational facility planners, architects, engineers, maintenance and operations professionals and others responsible for planning, designing and implementing technology in schools to attend (2/ 3/01). They claim that participants will:
* Discuss the impact of technology on education
* Learn how to plan at the district and building level
* Discover the facility implications of distance education
* Define what works for your instructional space
* Have specific questions answered by technology experts
* Sort through the mechanics of technology infrastructure: power, HVAC, network requirements, cables, and conduit
* Understand the intricacies of voice, video, data and multi-media networks
* Learn to calculate the cost of implementing your educational technology system and prepare a bid package
* Attend spotlight sessions on libraries, science labs, distance delivery and staff development
* Investigate technology trends, open new doors, and position your school for the future
* Learn the `nuts and bolts' of Preparing Your School Building for Technology ! (2/3/01)
The brochure outlining this year's conference can be downloaded from their web site.
The funding for technology can be problematic for school districts. Their budgets may not allow for the acquisition of technology or the ongoing updates that are needed due to technological developments. There is current bipartisan legislation, H.R. 4094, which will provide $24.8 billion to build and modernize up to 6,000 schools. This Bipartisan Construction Bill allows schools to borrow on interest-free, 1 S-year bonds. The bonds are tax credit bonds in which the federal government will pay the interest to the bond holders in a tax credit, relieving the community of this expense. With the current school construction bonds, the community must repay both the principal and the tax-exempt interest over the life of the bonds (U.S. Dept. of Ed., 2000). However, the bill lost momentum last March. Sponsors of the bill wanted to use it as an amendment to the Education Savings Account Bill (ESAB). The House leadership pulled the ESAB. This left no other bill to attach the construction bill (Dunne, 1/22/01).
Rising enrollments and rapid developments in technology are the two primary reasons that communities across the nation are in need of building new schools and/or renovating existing ones. Since educators recommend school enrollments do not exceed 600, there is a need to build new schools to accommodate the increase in enrollments. Technology is the second primary reason that communities need to upgrade their facilities. The guide from the U. S. Department of Education offers individuals a foundation on which communities can begin the processes of upgrading their educational facilities. It lists and elaborates on the five steps to getting started and organized. The seven steps for developing and implementing a facilities master plan are equally addressed. Innovative school designs are featured. One of these designs offers students high tech schooling in a building that is over 100 years old. Partnerships with museums and businesses offer the use of other buildings for schools as well as the use of their collections, equipment, and technology.
There are several issues that should be considered in the planning process:
* Since schools should be centers of the community, the needs of the entire community should be considered.
* The relationship with technology must be taken into consideration.
* A budgeting formula of 2 for 2, 1 for 1 for 1 is helpful for allocation of funds.
* A "work-in-progress" technology planning document allows for the continual revisions that are necessary due to the rapid development of technologies.
* To access the technological status of schools, an assessment rubric can be used.
There are many resources available for technological planners: organizations, booklets, web sites, books, and conferences. Lastly, to assist with the funding needed for technology, a bipartisan bill allowing $24.8 billion in interest free bonds for school upgrades awaits introduction and approval. However, since it is estimated that it will cost $322 billion to renovate American schools, this bill will merely cover a fraction of the costs if and when it is approved. Communities will have to look for other resources to fund their needs for technology.
CEFPI annual technology conference. (2/3/ 01). Council of Educational Facility Planners International. [On-line]. http://www.cefpi.com/ events/tech.html\
Designing places for learning. (2/3/01). Council of Educational Facility Planners International. [On-line]. http://www.cefpi.com/ pubs.html
Dunne, D. W. (1/22/01). NEA calls for modernizing nation's schools. Education World. [On-line].wysiwyg://9/http:// www.educationworld.com/a_issues/ issues078.shtml
Fries, B. & Monahan, B. (1998, January-February). School district technology planning in an era of rapid change. Educational Technology, 38 (1), 60-62.
Jukes, I. (Speaker). (1998). The audio journal for educational leaders: Technology report. (Cassette Recording Vol. 7, #3). Prospect Hgts, IL: Audio Education, Inc.
Jukes, I. & McCain, T. (11/9/98) Planning for success-Where's your organization at? [On-line], http://www.audioed.com/egi-local/ dis.egi?JID=J0006&EID=E0004
Modernizing America's schools-three-fourths of school buildings need repair. (2000, August). U.S. Department of Education Community Update, 79, 1, 3.
Naisbitt, J. & N. (Speakers). (2000). An interview with John and Nana Naisbitt about the book High Tech-High Touch. (Cassette Recording Vol. 8, #5). Prospect Hgts, IL: Audio Education, Inc.
U.S. Department of Education. (2000). Schools as centers of community: A citizen's guide for planning and design. Jessup, MD: Editorial Publications Center.
Camilia Anne Czubaj, Ed.S., CEO, Emedia Technologies.
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Dr. Camilia Anne Czubaj, 3796 N. Tillotson, Suite 140, Muncie, Indiana 47304…
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Publication information: Article title: Planning for Technology. Contributors: Czubaj, Camilia Anne - Author. Journal title: Journal of Instructional Psychology. Volume: 29. Issue: 1 Publication date: March 2002. Page number: 15+. © 2009 George Uhlig Publisher. COPYRIGHT 2002 Gale Group.
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