Technology Planning with Online Resources

Article excerpt

Most people agree that technology plans are vital to setting a c]ear direction for the use of technology in schools. A good plan articulates your district's educational vision, reviews the present state of technology in your schools, presents a guiding framework for using technology effectively, describes specific implementation plans, and outlines procedures to measure and evaluate the success of your program.

However, preparing such a document is a gigantic task, and most schools begin without sufficient planning resources. As a result, it is easy to repeat mistakes made by others and end up with a technology plan that is of limited use.

Getting Organized

Strategic technology planning is best done by a district wide steering committee that draws on the experiences of educators involved in grassroots technology-based activities, and on the community at large. Teacher and parent participation are therefore essential in every phase of determining where the district will go, how it will get there, and how it will measure its progress. Think requires taking the right planning steps, but also avoiding pitfalls such as failing to demonstrate how the technology plan will enhance the general education goals of your school system.

Basic Technology Planning Steps

These basic steps will get your technology planning process off to a positive beginning: * Start with your vision. Prepare a summary list of districtwide educational goals. Also indicate the specific teaching strategies that you want to foster - for instance, cooperative learning, process-centered teaching, heterogeneous grouping, or portfolio assessments. * Assess the present state of technology in your school system. Inventory the hardware and software resources already in place. Assess how - and how much - they are used, and discuss general feelings about technology among teachers, students, and parents. * Design your implementation procedures. Map out how using technology will help your school or district reach educational goals by writing specific technology objectives - such as "each student will have opportunities to send and receive electronic mail" - as well as achievable implementation objectives that address the present, the neDr future, and the more distant future. * Build in flexibility. Balance centralized planning with support for decentralized technology implementation. For example, teachers in one school may want additional classroom computers, whereas those in another school may opt for shared multimedia workstations. …

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