Magazine article MultiMedia Schools

About Face! Technology Planning Upside Down, Inside out, and Standing on Your Head

Magazine article MultiMedia Schools

About Face! Technology Planning Upside Down, Inside out, and Standing on Your Head

Article excerpt

I have told many people that planners should strive to include every conceivable idea in their plans . ...

In the previous column, you and I agreed to dive into some areas of technology planning and implementation that were both exhilarating and thought-provoking. The time has come, then, for us to do just that!

I encourage you to strap yourself in, hang on, and think deeply along with me as we "stare down" one of the sacred cows in our profession-technology planning. It is, after all, due time for us all to dust off our time-worn opinions of this concept. We simply must hold our beliefs up to the light of scrutiny to see if they still have the same merit they did when we first adopted those notions. We ask ourselves, "Are those ideas and philosophies still meritorious-or are they merely time-worn?"

I pledge that I will join you in this wholesome, healthy self-examination. This column will be a revelation of my fresh beliefs about planning. I suspect that some of you will find my statements shocking, even marginally heretical. Reflecting upon conversations I have had with many of you, though, I am comforted to know that it still is okay for a person to change his/her mind.

So, if you change your mind in the process of our time together here, know that you will have earned membership in a growing body of "Thinkfesters" who face, accept, and adopt change as it comes to us. We don't change just for the sake of change, however. Rather, we promote the ability to change when fresh facts and conditions are applied to an area where tradition tempts us to allow the status quo to form a crust of bland, complacent acceptance around principles we hold dear.

Old Wine in New Bottles

I can recall seeing one particular book in my father's library. He had many books-not a proliferation of Junk" or ordinary books; rather, he had invested in books that were of great value. One specific book, though, that caught my attention and forced me to think deeply about the title, not to mention its contents, was Old Wine in New Bottles by Lynn Copeland.

The impact of this book was that old ideas can find new life. There can be a resurrection of notions that have faced endangerment from "critique drought."

It is time to share with you my old wine (technology planning philosophy) as it has found a new bottle (planning model). I hope you savor its taste, but I caution you. This may take some getting used to.

What Once Was...

From the first days in 1990 when I began to focus intently upon technology planning as a concept, a theory, a practice, a process, I developed a growing evangelism for the fact that planning is a complex issue, and that education leaders must determine to immerse themselves in this complexity if they are to realize the maximum benefits of the process. The reason? If a technology plan (document) is an accurate reflection of the school, its philosophy, and its intended actions, then the plan must contain as many components as possible.

I have told many people that planners should strive to include every conceivable idea in their plans, especially if there is the slightest chance that individuals who read this written technology plan will consider it a blueprint for action. It's like this is their one chance to get everything they want catalogued in one place, just in case any questions are asked or any opportunities for expansion come their way.

One result of this is that many schools developed plans that were lengthy and extremely detailed. I recall seeing one technology plan from a school in a major city that took up nine 3-inch notebooks! I remember being impressed. I wonder, though, if I would have been so impressed had I opened the plan and tried to make sense of it. Sheer volume, I have learned, does not equate to high quality.

This concept of being quite specific is not entirely fault-ridden. I continue to believe that all those facts I used to promote so adamantly remain true. …

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