Technology use planning offers a path to help institutions establish where they are and provide a road map to help them get to where they want to be technologically. A technology plan is implementing changes continuously to work towards technological goals. Stakeholders, budget, time, and planning are some of the factors that affect technology use planning. There are several other matters to take into consideration, how to find planning resources, how to provide ongoing evaluation, how to assess for the greatest need, and how to divide the responsibilities. In order for technology use planning documents to be effective, attention to details must occur. (Al-Weshail, 1996).
In Al-Weshail’s article, there are five phases of the technology planning model. The first phase is to recruit and organize a planning team that represents all of the stakeholders. The second phase involves researching needs of the organization and identifying how to meet those needs. In the third phase, the technology plan is constructed based on what was learned in the research. This plan should form a vision and mission, and define goals and tasks that will lead the organization to fulfill their vision. The fourth phase is where the planning is formalized. During this phase, the document will be created based on what currently exists, the vision of the organization, and how to achieve the goals. Phase five is to continually implement, evaluate and revise. The plan should be a living document that must be reevaluated and revised since there will be changes in technology, funding, staff support, and other factors that affect the plan.
According to See, technology plans should be short-term, preferably less than one year in length. I agree with See because technology changes very quickly and a plan that goes beyond one year will be ineffective. If the plan is longer than one year, it should be reevaluated annually.
Technology plans should focus on applications rather than technology which will lead to a plan based on what students, staff, and administration can do with technology. This will make the plan output based rather than input based. To do this, start with learning goals and performance expectations and then decide what technology sources can be used to attain that goal. Effective technology plans go beyond enhancing the curriculum. Think about using applications of technology that allow students and staff to work smarter not harder (See, 1996).
Another component of effective technology plans that See points out is defining technology as more than just computers. The plan should include integration of technology into the curriculum. See gives an example with writing. The writing process should to be taught using technology, rather than teaching word processing separately (See, 1996).
Staff development is an important component that must be tied to productive technology plans. Implementation of technology will not occur without sufficient staff awareness and training. Teachers must know what types of technology are available and their limitations before they can move toward the applications that can be utilized to help students become more effective learners. Then, teachers will be able to learn how to use technology to help them teach the curriculum and enhance the use of technology in their classroom. It is essential to an effective plan to accomplish all steps of the staff development in order for teachers to have the help and support needed to use the technology efficiently.
The National Education Technology Plan 2010 can be a useful resource for technology planning because it can be used as a model to create plans on a smaller district or state-wide scale. The main goals of this plan is to raise the amount of college graduates in the nation to 60% of the population having a two-year or four- year degrees and to close the achievement gap so that all students will be successful in college or careers when they graduate from high school. Technology will play a significant role in providing our students engaging, thought provoking experiences that lead students to think critically and excel in school.
The National Education Technology Plan focuses on the following areas: learning, assessment, teaching, infrastructure and productivity. Districts and states will be able to use the National Education Technology Plan as a model in creating their plans. The national plan includes using technology to “enable, motivate and inspire all students, regardless of background, languages, or disabilities, to achieve. It leverages the power of technology to provide personalized learning instead of a one-size-fits-all curriculum, pace of teaching and instructional practices,” (NETP, 2010). I agree that using technology for differentiated instruction is effective and allows learning to be student centered. The focus of this section is on individualized learning and connections with a goal of teaching students to use the internet resources properly in order to be functional in our society.
Technology based assessment is emphasized in the assessments portion of the plan. Assessments can provide data that is used to make decisions and improve education. The goal is to design technology based assessments that will measure problem solving, critical thinking, and collaboration. The purpose of the assessments is to use them to drive instruction.
Connecting educators and ensuring that they have proper data, tools, content, and resources that will enable them to create and assess relevant student learning experiences is the emphasis of the teaching portion of the plan. Teachers will also have access to resources to improve their teaching practices. The goal is to connect educators with each other and enable them to be facilitators of student learning. Connected teaching allows opportunities for collaboration that will provide teachers with access to resources and knowledge.
A comprehensive infrastructure is needed to move education past the traditional model. This will allow students and teachers to have the resources they need no matter where they are. The learning infrastructure is always on. This gives students and educators a new way to learn and share knowledge. With the learning infrastructure, access to people and online communities as well as information is always available.
In order to reform the education system in our country, technology must be used for productivity. Through the use of technology, businesses are continually changing and adjusting for productivity so education should do the same. In order to change educational productivity, basic assumptions need to be rethought. Our educational system is based on out of date assumptions such as seat time, age determined groups, structured separate academic disciplines, classes of equal size, and students working at the same pace. The entire educational system will have to be changed in order to move away from these outdated teaching practices.
I have not had the opportunity to work on a technology use plan but I believe the actions that are recommended in the National Education Technology Plan 2010 will be helpful for school districts to use as a model. There are many visions in the national plan that districts can take into consideration when developing their plan. Since districts will be working on a smaller scale, they will need to narrow their focus to fit the needs of their students.
Al-Weshail, A. S., Baxter, A., Cherry, W., Hill, E. W., Jones, II, C. R., Love, L. T., . . . Woods, J. C. (1996, May 7). Guidebook for developing an effective instructional technology plan: Version 2.0.Mississippi State University. Retrieved from http://www.nctp.com/downloads/guidebook.pdf
See, J. (1992). Developing effective technology plans. The Computing Teacher,19(8). Retrieved from http://www.nctp.com/html/john_see.cfm
U.S. Department of Education Office of Educational Technology. (2010). Transforming American education: Learning powered by technology. Retrieved from http://www.ed.gov/sites/default/files/netp2010.pdf