I had a great conversation today with a few educators at a school district in my area that is trying to do a lot of great things with technology. These folks are interested in what they can do to make the technology at their school work better for them and their students.
During the conversation, I found myself referring back to one point more times that I thought I would…. The goals of the Technology Plan. This is something that is a requirement for any district that wants their technology to advance past the point on “new and neat.” If you don’t have a plan or a road map, how do you know where you’re supposed to be heading? How do you know if you have achieved what you set out to do?
I am far from an expert in this area, but I have gone through the process to create a technology plan in more than one district. Through mistakes, missteps, and successes, here is what I have learned:
- Include ALL stakeholders. This means, staff, and admin, yes. But don’t forget to include students, parents, and community members too. I would also include someone from Special Education, and a Teacher Assistant. These folks all have different opinions on what the priorities should be. Listen to them, because each of them is a stakeholder in the education of your community’s youth.
- Goals Should be Student-Centered. The students are your product. School is about them. Focus on what you want for your students. Everything else is just a step towards getting your students to that point.
- Technology Comes Second. Too many schools make the mistake of deciding on technology first. I know it might seem counterintuitive, but for your technology plan, you should focus on what you want students to be able to do with the technology. Once you have that, figuring out what technology is best suited for your purposes is the easy part.
- Teachers Need Teachers Too. Simply putting a tool in a teacher’s hand is not going to make them more effective, engaging, or authentic. Plan regular, ongoing, professional development sessions into your tech plan. Make professional development available in a variety of formats (online, blended, face to face, etc) in order to meet the needs of all teachers.
- Evaluation. How are you going to evaluate the technology plan? Figure this out ahead of time. Technology moves super fast, so consider including a yearly review of the plan to revise or update anything that changes. Change isn’t bad, don’t be afraid of it.
There are a ton more things that I could add here, and I probably will over time. Feel free to comment with your own thoughts. I’d love to hear them!