Technology Use Planning Overview
Technology use planning incorporates the “big picture” of technology use with the objectives of a district, school, or classroom. Technology use planning answers the question posed by John See in his article Developing Effective Technology Plans, “What applications of technology are available to help our students, staff, and administration work smarter, not harder?” (See 1992). Effective technology use planning examines what the applications can do, rather than what the technology can do. A technology use plan uses identified objectives to create a technological environment in which students can learn and teachers can teach in an interesting, collaborative, accessible, and productive manner. The National Educational Technology Plan is an effective resource to help schools to develop and implement a technology use plan. It provides goals that schools can use to help create a plan that is effective and useful. It also provides, most importantly, reasons why certain goals and plans are needed, as well as why they are effective. Overall, the plan provides technology plan developers with a tool as well as an example with which to develop their own plan that pertains to their own school district.
I enjoyed reading John See’s article about technology use planning, and yes, I do agree with him. I believe that he made some very valid points about technology use planning. He seems to have a very good understanding of the way that most schools operate when it comes to technology planning, and he had very effective arguments as to why those methods would not and were not working. When it comes to applications, I do agree with his points about the applications being what teachers and students need to learn with, not the technology. The technology (computers, tablets, etc.) are the foundation for the actual learning that happens in applications. What he is suggesting is that districts take a proactive, rather than retroactive approach. Plan for technology based on what the school’s needs and objectives are. Start with the defined objectives, and ask the question of what is needed to get there in the most effective manner. Opposed to approaching it from the opposite direction where the schools look at what they have and then consider how they can cram their objectives into that platform. The National Education Technology plan discusses the important process of planning and sets guidelines for educational institutions for planning that include:
- “Be clear about the outcomes we seek.
- Collaborate to redesign structures and processes for effectiveness, efficiency, and flexibility.
- Continually monitor and measure our performance.
- Hold ourselves accountable for progress and results every step of the way” (Atkins 2010).
It is important to choose the correct type of technology that can support the necessary applications, but what it comes down to is the goals, the objectives, of the environment. What do the students, staff and administration need and want to be able to do? Additionally, it is key that the structure is effective and that that occurs through continual monitoring and measuring of the system’s performance. There needs to be progress, but progress is impossible unless the effective guidelines that the National Educational Technology plan discusses are followed. The plan is a key element and resource for schools as they collaborate to develop their own technology use plans. Technology can be used for productivity, management of instruction, and curriculum all at the same time using a basic platform of Mac’s, PC’s, netbooks, or tablets. The applications are what builds those up to allow the elements to work together to allow our staff and students to work smarter, not harder (See 1992). I also think that in order for a school to have the most effective technology, an effective use plan would focus on the short term more than the long term. With my experience with school districts, I do think that there needs to be a long term “plan” in place, but I think that that needs to be a very loose and easy to change plan that provides a direction, but is flexible and always changing. Just like a good teacher is always changing their plan, so to do the technology plan developers need to be willing to change and adjust their plan based on new technology and results of assessments. We need to be constantly looking at how we can change things to create a better learning and teaching environment for our students and staff. It is all about change and adaptation.
As for me personally, I have had limited experience with technology use planning. The school district that I taught for last year was all the bad examples that John See used in his article. It was rigid, and focused on the technology itself rather than what the teachers or the staff could do with it. Most of the computers were dated and slow and frustrating to work with. The school seemed to focus more on teaching what the computers could do than teaching the teachers how to use the technology to use applications to help the students learn and the staff teach more effectively. There was little support and little forward thinking. The administrators in charge of the technology development were also rather dated and inexperienced with how to use technology in the classroom, and I felt that they were ineffective in the teaching the skills they were focusing on. I didn’t attend any professional development classes that helped me to be a better teacher by using applications in my classroom. Their focus was on how to use the technology, not how to utilize the technology and applications to help us become better teachers.
Atkins, D.E., Bennet, J., Brown, J.S., Chopra, A., Dede, C., Fishman, B., … Gomez, L. (November 2010) National Education Technology Plan 2010. Retrieved from http://www.ed.gov/sites/default/files.netp2010.pdf
See, J. (1992). Developing effective technology plans. The Computing Teacher, 19(8). Retrieved from http://www.nctp.com/html/john_see.cfm