10. Technology Use Planning Overview

Technology use planning is the process of “creating and maintaining a technology-rich educational environment (Andersen, 1996, p. 9)”  It includes a group of interested people looking at the technology a school already has and also what the school needs in the future.  There is much more to planning then looking at computers themselves.   Planners are involved in much research, collaboration, training, and purchasing what is needed to meet the needs and goals of the school.  This takes much time and should continue throughout the year and be re-looked at each year or phase as technology changes and is updated within society.

Technology use planners need to see how the school uses the technology it already has and what needs to be done in order to better use the equipment.  It could be as simple as updating programs, or downloading different applications that can be used in the classroom.  It could also mean training the staff on the technology so they can better use the equipment they already have in their classroom.  We have so many applications at our fingertips, yet do not know about them or how to use them.  Simple, quick training sessions have the ability to change how well we use technology in our schools.  This without purchasing anything yet.

Not only do technology use planning committees need to look at what is already available but they also need to research what is coming up in resent years.  This can be difficult since technology is changing so rapidly.  However, we can get ideas of what is coming by reading articles and reports similar to “2011 Horizon Report.”  Paying attention to different technologies that are coming into education can help make decisions on what needs to be purchased today.  The National Education Technology Plan made it clear that we need to not tinker with technology in education but make “revolutionary transformations (p. 7).”

I agree with John See in his statement, “Technology is changing so fast that it is almost impossible to plan what type of technology will be available for use five years from now (1992).  Although technology is changing rapidly, we continue to use and update programs and equipment for a few years.  Five years is too long, but we can create a 2 to 3 year plan.  By updating equipment and adding applications, we can use a device for a longer period of time.  Planners need to keep their eyes on what changes are coming to see if it is worth the finances it would take to purchase the technology of choice.  Is the device a fad?  Are many companies starting to use the device?  Researching technologies that are used in higher education is another way to plan for the future.  Besides looking at the university level, looking at other high schools and what they use technologically can also help.  There are so many simple adjustments that can be made with technology schools already have, yet do not take advantage of.  During the research it is important to stay within the terms of “The National Education Technology Plan” to can keep the focus on what is needed in education on a national level.  By doing this the school stays in line with the desires of the U.S. Department of Education.

See had a good point in talking about the importance of applications verses technologies.  Schools have spent thousands and thousands of dollars building up computer labs and yet do not take advantage of so many applications that comes with the computers they have purchased.  Part of this happens because we know the importance of computers, yet we do not have the training, time, or qualifications when it comes to what all the computers do.  We work on major programs including documents, spreadsheets, and presentations, yet we don’t even learn what all these programs are capable of.  Computer class needs to go beyond keyboarding and into programs, applications, and tools that will help students throughout their schooling and preparing them for higher education.  This aligns with meeting the goal mentioned in “The National Education Technology Plan” of having 60% of the American population having a 2 year or more degree beyond high school (p. 7).

Keeping “The National Education Technology Plan” as a resource to the technology use planning team helps keep the focus on what is desired on a national level.  This alone has the ability to filter what the school has or wants.  Does the goals of the school meet the standards of the national plan?  Are the future plans aligning with what the nation desires?  Knowing changes can happen quickly, and not wanting to waste finances, time, and energy, it is important to keep watch of “The National Education Technology Plan.”  It is great to go beyond these goals as long as while the school achieves higher expectations, it meets the nations expectations along the way.

I have yet to be a part of a technology use planning team.  We receive emails on what the computer class is wanting to do, but there is not much research that goes into it.  Learning more on programs and applications that are so easily downloaded onto computers we already have, I see a lot of wasted money go into laptops and computers in the schools I have taught in.  We have the equipment but do not have anyone that knows what to do with it beyond the basic skills.  It would be a simple adjustment to have a few training sessions on different programs that are out there and also to see what different teachers are using and doing technologically within the building.  Creating a team, beyond the principal and computer teacher, would help diversify how we use the computers, and what students should learn and experiment on beyond keyboarding skills.  This, however, takes time and energy.  It is important to find willing participants that have a desire to improve the school in a technology fashion.  I can see how important it will be to be a voice within my school building as I continue to learn what is out and available and will meet the needs and desires of our school.

Resources:
Arne Duncan, & Karen Cator. (2010, November). National education technology plan 2010 Executive Summary. U.S. Department of Education Office of Educational Technology. Retrieved from http://www.ed.gov/sites/default/files/netp2010-execsumm.pdf

Dr. Anderson, Larry S. (1996). Guidebook for planning. National Center for Technology Planning. Retrieved from http://www.nctp.com/guidebook.cfm

Johnson, L., Smith, R., Willis, H., Levine, A., and Haywood, K., (2011). The 2011 horizon report.  Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.

See, J. (1992). Developing effective technology plans. The Computing Teacher, 19(8). Retrieved from http://www.nctp.com/html/john_see.cfm

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