Planning is an essential part of education. As educators, we plan our lessons, unit goals and objectives, what materials are needed, how to differentiate instruction, and much more. Technology use planning creates an outline of goals for what technology will be purchased, how it will be used for instruction, who will be using the technology, why it’s important, and when each phase of the plan will be completed. Why is technology use planning important? Without proper planning it would be almost impossible to successfully grow technology use that reflects current educational trends, instructional methods, and budget restrictions within a school or district. Educators want their students to be learning with the most current and effective technology in the continuously evolving 21st Century, and the only way to make that possible is to plan ahead and revisit that plan on a timely basis.
When creating a technology use plan, reading the National Education Technology Plan is a great place to start. The NETP is a powerful resource with excellent goals and ideas. It presents five main goals and explores each goal in detail. It explains why the goals are important and how to effectively implement them. The document also presents many real examples of effectively using technology in education. Hopefully, state educators would use this document when creating technology plans, as it is a well-researched resource. Keeping our national plans and local plans aligned would help improve our nation’s education goals as a whole.
According to See (1992), technology goals need to be short-term, not long. See (1992) noticed that technology was changing very rapidly, and today, technology is growing even faster. New technology is released or updated constantly so trying to project a technology use plan past one year is unreasonable. However, budget restrictions usually require that long-term goals are set. One cannot expect that new technology be purchased for a whole school or district within one year. Long-term plans would work well as long as the committee is meeting at least once a year to update the technology plan. More often than not, committees write the plan and then do not revisit it until it is time to write the new one. It should be a continuously involving document. Also, by creating a long-term plan it allows the community that the school is dedicated (past one year) to advancing instructional technology to benefit students (Anderson, 1999).
Another interesting point that See (1992) makes in his article is that technology plans should be based on application, not technology. In other words, the plan should start with general or specific goals like “students will be able to create podcasts” and then the committee would decide which technology would be best to complete that goal. This is a very important point especially in the ever-changing world of technology. Starting with a goal allows the committee to decide which technology would be best to purchase rather than selecting technology based on brand and then deciding how to use it. The NETP is a great example of See’s idea. The entire document focuses on educational technology goals and why they are important. It does not specify which specific technology to use. Not citing specific technology is important because all schools have different budget restrictions and may not be able to purchase the same devices but they can still accomplish the same goals.
My experience with technology use planning has been limited as I am a new teacher. I hope to be involved in the process when my district writes their new plan at the end of 2013. My district currently has a 3-year plan in place that is application based. When I started at the district the plan was newly written and I have seen a lot of the goals be completed. For example, one goal was to equip all classrooms with SMART Boards, which as of this past September was completed. Another goal was to continue to replace obsolete technology regularly, and I have seen many older computers be replaced or updated with new software. One area that could use improvement is staff training for using the technology. Even though all the classrooms have SMART boards, some teachers are unfamiliar with all the capabilities of the software. As See (1992) states in his article, “When teachers are aware of the types of technology and applications available we can begin to show them how to integrate technology into the curriculum.”
Anderson, L., & Perry, J. (1999). Technology planning: Recipe for success. Retrieved from: http://www.nctp.com/html/tp_recipe.cfm
See, J. (1992, May). 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). National education technology plan. Washington D.C: Author. Retrieved from: http://www.ed.gov/sites/default/files/netp2010.pdf