What technologies do we current have for our educators to use? What technologies are available, out there, for our educators? With what we have, how many educators are using the technologies already accessible? How much money is available? When do we need to implement? What support do we have?
All these questions are what is asked and then tried to be answered in a technology use plan. A technology use plan is a plan that takes where a school, organization, or business is technological and the steps or process to get where they would like to go. The plan includes all the reasons why the technology should be put into place, the benefits for doing such, and the cost of the technology. “The purpose of technology planning is not just to produce a document, but to produce continuous action that creates and maintains a technology-rich educational environment (Al-Weshail, et al., 1996).”
When you are starting to create a technology use plan, one of the first things you need to look at is what other technology plans are out that there that applies to the current situation. It is also good to look at the requirements or state standards for that situation. When you are dealing with education and using technology in education one great resource to use is the National Educational Technology Plan 2010. This plan helps those planning to correlate their plan with the Federal Government’s technology plan. It also set standards and guidelines for school districts to use. The Government believes that the United States needs to change the way education is currently being taught to ensure a higher percentage of graduates and college ready students. I believe that is also most necessary. Students today are technologically driven. They use technology every day, multiple times a day. Their technology can be from a computer but most of technology for students nowadays fits right in their hands and gives instant access to information, games, and entertainment. In the National Educational Technology Plan, the government notices the technology and points out that there needs to be change and using that technology is the key. “Technology itself is an important driver of change. Contemporary technology offers unprecedented performance, adaptability, and cost-effectiveness (Education 2010).” The National Educational Technology Plan is focused just on using technology in the classroom. This plan is a powerful tool for all those creating technology use plans in their schools and school districts.
Now that we have tools and are asking questions, the next step is to start a technology use plan. One of the biggest and probably hardest decisions in these types of plans is the time limits we want to give to have the plan in place. John See in his article states, “Effective technology plans are short term, not long term (See 1992).” When I look back over the last five years and see how much technology has changed so drastically. I have to agree with him. You can put a short term plan into place that allows for upgrades and such at a later time. See also gives a good idea if you have to or want to create a long term plan. “Pull the plan out every year during the budget process and review it to make sure you have not tied yourself into buying outdated equipment. Do not let a technology plan lock you into old technology and applications just because it says so in the plan. Newer, more powerful, lower cost technology may be available to replace what you have specified in your plan (See 1992).” What a great idea? I believe that many school districts create plans and then stick to them no matter what, so by the time they actually get the technology into place, the technology is old, outdated and more expensive than other options would have been. I also believe that is why pulling your plan out every year to see what changes in technology there have been and if you can make those changes or even just see if those changes are necessary for the school’s purposes.
Is having the technology enough? Many technology plans focus on just getting the technology and then they end. What happens once you get the technology? Does everyone, the technology was designed for, know how to use it and understand the purposes behind it? Many of these questions are not thought of or even looked at when completing a technology use plan. Many plans work on getting the technology and distributing it out to the faculty and students. What happens once it is in the classrooms? Many school districts work hard to the technology but then have no plan on using it or training those that should be using it. See suggests that “effective technology plans focus on application, not technology”. See says that “the real question that needs to be asked is ‘what applications of technology are available that will help our students, staff, and administration work smarter, not harder?’ (See 1992).” I have to agree with him. I have seen many times schools get computers or programs, but then don’t know how to use them effectively and then the computers or programs get pushed off to the side and never used. At times like those, all the money spent to get the computers and programs is then wasted.
I remember one professional development day we had at my school for the teachers. It was all on new technologies that were starting to come out. They ran through all the different technologies that the school had got. There were at least seven or eight, but the school had only bought one of each of the technologies. We were given a quick rundown and someone with experience showed us what the technology could do. I was the youngest teacher at our school and fairly comfortable with technology and more willing than most of the other teachers in learning new technologies. I had a hard time following what the instructor was telling us about the different technologies that they had gotten. They did not provide any chance for hands-on learning and many teachers left the professional development more confused and with a strong conviction of not incorporating the new technologies. Those few technologies that many teachers liked did not work out because of lack of numbers and many teachers conflicting schedules did not allow for sharing very often. The school had a great technology use plan but then failed to think beyond getting the technologies.
As a teacher in Idaho, I have followed the controversy over Superintendent Tom Luna’s new Educational Plan. I really liked his plan, but I feel the way he is trying to implement it and the way he presented it is the biggest problem for him right. After reading the National Educational Technology Plan, I can see why and where Superintendent Luna got his ideas and the reasons for the changes. He is trying to implement what the government is suggesting. The means by which he introduced the new laws and the presentation was greatly undercutting teachers and tax payers. If he could have presented the plan better, the new laws would truly work for the benefit of the students and the teachers. Due to lack of support from the teachers these laws will never be able to reach their true potential and the ideas and technologies will be fought at every turn.
Al-Weshail, A. S., Baxter, A., Cherry, W., Hill, E. W., Jones, II, C. R., Love, L. T., . . . Montgomery, F. H. (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, Transforming American Education: Learning Powered by Technology, Washington, D.C., 2010. Retrieved from http://www.ed.gov/sites/default/files/netp2010.pdf