Technology Use Planning Overview

image source: NETP 2010

The general goals of an educator have remained the same over the last century. Our goals include preparing students for the workforce or college. My mother graduated from high school in 1947. In speaking with her, the goals of her school were to help them in reading, writing, typing and basic math skills. The opportunities for women in that era were generally limited to nursing, teaching, or secretarial work. As an educator today, I am preparing students for a much different workplace. Employers are expecting skills on a resume to include exceptional problem solving ability, adaptability, critical thinkers and a knowledge and comfort level with the use of technology.

Technology has changed the way we think and communicate. It has also made a monumental impact on education. In preparing students for the next phase of their life, it is imperative that educators consider how to incorporate technology in their everyday lesson plans. It is a daunting task. How do we go about doing this in an effective way? We need a plan — a technology plan.

In 1992, Dr. John See was one of the visionaries who began the discussion of developing an effective technology plan (See, 1992). He believed that a technology plan must have short term goals. I agree with this idea completely. Technology evolves and changes continuously. Much of the technology today likely will be obsolete in five years from now. Hence, this is why a short term plan is important. I do believe, however, that a long term vision is important. This long term plan would likely be more general in nature and not include specific types of technologies.

In designing a technology plan, everyone from the administration to faculty need to be on board. We need to answer several questions in our plan:

  • How do we use our current technology? Do we use it to its capability?
  • How does technology enhance a lesson plan?
  • How are we going to provide tech support for this technology? Is there training involved?
  • How do students currently use technology out of the classroom? What do they already know?

The National Educational Technology Plan (2010) created a concrete model for the design of a good technology plan. They discuss the engagement, assessment and implementation stages which are very useful to follow in developing our own goals.

See believes that providing the infrastructure is not enough. It is not the point of a technology plan. As the famous Chinese proverb says, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” A school with a lot of technology is just that — a school with technology. For technology to be useful, both teachers and students have to be able understand how to use the technology effectively. It needs to be integrated in all different curriculum and used consistently.

I have been fortunate in my career to be employed by forward thinking and innovative districts. Part of my job as a math/technology teacher is to be the district technology representative for my building. I am part of a group of individuals that is constantly reassessing current technology use and sharing best practices for using technology within our schools. It has been a great learning experience for me as an educator. My goal is to give all of my teachers the tools/ideas needed to enhance the educational experience for our students. I want them to be excited about the opportunities it creates as opposed to the initial increase in their workload. It allows us to speak directly to authors, talk to survivors of the Holocaust, etc. in a way we never did before. It brings education alive!!

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

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Posted on November 18, 2012, in 3.4 Policies and Regulations, Standard 3: Utilization and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Beth – great perspective! I often wonder are we taking technology and applying it to education or taking an education application and doing it better with technology? I wonder how technology will be able to help us in the more subjective endeavor of 21st Century Skills? I hope that technology will fill the voids in the skill sets of my students. Some of my students struggle with adding/subtracting positive and negative numbers. Others struggle with fractions. My goal, and I believe the technology is out there, is to assign them a “mastery” sequence on the computer that they need to complete in order to move on. In addition, I really want to look hard and creating a self-paced classroom to help EVERY student realize their full learning potential. Any ideas or suggestion would be greatly appreciated. Again – great job!

  2. Beth, I am so glad there are math teachers like you out in the schools! Where were you when I was in MS/HS? It’s great to read your views on using technology in a way that is very purposefully student-focused. Keep honing your educational/technological skills and staying involved in your school’s technology planning activities. We need more educators who know how to use technology to help our students succeed today, tomorrow and well after they have forgotten our names. Well done!

  3. Beth,
    I really appreciated how you grounded the piece by opening with a comparison-contrast example. Your opening clearly indicates how far education has come! Sometimes we, as educators, dwell on the negative but you reign us in and make us realize that we have made some significant changes in the past, and we will continue to do so!

    Paragraph 6 contains your most powerful point! Having technology is not enough — how it is implemented is everything! Amen.

    Your last paragraph is strong enough to motivate any non-believer! Your absolute buy-in and passion for technology integration really affects the reader in a positive way; furthermore, it complements the introduction by bringing everything full circle — from your mother (the past) to you (the present). Nicely done.

    Thanks for sharing your insights.

    Nona

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