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