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Mothes

Case Study District Technology Planning

Introduction
The Akron Public School System serves students in the city of Akron located in the
northeastern part of the state of Ohio, in Summit County. The district includes 7 high schools, 3
middle schools, 10 elementary schools, 2 high school Community Learning Centers (CLCs), 6
middle school CLCs and 21 elementary school CLCs. It is the fifth largest district in Ohio with
approximately 22,000 students. (APS, 2014).
The school system is classified as a urban district, with very high student poverty and
very large student population. The population has a median income of $24,324 per year. The
system is 56% minority with a 85% student poverty. The system offers free all-day kindergarten,
free lunch and free breakfast to all students. The system offers specialized programming to
service gifted students as well as developmentally challenged students. The system offers
nontraditional classroom learning such as visual and performing arts, STEM ( high and middle
schools), AkronReads tutoring program, International Baccalaureate and 30 Career Education
programs providing opportunities to ear high school diploma and college credit simultaneously
(Ohio DoE, 2014).
The process used to evaluate the technology plan for the Akron Public School system was
an initial review of the technology plan provided by the district office. Using materials and
references from the works of Ohio's State Educational Technology plan as well as the National
Technology Plan recommendations on improving the contents and devising a sustainability
budget plan was created. The current Akron Public School system's plan is a work in progress

since its creation in February, 2012. The plan was last modified in June of 2012 and is to cover
the time period of 2012 through 2015. The plan is incomplete as of this review. The plan was
initial created using the state of Ohios eTech TPT tool and was conditionally approved by eTech.
The plan includes four phases, Pre-Planning, Curriculum Alignment & Instructional Integration,
Technology Policy, Leadership & Administration and Technology Infrastructure, Management &
Support.
The Pre-Planning phase includes a vision statement, mission statement, no technology
planning committee, a review of the current technology plan, a statement of unexpected
outcomes of the goals that were met and a review of goal that still need to be addressed. The
remaining phases have one to two goal and one to two strategies for each goal. After reading
each goal and the attached strategies a comparison was made to the ISTE National Educational
Technology Standards for students, teachers and administrators. Using the standards set forth in
the National Technology Plan and the state of Ohio Technology plan as a base line for
comparison the following strengths and weaknesses are identified.

Plan Review
Planning Team -Weaknesses
The technology committee in the report is blank. While there is mention of the
committee, Technology Integration Committee (TIC) in several areas of the plan there is no
specific designation of the personnel or their expertise or job responsibilities that offer any
indication of the representation of the make up of the committee for the district. It is impossible
to identify the input from all areas of the district.
Planning Team - Strengths

The team recognizes that professional development (PD) for the teachers, staff
and administration is a high priority for the successful integration of technology into the
classroom as the plan references PD in every goal and strategy.
Curriculum Alignment and Instructional Integration Weaknesses
There are two goals in this section with very vague references to teachers
receiving sustained ongoing professional development on how to integrate mobile technologies
in to the curriculum. There are references to out dated technologies that will be used for PD.
One strategy states that the out come of the critical training will be showing teachers how to
engage student in planning for classroom use. The second goal in this section is that all students
will meet or exceed high curricular standards. Again this goal will be realized by teacher that are
able to effectively integrate available technologies, but there is no mention of curriculum
alignment. This leaves questions as to what technologies they are planing to provide. Basically
there is no curriculum integration plan. Another weakness in this plan is that they will revert to
using a paper and pencil survey, the plan should incorporate technology as this will provide
access and usage of programs that could be first money saving, and provide practice with an item
that might be useful for integration into the classroom. The plan needs to be spell checked.
Curriculum Alignment and Instructional Integration Strengths
The plan calls for teacher training on a monitoring tool, Sungard's PerformancePLUS.
This places a dashboard on the principal and teacher's desktop that provides information on
student achievement and assists in planning individual PD. The school system also uses
Sungard's eSchoolPLUS for the student information system which has an online grade book that
teachers can access.
Technology Policy, Leadership and Administration Weaknesses

There are three strategies, listed for the goal of expanding the PD role of the Technology
Implementation Committee(TIC), all focus on PD for teachers. There is mention of using a
online/blended teacher/student training using technologies that had not been installed yet,
focusing on technology that has not been placed in the classrooms. The plan states that the
administrators have committed themselves to being technology leaders by encouraging
continual training for faculty, staff, administrators, students and parents. There is planning for
using technologies that do not yet exist. There is no stated policy, there is no identifiable
leadership, this is a major weakness.
Technology Policy, Leadership and Administration - Strengths
The plan identifies the TIC as the group who will monitor and administer the PD for the
teachers, students and will establish a train-the-trainer model for the technologies that will be
rolled out. This will give the teachers a support system that can be adapted to most of the future
technologies that might be implemented.
Technology Infrastructure Management and Support Weaknesses
The plan identifies the improvements to the network , replacement of the old student
information system/ERP and digital video and voice systems as the ingredients of the technology
infrastructure. The plan mentions installation of security and file storage/sharing for the
systems, but these statements are vague and without substance. There are many miss spellings in
this plan.
Technology Infrastructure Management and Support Strengths
The use of an online grade book give easy access to data collection for comparisons, and
planning as well as providing a vehicle for communication with parents.
Budget & Planning Weaknesses

While each strategy has an estimated cost that is projected out 3 years, not all areas are
filled-in. There is a table in the plan that figures penciled in for phase 2,3 and 4 for the year
designated 2012-13, 2013-14, and 2014-15 with most funds being associated with professional
development. While this is an admiral underpinning, it is not realistic. PD is important, but
planning for the costs of implementation is critical for the successful integration of technology
in the classroom. There is no mention of expenditure for software, hardware or extended
services other than training.
Budget & Planning Strengths
The plan recognizes the need for ongoing training for the faculty and staff in the district
which is critical for the success of any program. The plan makes use of e-Rate as a funding
source for telecommunications and network service providers as well as other external funding
sources such as Federal funds from Title I, II, III as well as grants reducing the strain on the
general fund.
Recommendations for Change
Planning Team
Naming the team and identifying a representative from each stakeholder group might
include the following for example:
Technology (network) expert
Technology (hardware/software) expert
Special needs coordinator
Funding/budget analysis expert
Instructional design expert
Elementary, Middle and High school teachers
Library personnel
Principals
Parents
The team must develop guidelines for:

Hardware standards, usage and security policies, replacement/enhancement guides


Software (both operational and learning based) - establish a request/review process for
new software
Professional Development develop funding models, identify critical paths for updating
teacher skill sets, develop evaluation guidelines for determining the most
cost effective model of learning blended online f2f for the district
Technology Integration Strategies - Develop goals to ensure all students are prepared
for living in the 21st century by using the nine areas found in digital
citizenship section of the ISTE NETS for students
Budgets research funding opportunities, develop guidelines for equipment
replacement, coordination of resources
Curriculum Alignment and Instructional Integration
The planning team will develop technology curriculum guidelines that include a road
map for student learning objectives, professional development guidelines for the technologies
that will be part of the curriculum integration, and a plan for review of the implemented
programs/devices as well as a method of feedback for potential changes to the systems. These
guidelines should provide technology components that align with TPACK and seamlessly
integrate with the curriculum. Plans to incorporate advanced learning opportunities with
universities and colleges as well as global partnerships with foreign country classrooms should
be developed as a means to foster global citizenship. Charting the curriculum with associated
leaning software programs that align with the corresponding grade will enable the technology
committee to develop time lines and strategies for teacher professional development also. For
example the table might include these items:
Grade

Software

Aligns with NETS

Number of Licenses

Xxx

200

xxx

free

Technology Policy, Leadership and Administration


The planning team will develop policies for student usage, parental communications, and
general security standards that will be communicated to all faculty, staff, student and parents. As
part of the technology committee the building representative should work with the building
technology specialists to mentor and assist other teacher with curriculum technology integration.
The team should also develop a technology delivery plan that coordinates the timing of the
integration of the technology in the classroom with the professional develop needs of the teacher.
This would include the type of PD, who the trainer would be, the targeted audience as well as
what the delivery of the training would look like. The plan would also include a standard
classroom configuration, charting all items hardware and software. Doing this enables the
committee to allocate resource for the technologies and training and for building a budget that
will provide sustainability for future growth.
The committee needs to develop a strategic plan for continuous improvement and
adaptation of new teachers into the system. Ongoing education for new and current teacher that
reinforce new strategies, higher order thinking and encourage peer mentoring.
Technology Infrastructure Management and Support
The planning team will develop a strategy and schedule for updating/replacing all
infrastructure over a multi-year rolling time period that can sustain the implementation of new
technologies as they are made availability. Classrooms and offices should have access to a
wealth of resources that the internet can provide, curriculum, web quests, reference data, pod
casts, global classrooms, interactive gaming for learning. Offices should have access to eforms,
data shares and file share sites, training, news and blog sites that are strategic for management.
Other resources include technology tools such as interactive monitors, virtual classrooms, TVs,

digital cameras, mics, headphones, projectors, laptops, notebooks, e-readers. Networks should
be compliant with the latest appliances and should offer security and a reliable connection to the
global society.
Building standard images for deployment to classroom and office computers with
software that is compatible with the associated grade and business model will reduce time to
deployment and will also build confidence in the teaching and administrative staff, knowing that
each classrooms or office is fitted for their needs.
Budget and Planning for Sustainability
In order to provide accurate numbers for planning purposes, an inventory of all
technologies should be complied including software and any licensing costs. The inventory
should show the equipment, building location, numbers of items already in use, and items for
expansion for the next three year cycle. Included in this would also be costs for PD, and the
infrastructure for technology delivery. For example spreadsheet detailing these items with
associated costs as well as projected costs would give realistic budget projections. Using these
numbers to develop requests for grants as well as coordinating the resource allocations across the
district will enhance the opportunities for technology expansion and professional development.
An example of the budget spreadsheet include these costs, but is not limited to these examples.

Hardware costs
Network/telecom costs
Maintenance costs
Software
Licenses
PD
Emergency updates to
Hardware or Software
Totals

Current year

Year 2 Projection

Year 3 Projection

$xxx,xxx
$xxx,xxx
$xxx,xxx
$xxx,xxx
$xxx,xxx
$xxx,xxx
Percentage of current
costs

$xxx,xxx
$xxx,xxx
$xxx,xxx
$xxx,xxx
$xxx,xxx
$xxx,xxx
Percentage of current
costs

$xxx,xxx
$xxx,xxx
$xxx,xxx
$xxx,xxx
$xxx,xxx
$xxx,xxx
Percentage of current
costs

References
National Educational Technology Plan (2009). Retrieved from: http://tech.ed.gov/netp
Ohio's State Educational Technology Plan 2009 2014. (n.d.). Retrieved from
Springboard.
Schools, A. P. (2013-2014, 2014-2015). Technology Plan built using eTech Ohio's TPT t
ool. Akron.
Technology Planning Tool Frequently Asked Questions. (n.d.). Retrieved from Ohio
Department of Education: http://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Finance-andFunding/Programs/Educational-Technology/E-Rate-Technical-AssistanceProgram/Technology-Planning-Tool-FAQs