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Start with defining technology use planning--how would you describe it?

Technology planning is a series of steps completed with a large group of stake holders in order to determine how to use technology to best benefit an educational organization. There are many steps and they are all critical to having a successful plan (Al-Weshail et al., 1996). Initially, it is important to assess how and to what effect an institution is currently using technology. Additionally, the planners must define a clear purpose for the technology. Knowing where they are currently and what they want the technology to do will help to decide on the goals that must be accomplished. There are a wide variety of goals a district or school may want to accomplish. Is the goal to improve content delivery, assessment, collaboration, creativity etc.? These goals may be driven largely by the National Educational Technology Plan 2010. The next step is deciding on what technology will best cause the change desired, with the broadest impact. From there, the plan must focus on acquiring the technology and maintaining it. Further considerations must be made for the training of the stakeholders such as teachers and students. Finally, a plan must involve an assessment of if and how well the goals were accomplished. How might the new National Educational Technology Plan 2010 be an effective and powerful resource for technology use planning? This document clearly defines the outcomes that should be achieved by implementing a technology use plan. It addresses a wide variety of arenas in which technology can be applied to improve the educational experience. A school could use the plan to assess its own current technology usage. From this assessment, it could determine its deficiencies and begin to research which technologies may be the most beneficial in improving a schools tech usage. Those doing research would be looking for technology that impacts the most areas outlined by the technology plan. Do you agree with See about tech use plans needing to be short, not long term? I absolutely agree that technology plans must be short term. Technology trends emerge and fade out in a matter of years (See, 1992). Lengthy technology plans cannot adjust and adapt to new, better technological trends if they are committed to the old and outdated. Furthermore, students tend to be the earliest adopters of technology; schools will be more engaging if they are filled with opportunities to interact with new tech.

What do you think about his comment that "effective technology plans focus on applications, not technology? Do you agree/disagree? I agree completely. I have been in schools where hardware or software is ordered and it goes completely unused because no one sees the value in using it or they have a better way to accomplish the same task. Another example is the smart board. I have seen smart boards go completely unused by teachers until one decides to start using it. Suddenly, they find a useful application for the board and pass it on. Then, a few more teachers adopt it and find more useful applications. Very soon, almost the entire school is using smart board in every room. The purpose and application of the technology is critical. If parents, teachers and students cannot see the utility in the technology, it will go unused.

What experiences have you had with technology use planning and what have you seen for outcomes (both good and bad?) Most of the experiences I have had with technology planning have been fairly one sided. What I mean is that teachers are mandated that they must be trained and eventually use software in a designated period of time. This style of planning is not optimal because it does not take into account the ideas of teachers, students or parents. Then, once the technology is implemented, there tends to be resistance to adopting it because there is no ownership of the decision making. Furthermore, it becomes difficult to train users that are pessimistic about technology. This process has occurred in my current district with two different pieces of software, one assessment program and another was a college acceptance tracker. Both implementations were difficult for the district because teachers were resistant to the change. Due to this resistance the software was not being used to its full potential and there was very little teacher innovation.

References AL-WESHAIL, A. S., Baxter, A. L., Cherry, W., Hill, E. W., Jones, C. R., & Love, L. T. (1996).

Guidebook for developing an effective instructional technology plan. Guidebook for an effective instructional technology plan. See, John. (May 1992). Developing Effective Technology Plans. The Computing Teacher. Vol. 19, Number 8, May 1992 Retrieved from http://www.nctp.com/html/john_see.cfm