Technology Plan Evaluation Stephanie McCoy Tiana Tibbs Qiana Worlds FRIT 8132 Introduction Bibb County school

district is located in the middle Georgia area in the city of Macon. The total student population is about 25,276 students with a total of about 1,639 classrooms. There are many students who are considered economically disadvantaged and among those, they are mostly African-American and/or receive special education services. The Bibb County Technology Plan was adopted on July 1, 2008 which appears to be a common date among technology plans. It extends through June of 2011 making it a 3 year plan. This makes sense based on the fact that technology changes so much from year to year. We used the Technology Planning Analysis Rubric that was created by Dr. Paul Allen from the University of Texas to evaluate Bibb County’s Technology Plan. Components Executive Summary Score 3 Explanation of Score Overall, the plan addresses the requirements for executive summary. The vision, mission, and goals and objectives are easy to find at the beginning of the plan. In reading those sections, readers can effortlessly obtain the major themes that the county is aiming to address. The background, findings, issues, conclusions, and recommendations are described in greater detail. These additional details are essential because they provide the substance on which the plan is built. A membership list of stakeholder groups is included in the plan, and there are brief descriptions of how technology is used to address the needs of the stakeholders. While the descriptions indicate technology use by each of the groups, it is vague and seems to omit many obvious details. More

Identifies Contributors and Stakeholder Groups

2

Vision Statement

1

Mission Statement

2

Goals

3

Objectives

3

thorough descriptions would enhance the plan and give readers a more realistic view of technology’s impact on the school district. The county’s vision for technology use as included in the plan is rather lengthy; however, it lacks much information regarding instructional outcomes. There are descriptions of how “classrooms will be noisy with students…researching together,” but little is said about how the use of technology will impact academic achievement. Most of the plan’s vision for technology use describes specifics about what technology will be used for (i.e., retaining teachers and communicating with parents) rather than how it will impact student learning. The technology mission statement indicates that technology will “enhance teaching and learning process” and bridge educational gaps. It does not, however, indicate how these things will be accomplished. Because there is no mention of any group in the mission statement, it is unclear whether the mission is for the benefit of students, teachers, parents, or all of the above. The goals listed in the technology plan met the highest criteria given in the rubric. Most of the goals answered the questions: Who? What? According to which instrument? Fewer goals answered the questions: By when and by how much? Nevertheless, the goals were all comprehensive and realistic. Like the goals, the objectives met the highest criteria in the rubric. The relationship between the goals and objectives is clear. Several strategies are listed for each objective that explains the plan for how goals will be achieved. The evaluation method and timeline for achievement is also included. The

Needs Assessment

2

General Issues

2

Conclusions and Recommendations

1

Acceptable Use Policy

3

objectives in this technology plan are far more detailed than the goals and include much of the information that was included in the goals section of the rubric. The needs assessment (gap analysis) focused primarily on getting the appropriate technology in the classrooms to make sure student learning is achieved through the use of technology. The plan calls for the county to get the 21st century technology in all 23 elementary schools since they are all in the middle and high schools. They also want to make sure the teachers have the appropriate training so they can maximize instruction using this technology to reach the kinesthetic learners and students with disabilities. All computers, even the ones that are five years or older that are still considered modern units, have been installed with Windows 2000 or XP. It briefly mentions how teachers requests software specific to their subject and benchmark assessment application but does not go into detail on how they plan to get this and by when. The issues listed on the rubric are addressed in the technology plan however they do not go into detail and are not measurable. There was not a complete list that identifies the needs and challenges to improve the education of Bibb County overall with recommended projects and steps to accomplish the vision. The Acceptable Use Policy is clearly stated with guidelines, definitions of relative terms, and policies. There is also a parental consent form for internet usage at the school. Also listed are violations if a rule is broken. The Acceptable Use Policy is very well written. A strong acceptable use policy is integral to the success of the

Technology and Learning Statement Technology Standards, Requirements, and Models for Technology and Learning

1 2

Staff Development

2

Technical Support

3

use of technology in the classroom. The technology and learning statement is absent. This plan gives clear and concise details about the standards that will be used in regards to technology for this school district. There did not seem to be a lot, if any, detailed information about current models for technology and learning once the standards are set and in place. Mostly this plan gives some detailed information about the name and type of software that will be used. However, there seems to be little or no information in the plan that details the type of hardware that will be used other than the words “modern desktop, tablets/laptops.” This plan gives a general overview of how teachers will be trained using 21st century technology and software. The professional development courses are offered to teachers in the county but preference is given to second year teachers in the TAPP program. I think more could be added to the professional development portion by giving more detail about some incentives and resources for teachers taking part in this professional development. Technical support is clearly addressed in this plan with support being given to faculty and staff members and parents. Wireless access has also been included to be provided for all schools in the district. Schools will also have access to 2nd internet connection. Computers will also be updated with current Windows Office and Vista. According to plan, technological support has effectively been put place that clearly outlines and details how and when the technology will be in place and who will be responsible for ensuring that faculty, staff, and students have what they need to be contenders with other 21st Cenutry students worldwide.

Projects, Budgets, and Timelines

2

Clarity of Writing

3

Although there was not a specific area designated for projects, budgets, and timelines in the plan, funding and time lines were included in this plan with specifics as to who would be the responsible party. It did not go into detail about how the funds would be distributed once the money was released. This plan just gives a list of where the money will come from and how much will be given. The writing for this plan was clear and concise. There were very few, if any, typos or misspellings. The format and the table of contents helped to make the plan very readable and useful when looking for information within the document. The use of headings and charts were also helpful in making the plan easily readable.

Overall, this technology plan was average. While it included many of the requirements as stated in the rubric, it was lacking in many other areas. In many areas, the plan was almost too vague for anyone to grasp the district’s purpose for using technology. It was hard to determine if technology use in the district was more for the benefit of the students or the teachers. While a good technology program can improve teacher retention, this plan failed to place the desired emphasis on the importance of learning outcomes when stating its vision and mission. There were also sections of the plan that did not seem realistic when describing the current state of the district. Perhaps this is due to a hurried effort to compile a technology plan, but anyone who reads this technology plan is relying on its accuracy. Deficiencies such as these seem odd, especially since technology rubrics like Dr. Allen’s are readily available resources that could help any school district create an impeccable technology plan. The Bibb County technology plan is adequate; however, with more clarity, specificity, and vision, the plan could have been greatly improved.

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