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Carol Ann Dunlap Andrea Miller Cara Youmans Technology Plan Evaluation: Putnam County Putnam County developed

and published their technology plan on July 1, 2009. It was submitted to the Macon Educational Technology Training Center located at Macon State College and the State Department of Education for approval on June 26, 2009. The plan is dated to expire on June 30, 2012. The technology coordinator responsible for the creation, submission, publication and follow-up of this technology plan is still in his current position and has already begun to review and prepare for a new Technology plan to be submitted in 2012. The current plan was researched for, written, and edited by a team of employees of Putnam County. This team was headed by the technology coordinator and included several key people who work within the school system and one who does not. These team members consisted of personnel over the following departments: Putnam County school superintendent (note that this superintendent retired and was replaced in January of 2011), curriculum director for Putnam County and also the director of Macons Educational Technology Training Center. Input was gathered from teachers, administrators and staff through surveys on technologies they would like to see within the classroom in the next three years. These surveys also asked questions about current likes and dislikes about the technology program and staff, to gather data about how the group and technology in schools could improve. The data that was received was reviewed and used to assist in writing the plan so that the ideas, concerns, and goals from the teachers and administration perspective could be included. Macons director of the Educational Technology Training Center assisted in creating the plan to ensure that it covered all necessary areas to be approved by the state. It is required that the county has an approved technology plan to receive the E-Rate that is available. A new, updated plan is expected to be completed by May of 2012 to be ready for submission for approval. Similar methods are expected to be used to create the new plan as far as surveys and team member support. According to the Technology Coordinator of Putnam County, the technology plan is followed the majority of time. However, due to steep budget cuts, loss of personnel, and other uncontrollable factors, some components of the plan have been put on hold, or only partially completed.

His hope is that through new grants and funds, these goals will make it back on track before the renewal date of June 30, 2012. If the criteria for completion are not met concerning the goals and objectives listed within the plan by that date, the coordinator will seek to leave these within the new plan to ensure that they do not get left behind and will still reach completion. Goals and Realistic Strategy for Using Telecommunications and Information Technology The goals set out in the Putnam County Technology plan are divided into several sections including system readiness goals, instructional goals, technical integration, administrative goals, and parent/community goals. The majority of the goals are to acquire and maintain the technology from 2009-2010. Each goal begins with an extensive and comprehensive target that is later broken down into specific parts, a timeline, person responsible, budget, and evaluation. According to the technology planning and analysis rubric, Putnams plan would receive the highest score in goals and strategies. Each goal is realistic and manageable as of the plan thats set forth. Each goal has a person responsible for achieving the goal as well as an evaluation to measure the objective. Some of the evaluation methods include data driven information such as CRCT scores, inventory, number of help desk tickets, and parents involved; while others are observational and survey results which can lead to subjective findings. One example of a subjective evaluation method is the leadership team and principal reviews. These evaluations could possibly have bias results and may be more effective to have an outsider evaluate instead. Another area that needs improvement is the timeline to achieve each goal. Although the technology plan includes a specific school year for the goal to be completed, it may be more effective if it is was a specified time of year or even a specific date. Simply having a year as a completion timeline leaves the goal wide open for interpretation and procrastination. It would be easier to give each goal a specific month so it is mapped out for the personnel responsible for achieving each objective. Overall, each goal is comprehensive and measurable with tasks delegated to staff members according to a yearly timeline. Since this section meets all the elements, the goal portion of Putnams technology plan receives the highest ranking. A Professional Development Strategy

The professional development portion of Putnams technology plan is brief and concise. It includes a broad overview of objectives for teachers and schools that emphasize the use of an inspirational and creative learning environment that promotes and models digital citizenship and responsibility to learners. It also stresses the importance of teachers being engaged in professional growth and leadership assignments. Although the professional development section includes some details, the majority of it is not clearly articulated and does not include criteria for success or evaluation methods. For this reason, Putnams technology plan scores a 2 which means it is in progression to meeting the standard. In order to improve this section of the technology plan, Putnam County may want to add specific areas and trainings that teachers need to participate in and what goals the county hopes to achieve through these.

An Assessment of Telecommunication Services, Hardware, Software, and Other Services Needed The Putnam County technology plan does not include an assessment of the telecommunication services, hardware, software, and other services. It does, however, include an extensive list of system needs in order to meet the objectives set out in the plan. The needs are vast and include items as specific as upgrading the PCPS switches and installing wireless networks. The new high school is in need of switches to support the wide wireless network as well as upgrades to all PCVO switches. Upgrades to all phone and intercom systems, as well as telephony network integration are just a few of the telecommunication needs for Putnam County. Other services needed are integrating the A/C and power to new technologies, centralizing network printers and attached copiers, maintaining firewall filtering, and continuing the use of help desk tracking software. Although the needs were clearly identified in the Putnam technology plan, the results were brief and did not include details on staff training received thus far and preparation for the future. The lack of details results in a 2 on the technology planning analysis rubric. Budget Resources As stated earlier, the Putnam County Technology plan includes goals with a budget component for each strategy. Although each goal has an area specifically for the budget information, the majority of the strategies do not include this data. The strategies that do include information on budget and

costs include estimated costs only for one item which is the purchase of fiber provided by a local cable company. All other maintenance and technical needs do not include estimated costs. The plan shows an estimate for the majority of the technical funds provided by SPLOST for each year. Other sources of income would come from ARRA, Title I, and Title VI. It is imperative for a Technical Plan to have some sort of arrangement for how all the funds will be allocated according to the needs of the county. Due to the lack of specifics, the Putnam plan receives a 2 in the budget resource section of the technology planning analysis rubric. In order to improve in this area, Putnam County needs to provide an estimate for each goal and strategy in the plan. If an estimate is not provided, the cost of achieving the objectives may be unobtainable and more realistic goals may need to be put in place. The budget is very important to see what is feasible and what areas might need to wait until another time. Ongoing Evaluation Process The Putnam County Technology plan includes many goals of technical maintenance and improvement as well as professional development goals, but does not include a way of assessing and evaluating these. There are no instruments described to evaluate the implementation and effectiveness of each strategy. Also, it does not include detail or comprehensiveness of an evaluation process linked to learning outcomes. The lack of a present evaluation unfortunately leads to goals that may never be reached since no one is held accountable or assessed on their strides towards achieving the goals. The lack of learning outcomes leads to unspecific goals which in turn, make the plan unsuccessful. As with every good plan, the entire vision of where we would like to be and how we are going to get there is extremely important in order to make the plan successful. Putnam County needs to add specifics in the evaluation process or else the success of the technology plan and future goals will never be assessed.

Putnam Countys plan would receive an overall score of Needs Improvement. As noted above, several areas lack needed detail for the plan to be fully functional and successful. These areas included all but the area of goals and strategies. Although Putnam County has clear goals and straight forward strategies to reach these goals, their methods, budgets, and evaluations concerning these objectives are unclear. It will be difficult to determine success if no evaluation of the goals is completed. It will also

remain a problem to accomplish the purposes of the plan if there are not clear budgets to guide project implementation, new purchases or the simple upkeep of current resources. In addition, as noted in the introduction, budget cuts have caused several setbacks for different goals. Had the budget been clearer, it would have been easier to determine where money could be saved or cut back on and how it could be used for areas that are more of an immediate concern. Finally the plan needs serious revision and additions in the area of professional development and staff training. It is clear that more thought needs to go into how the teachers and staff should be trained and then evaluated on their training concerning technology. Follow up on professional development and training leads to more success and stronger use of new technologies. It is imperative that Putnam County improve this area in their next technology plan. Putnam County would benefit from the use of a technology plan rubric to determine what areas of their plan need improvement and what areas they are strong in. The use of a rubric to evaluate before the creation of their next plan would lead them to a strong, more in-depth and detailed technology plan that would most likely lead to further success.

Technology Planning Analysis Rubric


Elements
Goals and Realistic Strategy for Using Telecommunications and Information Technology 1 -Goals are immeasurable or not provided -Goals are equipment based instead of based on improvement plans 2 -Goals are loosely linked to improvement plans. -Goals are not readily obtainable or measurable. 3 -Goals are broad, comprehensive, and capable of addressing teaching and learning needs. -Goals are attainable and measurable. -Goals clearly answer the questions: Who? What? By when? By how much? According to which

instrument? A Professional Development Strategy Professional development is not mentioned -Professional development is included, but is not detailed -Not clearly articulated as to how it will be accomplished or evaluated -A detailed description of the professional development is included -Describes multiple staff development strategies and recommendations for incentives and resources The needs assessment is comprehensive and contains detailed information about hardware, software, telecommunication services, and identifies use by staff, as well as, training received and desired. -Budget is consistent with plan goals; all of the projects, time lines, and budget estimates (specific figures) are provided -Identifies specific funding resources and possible alternative funding resources

An Assessment of Telecommunication Services, Hardware, Software, and Other Services Needed

Needs assessment not provided

Needs assessment is included, but results are brief; not enough detail included

Budget Resources

Budget resources not mentioned

-Budget is generally consistent with plan goals; most, but not all, of the projects, time lines, and budget estimates are provided -Specific funding sources are described, but do not include specific budget figures An evaluation process is described, but lacks detail and comprehensiveness. It is not linked to learning outcomes.

Ongoing Evaluation Process

No formal evaluation is described

An evaluation process and instrument are described in detail and shows comprehensiveness. Evaluation is timely and is linked to learning outcomes.