School Environment Evaluation

The following spreadsheet and document are the School Environment Evaluation that I conducted to determine the technological maturity of my school.  Reading through the Technology Maturity Model and the Maturity Models Benchmark rubric was very enlightening for me as I had never considered any of this prior to this assignment.  Before evaluating my school I really only paid attention to technology and how it affected me personally in my teaching, rather than how it affects the entire district and school.  There are so components that are involved in becoming a technologically mature institution and this assignment open my eyes to how important it is to have comprehensive plans in place and many people involved in the process in order to be successful at integrating technology to the fullest.

Technology Use Planning Overview

Technology Use Planning Overview

Start with defining technology use planning–how would you describe it?
Technology has become an incredibly important part of daily lives, from tv to cell phones to computers and the Internet almost everyone uses some form of technology.  The role technology plays is growing everyday in so many aspects of our lives that we as educators need to make sure that we do everything we can to keep up with it to make our classrooms exciting and engaging for our students.  However, with so many resources out there planning for how to utilize that technology has become increasingly important.

To describe technology use planning Larry Anderson and John Perry in their article “Technology Planning: Recipe for Success” provide the following analogy:  “Just as a cookbook has recipes that, if followed generally, will lead to delicious cuisine, a technology plan has the potential for providing directions to success. The preparation of an effective plan should evoke the same type of devotion to excellence that one might recognize in the kitchen of a fine chef as he/she works arduously to craft a delicacy. All the necessary ingredients must be gathered and handy for incorporation into the feast being prepared; however, not even the finest quality ingredients will yield the desired dish unless the recipe is explicit and is followed during the cooking activity.”  They then go on to define a technology plan as a “written document that represents the very best thinking accumulated in a particular environment (school building, district, state, etc.) for the purpose of studying technology infusion, then recommending direction for the future.”

I agree with their definition, I believe a technology plan can be school-based or can be district- or even state-wide, and should focus on how current technology is to be integrated as well as looking ahead for what can be done in the future to further enhance and increase technology use and proficiency.

How might the new National Educational Technology Plan 2010 be an effective and powerful resource for technology use planning?
The National Educational Technology Plan 2010 is an excellent resource for technology use planning.  The plan states that “technology is at the core of virtually every aspect of our daily lives and work, and we must leverage it to provide engaging and powerful learning experiences and content, as well as resources and assessments that measure student achievement in more complete, authentic, and meaningful ways.”  The plan then goes on to present goals and recommendations for five essential areas of learning, assessment, teaching, infrastructure, and productivity as part of a “model of learning powered by technology.”  The plan provides specific ways to incorporate technology in those areas currently as well as ways schools can look toward the future in their planning for improvement.

Do you agree with See about tech use plans needing to be short, not long term?
I do agree with John See in his article “Developing Effective Technology Plans”, when he says that tech use plans need to be short not long term.  He states that “technology is changing so fast that it is almost impossible to plan what type of technology will be available for use five years from now. Even one year plans may be about as far ahead as we can now effectively plan for specific purchases of certain types or brands of equipment.”  I agree with this that technology definitely changes too fast to be able to plan for what type of equipment will be purchased, and I like his idea of dividing the plan into phases tied to the budget cycle.  He discusses the problem that long-term planning can tie you down into buying outdated equipment and I agree with this as well.  I do feel that some type of long term planning is necessary because it is important to look to the future and the outcomes you want to achieve, and See addresses this when he talks about plans focusing on the outputs instead of the inputs.

What do you think about his comment that “effective technology plans focus on applications, not technology?
I found this comment to be very interesting.  Typically when I thought of technology I usually thought of the the actual hardware, computers, tablets, cell phones (the “inputs” as he calls them) rather than the applications or what the technology is being used for (the “outputs”).  He goes on to say that usually technology committees ask for the hardware when it would be better to say what they want the students to be able to do with it, in other words answering the “why?” part.  After thinking about it from the perspective he proposes I agree, since technology is changing to quickly anyway, we should be focused on what is being accomplished with it more than what the technology itself is in the actual plan.  If the plan is too specific on the type of technology it will become restrictive and could easily lead to outdated inefficient technology being purchased, while focusing on the applications of the technology allows for the flexibility to adapt to the changes in technology.

What experiences have you had with technology use planning and what have you seen for outcomes (both good and bad?)
I have had very little experience with technology use planning.  I just finished my fourth year teaching and thus far my involvement in planning within my school has been very limited.  I have been slightly involved with our STEM committee and with the math department in discussing the technology we would like to have, but I have not directly participating in any planning activities.  I have been part of the discussion of purchasing calculators, a couple interactive whiteboards and tablets, but other than that I have just received technology that was already planned/budgeted for through a STEM grant that my school wrote and received prior to my starting there.

 

Resources:

Anderson, L., & Perry, J. (n.d.). Technology planning: Recipe for success. Retrieved July 17, 2012, from http://www.nctp.com/html/tp_recipe.cfm

Guidebook for developing an effective instructional technology plan. (1996). Mississippi State University. Retrieved from http://www.nctp.com/downloads/guidebook.pdf

National education technology plan. (2010). U.S. Department of Education Office of Educational Technology. Retrieved from http://www.ed.gov/sites/default/files/netp2010.pdf

See, J. (n.d.). Developing effective technology plans. National Center for Technology Planning. Retrieved July 17, 2012, from http://www.nctp.com/html/john_see.cfm

Technology planning articles. (n.d.). Retrieved July 17, 2012, from http://www.nctp.com/tech_plan_links.cfm