Six-Step Process in Creating a Technology Plan
Getting Started: Plan, Select a Well-Rounded Technology Committee, Develop a Realistic Time Line for the Development of the Technology Plan, and Orient the Committee.
A district technology plan should focus on integrating technology into the teaching and learning process to transform the way teachers teach and students learn. At the very least, the technology plan should be embedded in or supplement the district’s comprehensive school improvement plan. A planning committee is critical to the success of any technology plan. The committee should include expertise in planning, building a vision, needs assessment, curriculum and instruction, evaluation, goal setting, professional development, technology hardware, support and integration, media/marketing, and financial planning.
The areas of expertise are embedded in the five Technology Focus Areas (TFAs):
Student Learning (includes technology skills)
Teacher Preparation and Delivery of Instruction
Administration / Data Management / Communication Processes
Resource Distribution and Use
The five TFAs are interwoven throughout the Technology Plan as a way of insuring a comprehensive, workable plan is created that maintains a focus through the six major sections of the plan.
Technology planning is a major undertaking. Identify individuals who will commit to the process, who work well with others, are assertive and goal-oriented, and have good communications and management skills. Identify persons who have stake in the success of the district and those expected to implement the plan. Carefully identify persons within the district and in the community who will be sources of support during and after the initial planning process. Identify staff who have the power to accept or reject plan specifics, who have influence on public and fiscal acceptance and can garner the support of others. Then, from the pool of potential members, select the best team of individuals.
An example of a technology planning committee might include:
- 1 Superintendent or other central office administrator;
- 1 Principal;
- 2 Technology coordinator, computer teacher, or other technology professional;
- 1 Library media specialist;
- 3 Teachers, representing different buildings, grades and content areas;
- 2 Students;
- 1 Board member and/or school committee member;
- 1 Support staff;
- 3 Parents;
- 1 Community, town official;
- 1 Higher education, education association or education foundation representative;
- 1 Business expert (district or community);
- 1 Local business representatives (hardware, software, training, other).
Once the committee has been selected, designate a team leader. Select a leader with the management, communications, and persuasive skills necessary to keep the committee on task and moving through the process. Have agendas for each meeting. Meet frequently enough (perhaps weekly or biweekly) to keep the momentum going. Set regularly-scheduled meetings, but stagger the meeting times to help meet everyone’s different workloads. As soon as possible define the specific role and responsibilities of each committee member. Empower members to meet – consider release time for teachers or stipend pay for out-of-contract time and effort.
An example of a timeline of meeting topics and tasks might unfold like this:
- June – select committee and schedule meeting times and places
- July – meet, lay groundwork, begin work on vision and mission
- August – assess current technology
- September – conduct needs assessment, analyze data and make recommendations
- October – establish goals and objectives
- November – develop technology action plans
- January – plan implementation schedule and evaluation methods
- Feb – secure funding options, submit final draft for internal review
- March – finalize the plan and get approved by local school board
- April – submit plan for state approval
A. Determine the Purpose and Scope of the Technology Plan Development Committee
- Is there a current district Technology Plan that includes both instructional and administrative components?
- Does the district Technology Plan need to be updated and/or revised in the instructional and/or administrative components?
B. Determine the Appropriate Size of the Technology Plan Development Committee
- Large districts should have approximately thirty members.
- Small districts should have approximately fifteen members.
C. Identify and Select Members to serve on the district Technology Plan Development Committee
- Is the Technology Plan Development Committee balanced across all levels of instructional, administrative, and support staff?
- Does the Technology Plan Development Committee include facilities and maintenance staff?
- Are students represented on the Technology Plan Development Committee?
- What existing district committees should be represented (e.g., CSIP, PDC, PTA/PTO, teacher organizations, curriculum, etc.)?
- What community representatives will be invited to work with and advise the Technology Plan Development Committee, (e.g., business representatives, civic organization representatives, etc.)?
D. Develop the Format of the Final District Technology Plan
- Is the district Technology Plan being developed for one, three, or five years (e-rate requires Technology Plan approval every three years)?
- What technology will be included in the plan (e.g., telephony, audiovisual, computers, multimedia, technical support, etc.)?
- Will the district Technology Plan format include all the components checked on the scoring guide used for state and e-rate approval?
E. Orient the Technology Plan Development Committee
- What is the purpose of the Technology Plan Development Committee?
- What orientation will be provided to the Technology Plan Development Committee?
- Where and when will the Technology Plan Development Committee meet?
- What is the Technology Plan Development Committee timeline?
- What sub-committees will be necessary?
- What district background will be provided to the Technology Plan Development Committee?
- What state guidelines/standards will be provided (e.g., MSIP, Missouri, State Technology Plan, etc.)?
- What national guidelines/standards will be provided?
- What are the district technology standards?
- What district board approved policies are in place (e.g., Acceptable Use Policy, Internet Safety Policy, Copyright, Security, etc.)?
- What resources are available to the Technology Plan Development Committee (e.g., funding, technical/curriculum consultants, travel, literature, briefings, etc.)?
F. Communicate the District Technology Plan
- Who are the audiences for the district Technology Plan?
- How will the district Technology Plan be disseminated to all district staff?