This is the second of the three part article series about EdTech implementation. The previous part discussed about the first step required for the implementation of EdTech that is creating a tech integration vision, this part will focus on the next step that is creating a tech integration plan and roadmap.
To realize the benefits of technology and to ensure that it is effectively integrated into the schools, educators and community members must collaborate to create a formal technology integration plan. A successful tech integration plan is one that promotes meaningful learning and collaboration, provides for the needed professional development and support, and responds flexibly to change. It should be based on the shared vision of educators, parents, community members, and business leaders who have technological expertise and should ensure that technology strengthens existing curricula and supports meaningful, engaged learning for all students.
A technology plan that is not integral to the overall school improvement plan is likely to be short-lived. Schools should have a carefully designed technology plan that is a part of the overall improvement plan and supports their curricular goals to move students towards higher academic standards. The goals of a tech integration plan should be:
- To improve student learning to help students perform authentic tasks and learn skills that will prepare them for future careers.
- To comply with the school or district’s educational vision and be part of the overall school improvement plan.
- To provide professional development and support for staff on an ongoing basis.
- To encourage educators, parents, students, and community members to support the school’s initiatives in the use of technology.
- To provide an adequate budget for acquiring and maintaining hardware, software, professional development, and other services.
For the effective implementation of technology in school, decision makers should create specific duties, regulations, and policies that are counter to the collaborative nature of the technology plan or the ever-changing nature of technology. The vision statement and the technology plan should necessarily be developed with foresight, consensus, and long-range goal planning. The development of a tech integration plan should follow a systematic approach, it should include such steps:
- A planning committee should be convened, which should not only comprise of educators, but also the community members, students and parents. It may include administrators, principals and teachers from every department, student representatives, parents, technology coordinator, media specialist and potential business partners. The plan should be the result of input from educators and community members with knowledge, experience, and expectations of the role of technology in their school.
- Goals of the plan should be determined and steps to implement the goals should be decided. The goals are broad statements that connect technology and learning, they should be realistic, achievable and adaptable to timelines and action plans.
- After the goals have been developed, the objectives for each goal should be defined. Objectives are measurements of the accomplishments that support the goals. These should be clear, concise and to the point, measurable and observable.
- Once the short and long-range goals and objectives are defined, action plans to meet those goals and objectives should be developed and implemented. For this, you need to know your school’s needs/resources and your faculty talents well.
- To better understand staff technology needs, a needs assessment survey can be administered that will enable the school to learn where it stands, to plan future professional development and to update its tech plan. Teachers should be asked to reflect upon their own technological abilities as it relates to classroom integration and productivity tools.
- The plan must also include an awareness of the school’s budget. Effective planning for equipment should be short-term, since technology is changing so quickly that it is impossible to know what advances will be available in five years.
- Another important component of the technology plan is professional development and support for teachers. Staff development activities should help teachers become comfortable and proficient with the technology and give them the opportunity to devise ways to use it in their classrooms.
- The plan must also have an assessment component. Educators, parents, and community members are more likely to support technology if they are able to see proof of its value in helping students learn.
- The last and most important part of the plan is the inclusion of a well thought out process for dissemination, monitoring and evaluation activities. Without this, a technology plan is not an active living document that engages the community and shows the way for the school or district’s future.
The continuous monitoring of the implementation of the tech integration plan is very important. Regularly monitoring the development and implementation of hardware and software systems and evaluating the effects of an enhanced technological curriculum on students and teachers must be an on-going process. Revision of the technology plan must be on-going as well. While the mission and vision of the plan may stay constant, the implementation plans will change constantly, as new products and possibilities become available.
The next and final part of this article series will discuss about how a tech integration plan should be supported.
Read part 1 of this series: EdTech Implementation Guide – Part 1: Creating a Tech Integration Vision