Planning Technology Adoption
Perhaps the first step in using technology in the classroom is beginning to think about how technology can be incorporated into the school. This includes building considerations, cabling, power, and getting a good deal on hardware and software. All of these topics can be organized under the general idea of technology planning. This activity introduces the concept of planning technology acquisition and implementation in schools, provides helpful suggestions for developing a technology adoption plan, organizing a technology committee, and finding additional resources on technology planning on the Internet.
- Find out if your school has a technology adoption plan.
- Learn how to organize people within your school system to form a technology advisory committee.
- Learn the basics of technology adoption planning.
- Learn where to get additional information on technology planning.
Materials and Resources
In developing our lessons and activities, we made some
assumptions about the hardware
and software that would be available in the classroom for teachers who visit the
LETSNet Website. We assume that teachers using our Internet-based lessons or
activities have a computer
(PC or Macintosh) with the necessary hardware components (mouse, keyboard, and
monitor) as well as software (operating system, TCP/IP software, networking or
software, e-mail and a World Wide Web client program, preferably Netscape, but
Mosaic or Lynx). In the section below, we specify any "special"
requirements for a lesson or activity (in addition to those described above)
and the level of Internet access required to do the activity.
Special hardware requirements: none.
Special software requirements: none.
Internet access: Medium-speed (28,800 BPS via phone) or High-speed (greater than 1 MBPS via network).
Bringing technology into the classroom is not an easy thing to do. Before technology can be effectively used in the classroom, necessary hardware, software, and other resources must be put into place. In some cases, the school itself must be modified so that computers and related hardware can be used, for instance, cables and phone lines must be installed. The process of planning for the adoption of technology has been studied and documented in detail by teachers, schools, and other organizations. You can avoid costly and time-consuming mistakes by learning from other people's experiences.
As more and more K-12 schools move to integrate the Internet into their curricula, there is a need for planning tools and advice on how to acquire the hardware and software, and learn how to use them. Along these lines, there are a variety of good technology planning resources on the Internet (see Internet Resources below).
A school or district technology plan need not be long. The key is to make the plan work for you and others in your school or district. The following are general suggestions for ways to get started planning technology adoption:
- Consider forming a committee or team to develop a technology adoption plan if one does not already exist. This group should be composed of representatives from each of the major organizations in any school district (teachers, administrators, school board members, parents, and local volunteers with some technology background). The goal of this group should be to facilitate the technology adoption process and present recommendations to the governing body of the school district, usually the school board.
- Do some investigation to find out who within your school or district has been through a technology adoption process, either in the private or public sector. If you can get sound advice from people who have already worked through the adoption of technology into an institution, you can avoid many of the pitfalls in this process.
- Use the following steps, or similar ones, as you work through the adoption planning process:
- Subdivide responsibilities among committee members
- Establish realistic time frames for your goals
- Set target dates for implementation of your plan
- Work toward reaching some consensus in the committee
- Formulate a solid and long term technology adoption plan
- Implement the plan with the help and support of everyone involved
- Evaluate the plan as you go
- Try to gather as much information as you can before you begin spending money, and remember that the longer you wait the less expensive the technology will be. Prices for hardware (and in some cases, software) are always going down, not up. But don't wait too long. Experiment with small pilot projects to gain experience.
- Visit the Websites listed in the Internet Resources section below to get ideas for how to proceed. Also talk with friends or peers in other school districts and learn how they are developing and follow a technology adoption plan.
- Education Technology Planning and Funding
A Gopher site with lots of resources on technology planning.
- Mass Ed Online Local Technology Planning
This Website includes an extensive 7-phase technology planning model [http://www.celtedge.celt.org/model/model.htm] for the local school district.
- National Center for Technology Planning
"The National Center for Technology Planning (NCTP) is a clearinghouse for
the exchange of many types of information related to technology planning.
This information may be: school district technology plans available for
downloading via a computer network; technology planning aids (checklists,
brochures, sample planning forms, PR announcement forms); and/or
electronic monographs on timely, selected topics. The NCTP was created
for those who: need help, seek fresh ideas, or seek solutions to problems
encountered with planning."
- Pitsco's Launch to Technology Plans
A list of sites that provide help with, or examples of, technology plans.
- National Tech Corps
Another site with technology planning information.
- Technology Planning
Another list of useful resources on technology planning.
- The Switched-On Classroom
"A Technology Planning Guide for Public Schools in Massachusetts, The Switched-On Classroom Technology Planning Guide, a 250-page book outlining a 12-step technology planning and implementation process
for public schools, is the result of a collaboration between software company executives and five public school systems in Massachusetts. The
Guide contains instructive narratives, exemplary case studies of successful technology implementation, and an extensive listing of resources that will
assist schools in their strategic planning efforts for technology."
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