This page is a collection of the resources and basic methodology that I use when helping school districts do their long-term technology planning. This page is quite literally my “Technology Planning Toolkit”
For the most part with technology evolving at such a rate, it is important to review and update the plan every three years or so.
It is important to have a realistic plan in place that can both give direction while being honest about the school’s resources and comfort level with emerging technologies.
A. Technology Planning Committee Membership
B. School Board Approval
C. District Mission Statement
D. District Demographic Description
E. Technology Vision
A. Access to Technology Resources
B. Technology Literacy
C. Professional Development
D. Community Involvement
III. Action Plans
A. Access to Technology Resources Action Plan
1. Data – Connectivity/Infrastructure
2. Hardware Purchases
3. Software Purchases
B. Technology / ICT Literacy Action Plan
1. Professional development strategy
2. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Literacy Program
3. Innovative Learning Strategies
5. Timeline for Technology Integration
6. Support Resources
7. Data – Technology Literacy
C. Professional Development Action Plan
1. Professional Development Overview
2. Professional Development Needs
3. Professional Development Activities
4. Sources of Training and Technical Support
5. Training Timeline
6. Data – Professional Development
D. Community Collaboration Action Plan
1. Activities to Promote Parent Involvement and Communication
2. Collaboration with Adult Learning & Public Library
3. Data – Community Collaboration
A. Projected Costs
B. Coordination with Grant Funds / Technology Budget Information
C. Budget Narrative and Timeline
A. Technology Plan Assessment
B. Evaluation Timeline
C. Hardware and Support Evaluation
D. Connectivity Evaluation
E. Technology Literacy Evaluation
F. Professional Development Evaluation
G. Community Collaboration Evaluation
VI. Policies and Procedures
A. Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) / Security Policy
B. Student and Staff Acceptable Use Policy
C. Copyright and Fair Use Policy
D. Data Retention Policy
Introduction: The introduction should include a cover page followed by information about the planning committee. The introduction should also contain a description of the school district including the demographics, the mission statement for the school, as well as a guiding statement indicating the technology vision that will be addressed by the overall plan.
It is important that the plan aligns with the local, state, and federal standards as well as the best practices regarding technology integration.
Goals: The goals section should contain S.M.A.R.T goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time Bound). I like to ensure that access, literacy, and professional development are covered and if possible to include a community goal. In addition to the statements of the goals, there should be information clarifying the details surrounding the goals to eliminate any ambiguity.
Action Plans: Each goal should have a detailed plan for implementation in the action plan section. The goals should be broken down into measurable sub goals that include indicators of success. It is critical that professional development is addressed in the action plan. The importance of quality technology professional development for the teaching staff is a priority. In schools with adequate access to technology, this is often the bulk of the technology plan. The professional development section should include detailed information on the training models, potential sources of training, and a timeline. Training should be included for administrators, educators, and support staff. The connection between the technology training and the master professional development plan should be clear and coordination between the technology committee and the professional development committee can be helpful enough that if possible I recommend at least some overlap with members of the two committees.
This section is also an excellent place to detail the community connection including adult literacy, non-traditional students, the local public library, adult education, etc. It is often possible to coordinate efforts which can offer opportunities to collaborate outside of the technology itself.
Budget: The budget is one of the most important parts of the technology plan. It is imperative that it be an accurate representation of the budget. It is critical to include all of the professional development that teachers will need to fully utilize any hardware or software is provided. The budget should be reviewed and approved by the body that approves annual budgets. I have seen good plans fail because promised money does not materialize in future years. It is important that you include all of your expenses and scale your plan according to the money you will realistically have available. There are grants that can be found for shortcomings but it is important that your plan not depend too heavily on grant money.
Evaluation: The technology plan should be reviewed and updated often. As part of the plan, the evaluation section of the plan should include information on the evaluation of the effectiveness of the previous version of the plan as well as have a detailed set of evaluation metrics. It is important that the technology plan is evaluated by data. This section should include the data you will use to measure the relative success of each of your identified goals as well as the timeline. It is important that your evaluation is aligned with your goals and action plan.
Policies: This section is often the easiest. Your school should a Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) / Security Policy, a Student and Staff Acceptable Use Policy, Copyright and Fair Use Policy, and a Data Retention Policy. Those should be included in this section with any additional policies regarding technology.
General Technology Planning Links:
Additional Information for the Introduction:
The technology planning committee: Your technology committee should include a group of stakeholders from the school district that represent different viewpoints and can act as a liaison between the committee and their constituents. I recommend including the technology director, a member of the school’s administrative team, teachers, the school librarian, a school board member, and if possible a representative from town government. This group will be tasked with developing the plan as well as its implementation and evaluation. The committee should be large enough to be up to the task while being small enough to be a manageable size. The committee should include tech savvy as well as non-technology oriented members.
The district mission statement: The mission statement should provide a succinct description of what the school community believes it wants to accomplish as it educates its children. This is not a statement about technology but rather a broad statement on education itself. The statement will guide the development of a technology vision and the plan in general. It is most often developed by the school board.
The technology vision: The technology vision statement provides a clear concise statement on how technology fits into the school and supports the school’s mission. If you begin with the district’s mission statement and ask “How will technology help you get there?” “In what ways does technology help you accomplish your specific mission?” and “What does the future learning environment look like?” you will have an easier time developing an aligned technology vision statement.
The district description: Each district is unique, the description of the district helps place your technology plan in context.
Mission and Vision Statement Resources:
Additional Information on the Goals Section:
Goals specific to your school’s needs: Goals should be clear and concise. They should support the vision and align with the mission. The goals should also align and support the district’s professional development master plan. Goals need to be measurable, having vague or overly large goals reduces their effectiveness, in addition ensuring your goals are measurable aids in the development of the evaluation section of the technology plan. Goals need to be attainable and agreed upon. The goals should align with the professional development plan, and garner support from the school board, administration, and the staff. The goals should be realistic, a technology plan generally spans 3 years and the district will not likely have unlimited funds in that time, the plan’s goals should reflect the realistic potential of three year’s worth of progress. The goals should also be time bound, at the very least the goals should be achievable within three years.
I like to include goals in the following four categories: Access to Technology Resources, Technology Literacy, Professional Development, and Community Involvement.
Access to technology includes both the invisible infrastructure (ie. Wifi). Hardware such as aiming for a 4:1 or 1:1 computer to student ratio as well as peripherals and noncomputer technology such as digital cameras. Software such as any administrative and academic computing software.
Technology literacy includes both the explicit computer education as well as the integration of technology into the wider curriculum. It most often aligns to the NETS standards for students and focuses on ensuring that students have the skills necessary to use the contemporary tools related to communication and information.
Professional development aimed at helping administration, educators, and support staff best leveraging the technology they have and may have access to in the future. This is often the largest portion of the technology plan and as access to technology is covered it grows. This covers both the use of specific tools as well as technology literacy instruction.
Community involvement goals should focus on building bridges between the school and other community groups. Most often this is the adult education and public libraries but can be flexible to collaboration and the sharing of resources/expertise.
The goals should also align with the state standards, common core, the National Educational Technology Plan and the NETS standards.
Goal Setting Resources:
Additional information on the Action Plan Section:
One of the largest challenges regarding technology planning is lack of implementation. The action plan section should give clear step by step instructions on what will be done, who will carry out the individual tasks, when will the tasks take place and how long should they take. This section should break down the goals into specific objectives and assign action steps for each objective.
Action Plan Resources:
Planning professional development:
Professional development is absolutely critical to an effective technology plan. It is important that professional development is planned for any new technology as well as any underutilized or inappropriately utilized technology resources. In addition, it is important that the available technology tools be used in support of clearly articulated learning goals and not used for the sake of using technology. This is where quality professional development can make a significant difference.
Goals should include the training and support teachers will need to meet the goals, a clear strategy for specific professional development activities should be outlined in the plan, “and associated professional development” is not enough. Specific topics and if possible specific workshops should be identified and assigned a timeline. Funding sources should be highlighted either as grants or local budget.
Professional Development Resources:
The technology plan should include specific collaboration efforts outside of the school itself. This includes with parents, other organizations that work with children, adult ed, and the public library.
The use of social media and other outreach efforts should be included here. Feedback and surveys are also planned for in this section.
Community Involvement Resources:
Additional Information for the Budget section:
The budget is the heart of your technology plan and it needs to be done right. The budget should be broken down by year and cover all of the technology lines from the annual budget. It is important to ensure the budget covers everything listed in the action plan. The budget should include any hardware, software, infrastructure, professional development, and staffing needs.
As part of the plan for technology access, it is important to consider the need for upgrades and replacements that may be needed. Having a proper lifecycle management plan as a component of the overall technology plan is necessary so that the school isn’t caught with a sudden lack of access due to obsolete or nonworking equipment.
The budget should also highlight other sources of funds such as grant or other outside funding sources.
Additional Information for the Evaluation Section:
Using the SMART goal framework helps tremendously when writing the evaluation section of the technology plan. The evaluation plan should have a clear timeline and include who is assigned to carry out the specific steps of the plan. If the plan calls for the school librarian to perform certain tasks it should list the position as the primary person responsible and then specify who the current librarian is to accommodate staff changes. If tasks are assigned in non-role specific ways there should be a backup assignment specified even if that is “or someone as assigned by the building principal”
There should also be a point person identified who will follow up and remind team members of their responsibilities. Active monitoring and feedback are critical if the technology plan is going to be successful and especially if the plan needs revising.
Clear data sources and measurements should be specified for the evaluation of success and they should be aligned with the primary goals and the action plan and benchmarks should be specified to clearly identify the success of the different goals.
Additional Information on Policies:
The technology planning process is an excellent opportunity to review the technology related policies for compliance. Policy is generally set at the board level and if any noncompliance is found I typically simply recommend that oversight be highlighted and an example policy that is compliant be sent to the board and then let the board take the lead on adjusting the policy. In many cases, school board associations have pre-written policies that can be purchased which have been reviewed by lawyers. Neighboring school districts are also good sources of example policies.
Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) is a federal law enacted by Congress in 2000. Essentially it applies to any school or library that receives federal funds through several programs including E-Rate and Title II-D. I believe that all schools seek this funding and so all school should comply with the CIPA rules.
CIPA requires “Blocking and Filtering Measures” schools are required to filter internet access to protect adults and minors from pornography and other items that are harmful to minors. This can be easily handled with a filtering appliance. I typically recommend that minimal filtering is done, essentially filtering pornography, hate speech, and illegal sites is sufficient. Some schools try to filter items to reduce the use of bandwidth or to “eliminate distraction” I strongly believe these are classroom management issues and should be handled as such.
CIPA also requires an Internet Safety Policy that addresses inappropriate access, safety and security of minors when using email or other electronic communications, hacking, privacy, etc. This is typically covered by the acceptable use policy.
CIPA also requires public notice and public hearings regarding technology protection measures, since the policy is handled at the board level this is typically not an issue provided the board’s agenda is included with the typical notice and if these items are being discussed they are on the agenda.
Copyright and Fair Use Policy: districts should ensure that students and staff are aware of copyright and fair use laws, this is typically addressed in the acceptable use policy. An annual presentation to faculty and staff from the library media specialist is something I recommend.
Acceptable Use Policies: I recommend every organization that utilizes technology have a clear acceptable use policy. It is a question of liability and in the cases of schools, it is often a matter of being required by law as it is in New Hampshire.
Family Educational Rights of Privacy Act (FERPA): The FERPA law specifies what types of information can be released about students this information needs to be communicated with parents. Having a formal FERPA policy is an important aspect of compliance and it should be included in the technology plan.
Technology Policy Resources:
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