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Technology Planning Quest

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A WebQuest for K-12 Administrators

Links verified on 1/1/2012

Based on a scenario found in An Educator's Guide to Evaluating the Use of Technology in Schools and Classrooms
Designed by Bill Byles
Introduction | Task | Process | Evaluation | Conclusion

Your school has just received a grant to purchase new computers and to train teachers to integrate technology into their teaching - activities that will enable the school to achieve some of the goals you and other administrators have been talking about for the last two years. Everyone is excited about the new technology and the possibilities it has for improving teaching and learning. However, people have questions.
  • The agency funding the grant wants to know if it is getting its "money's worth."
  • The superintendent wants to know if teachers are using technology in their instruction and whether the technology is affecting student work and motivation.
  • Parents want to know if the new technology is improving standardized test scores.
  • The district professional development coordinator wants to know the effect of training on teacher and student technology skills.

Someone has to try to answer all of these questions. For better or worse, this someone is you! Yes, there are strings attached to the grant. In this age of limited resources, people want to know if the money they are spending is producing results, and they want answers soon. Yes, your time is limited.

You are still trying to coordinate the purchase of the new equipment and make sure that it is running properly. You are also trying to make sure that teachers are getting the training they need so that the technology will be used appropriately. Wait! How will you know what's next and how to satisfy all of those people asking questions?

Your school district must have a plan for how to proceed. The plan that was thrown together by the team applying for the grant is too vague and contains flaws obvious to you now. You and your team must propose a technology plan which will be presented to a town meeting which will be attended by people from all of the groups that have questions. You have several tasks facing you:
  • locating state requirements before you start writing your plan
  • looking on the Internet to evaluate technology plans of other schools or districts
  • choosing a site to provide comprehensive technology planning help
  • finding an appropriate self evaluation instrument for your teachers to use

After these things have been done you will begin preparing a draft technology plan to propose at the team meeting. Your proposal will be in the form of one of two possibilities. Choose from the assignments below

  • Use Microsoft Word to produce a written report which could be distributed at the town meeting
  • Use PowerPoint to design a presentation which will be shown to the entire group.

Work in teams of three to five.

First you must find out what should be included in your district's technology plan. There are many excellent sites which may help you discover in general terms, what should be in a technology plan and suggestions for how to proceed. However, there is only one site that Tennessee districts need look at to find what is required, and upon which criteria your plan will be evaluated. The Schools and Libraries section of the Universal Service Program is the place to find that information. Pay special attention to the five core elements of a successful school technology plan. You will use those components to analyze the technology plan of Little Creek Consolidated Schools. The Universal Service Program Schools and Libraries section provides questions to consider as you think about the five core elements. Either make a list of these questions, or bookmark this site. You should use this set of questions to guide your examination of Little Creek's plan.

Keep in mind the five core elements as well as the questions to think about as you read Little Creek School District's Technology Plan. You will be asked to participate in a discussion of their plan. Be ready to evaluate the strength of the plan in each of the five core areas. Tell what needs to be added to this plan so that all five core areas are addressed. Fair warning: The State has found a serious deficiency in Little Creek's plan.

Prepare for a whole group discussion

Now that you have decided how you would suggest that Little Creek should change their technology plan, you need to find a consultant to assist them in changing or re-writing their technology plan. Did I mention that they want this consultant to work free? Your next job will be to find places on the Internet which will help Little Creek plan for technology. You will look at four sites to determine which one would do the best job or helping Little Creek write a plan to deal with the second of the five core areas.

"The plan must have a professional development strategy to ensure that staff know how to use these new technologies to improve education or library services"

Evaluate each of the following free technology help sites only in terms of how well they would help Little Creek plan a professional development strategy. Another whole group discussion will follow this section. Be prepared to tell why you think the site would be best, and make one specific suggestion to Little Creek regarding incorporating professional development strategies into their plan.

  • Technology @ Your Fingertips from the National Center for Education Statistics describes a process for getting the best possible technology solution for your organization. At this site you will find the steps you should take to identify your technology needs, consider your options, acquire the technology, and implement a technology solution that will serve you today and provide a foundation for your organization's technology in the future.
  • Developing a School or District Technology Plan from the North Central Regional Technology in Education Consortium.
  • Education Leadership Toolkit - Change and Technology in America's Schools: A free, online technology resource for school board members. This is a project of the National School Boards Foundation implemented by NSBA's Institute for the Transfer of Technology to Education with a grant from the National Science Foundation.
  • Online School Technology Planning Guide - This Online School Technology Planning Guide provides resources and a recommended outline for district technology committees as they create, implement and update their technology plans. The New Hampshire Department of Education is responsible for approval of school district technology plans. Such approval is based on the extent to which plans address the elements described in the six major sections of this guide.
Prepare for a whole group discussion

The final piece of your preparation to report to Little Creek is to find a self assessment tool which they could use as a model. No self assessment that you find on the Internet will fit Little Creek unchanged. However, some will be better than others. To evaluate them most effectively, you must take the self assessments yourself. Each person in your group will take one of the following self assessments and be ready to recommend which one Little Creek should use. Your team must reach a consensus as to which assessment you will recommend.

  • Technology Skills Self-Assessment Survey - Whether you are a "newbie" or a "cybernaut" you will want to assess your survival skills and be certain that you have mastered those tasks that are needed in your role as a student. This self-assessment survey will help you determine those areas where you need to get help and tell you where help is available.
  • Technology Self-Assessment Tool - Used by the Massachusetts Department of Education to help teachers determine their own levels of technology proficiency and to identify personal technology professional development needs.
  • Teacher Self Assessment Scale (posted by Bellingham Washington Public Schools) - All teachers take this assessment in the spring of each year. Results are used to plan professional development opportunities. Separate assessments are provided for Elementary, Middle, and High School teachers. [These documents are available through the Wayback Machine Internet Archive. If the page doesn't load quickly click on Impatient? at the bottom right of the page.]

Take notes and come to a consensus as to which site would be the most valuable site for Little Creek to use as their model in designing a technology self assessment for their teachers.

Prepare for a whole group discussion

After the completion of the three whole group discussions your group must decide if you will do a written report in Word which will go to the granting agency, or a PowerPoint presentation which could be shown to a Little Creek town meeting.

  • Microsoft Word assignment - Produce a document which would go to the agency which granted the money for technology. Discuss each of the five core elements of a successful school technology plan. Outline a suggested professional development component for Little Creek's technology plan. Each group member will select a role; one member will be the typist, another member will be the reporter (referring to notes taken as your group prepared for each whole group discussion) and the third member will be an editor, with proofreading responsibilities.
  • Microsoft PowerPoint presentation - Prepare a presentation to show to a Little Creek town meeting. Deal with each of the five core elements of a successful school technology plan. Let the community know what professional development plan will be implemented to assist Little Creek teachers with their new technology. Focus on a vision of what this will do for the students and community. Each group member will select a role; one member will be the writer, another member will be the design artist (making suggestions about the layout of the show) and the third member will be an editor, with proof reading responsibilities.

Beginning
1

Developing
2

Accomplished
3

Exemplary
4

Score

 

Completeness of the Written Technology Plan
Two or less of the five core elements are included in the written plan submitted to the town meeting.
Three of the five core elements are included in the written plan submitted to the town meeting.
Four of the five core elements are included in the written plan submitted to the town meeting.
All five core elements are included in the written plan submitted to the town meeting.

or

 

Completeness of the Presentation designed for the Town Meeting

 

Two or less of the core elements are outlined in the slide presentation which will be shown at the town meeting
Three core elements are outlined in the slide presentation which will be shown at the town meeting
Four core elements are clearly outlined in the slide presentation which will be shown at the town meeting
All five core elements are clearly outlined in the slide presentation which will be shown at the town meeting

and

 

Contribution to the Whole Group Discussions

No one from your group contributed or one person did all of the speaking in the whole group discussions, but the remarks were not on topic
One person did all of the speaking in the whole group discussions, but few observations were offered.
Not everyone in your group contributed to the whole group discussions, but your group's observations were numerous, insightful and helpful.
All members of your group contributed significantly to the whole group discussion periods.

No real agency funding a grant in your district wants to know if it is getting its "money's worth." No actual superintendent wants to know if teachers are using technology in their instruction and whether the technology is affecting student work and motivation. None of your parents want to know if the new technology is improving standardized test scores. No district professional development coordinator wants to know the effect of training on teacher and student technology skills. Or do they? You know what the answer to that question is for your district.

Take the things you have learned as you formulated a plan for Little Creek Consolidated Schools, and begin working to improve your own school/district technology plan. Good luck. The agency, superintendent, parents and coordinator await your leadership.

A list of Technology Planning sites found on the Internet has been compiled for your use. You can access it as a reference for your own technology planning after you have returned to your school. You might also want to take a look at Technology Connections for School Improvement: Planners' Handbook originally available for download from the North Central Regional Educational Laboratory. (153 page documentThis is an Adobe Acrobat document) [This expired link is available through the Wayback Machine Internet Archive. If the page doesn't load quickly click on Impatient? at the bottom right of the page.]

See an article regarding "Implementing Technology in Education: Recent Findings from Research and Evaluation Studies," by John Cradler, Far West Laboratory. You might also want to see three PowerPoint shows based on this article: Systematic planning as an approach to technology implementation, Basic steps for applying the planned approach to technology implementation and When doing technology planning several factors must be constantly considered.

Last updated on January 1, 2012. Based on a template from The WebQuest Page

 

 

Internet4classrooms is a collaborative effort by Susan Brooks and Bill Byles.
 

  

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