I have begun to look at a five-year plan for a technology committee for my school. A technology committee has been started in the district, but it is not school specific and teachers were not given the chance to join- certain teachers were put on the committee. My plan would be to have a school specific technology team and in the first year the committee would be formed and begin to meet on a regular basis, approximately once or twice a month. The school specific technology committee would include people from the following groups: teachers, administrators, support staff, guidance counselors, parents, students and community members. I feel that the committee needs to be made up of a wide range of ages, abilities, backgrounds and ethnicities. This will help to ensure that the technology plan that is developed will work best for a large cross-section of people within the school community.
In the first year, the goal would be to visit other districts and see what they offer for technology for their students. It would be important to visit districts that were both similar and different from ours. We would also need to look at the technology and overall school budget of each of these districts to establish the emphasis that they place on technology budget wise. This would give us an idea of what/how much technology we can get for the money that we have available. We would also need to look into and begin to write grant proposals to acquire technology. Since I work in a low-budget, urban area school, it seems that grants should be available out there for us to get the technology that we need to get our students up to the same level as their counterparts in the suburban schools. From here, we would write goals and a technology mission statement. These proposals, goals and the mission statement would probably need to be voted on or at least presented to all the teachers within the school, the administration, the Superintendent’s Office and the Board of Education.
In year two, the goal would be to look at what kind of technology is out there and what we would like to get for our school. Preliminary research probably would have been done in year one in order to apply for grants, but this would be a more thorough process. We would be looking for feedback from teachers, staff and students about what they would like to see within the classroom and available to them during the school day. We did this at the last school that I worked at when we had some extra money at the end of the year. We actually found a lot of very cool technology out there that was very beneficial to our students. After researching the technology, the group we need to come to a consensus as to what to buy and then make those purchases. These proposals would need to again be taken before the Board of Education.
In year three, the purchases would arrive and be installed. From here, professional development days need to be arranged and implemented as soon as possible. Teachers need to be given a good, solid foundation in their use of this technology instead of just having it thrown at them and being expected to figure it out for themselves. This is when things do not get done correctly or at all. Year three will really be about learning the technology, understanding the technology and using the technology. We should begin to collect data to be analyzed.
In year four, the data collection will continue along with the data from year three analyzed. With this information in hand, we need to look at the school goals towards to technology and evaluate them. From here, the evaluation stages turns into the revision stage as we change and revise goals to meet our current needs. The needs in year one will be significantly different than the needs in year three. While the goals and mission of the committee and use of technology would be looked at and revised probably on a yearly basis, this would be the year of major revision. We would need to look at what technology is working and what can be added to supplement the existing technology.
Year five would be about continuing to collect data and analyzing it along with being to look at how technology has changed in the five years since the committee started. We would also look to evaluate the old goals and begin to create the goals for the next five years. The big thing with technology is making sure that we stay current and are aware and understanding of what the new advances in technology are.
There are two big things that I think would need to be introduced/accepted in years two and three. The first is the idea of a technology coordinator whose job would be to collaborate with teachers to integrate technology into their classrooms. Ideally, this would be someone who is a certified teacher and has classroom experience. You would be also to go to them and say something like “I am teaching xxxx concept and would like to teach it with technology. Do you have any ideas?” This coordinator’s job would be to research and help you to plan your lesson. This could even be a teacher in the department’s duty so that every department would have one. If it was their duty they would be exempt from doing study halls, cafeteria duty, ISS duty, hall duty, etc and they would just focus on helping other teachers integrate technology. The other idea is that the people in the library media center and in the computer labs work with teachers to develop lesson plan ideas that are at grade level and will be feasible to accomplish using technology. My school is lucky to have LMC people who already do this and are willing (and want to!) help in anyway possible to make the lesson work. My hope is that eventually all schools have a person/people like this.
My five year plan is something that I would really like to see work with my school so that we get the help and funding that we need to elevate our school to the next level. There is only so much that teachers can do to help students learn, succeed and achieve when they are behind in technology.