Technology use planning is an essential method of preparing users to engagingly implement the use of technology in curriculum. At the heart of a technology plan is a document created by a planning committee. This document lays out a roadmap that guides schools on their path to implementing educational goals. Because technology skills are becoming increasingly important in our daily lives, it is vital that we prepare our students for this environment. Creating a technology use plan will enable schools to envision what role technology will play, choose what technologies will be used, and implement and assess the blending of these tools.
The new NET “plan recognizes that technology is at the core of virtually every aspect of our daily lives and work, and we must leverage it to provide engaging and powerful learning experiences and content, as well as resources and assessments that measure student achievement in more complete, authentic, and meaningful ways.” (NETP, 2010) In order to achieve this leveraging of technology, we must first start with a vision for the future. This vision will be based on research and the needs of the stakeholders. It will aim the school on a long-term mission. Once a set of objectives has been stated, a timeline should be established that schedules when these objectives should be met. Next, the technology needed to reach these objectives must be installed. Of course simply installing the hardware is not enough. Technology should be seen as an enhancement of the curriculum, an enabler of learning. In order to achieve this, the plan should address methods of professional development for staff and provide support for teachers. As John See states in Developing Effective Technology Plans, “When teachers are aware of the types of technology and applications available we can begin to show them how to integrate technology into the curriculum, to help them teach what they are teaching now, only more efficiently and effectively.” (1992) Additionally, the plan should be seen as a kind of living document, one that is always being evaluated and updated to address current best practices and new technologies. By doing this, the long-term mission will be supported by short-term planning.
Educational institutions require fundamental standards in order to create a foundation. The NETP can be seen as an exceptional foundation and allows schools to reflect, in their own environments, the vision and goals established in the NETP. This excellent source of information provides five core models of learning. These are: learning, assessment, teaching, infrastructure, and productivity. Each of these goals is supported with specific standards to allow for easy adaptation.
As I stated above, technology, in itself, does not address the standards established by the NETP. Technology is a tool that must be used appropriately. I do not own a hammer simply because I enjoy pounding nails. I use a hammer to allow me to build. Much like the hammer, technology is used to build knowledge. When considering a technology use plan, understanding the application of the technology is crucial. The technology must meet the needs of the intended use. Hardware does not equal education. For example, about three years ago, my university decided that my office and those of my colleagues should be equipped with 42” TV. There was a new administration in the Blue House (Korea’s White House) and a massive sum of money was dumped into the public education system specifically to promote English language education. Throughout the country, 20,000 native speakers were hired and enormous sums were spent on hardware. My school hired four new teachers and reduced our class sizes from 16 to 8 allowing us to teach in our offices. For a couple years, this was great. However, within three years, class sizes went back up to 16 and those TVs now sit, unused, gathering dust and taking up space. On top of that, because we would no longer be teaching in our offices, rooms that previously had no technology were fitted with larger screen TVs (42 was not big enough), speakers, audio systems and computers. In essence, the school went through the process twice and wasted money. Unfortunately, I have very little to do with my universities technology plan. But from what I have seen, if there is money to be spent, the administration will spend it or risk losing that money in future budgets. I question how much planning goes into technology purchasing decisions.
It seems to me that technology use planning is important and requires genuine inquiry and vision. In my current position living in Korea and experiencing an education system that enforces a top-down, sage on the stage approach, I have much hope for the transformative power engaging, relevant and personalized technology integration may have on the Korean classrooms of the future.
Graduate Students at Mississippi Sate University. (1996). Guidebook for developing an effective instructional technology plan. Retrieved from: http://www.nctp.com/downloads/guidebook.pdf
See, J. (1992, May). Developing effective technology plans. The Computing Teacher, 19, (8). Retrieved from: http://www.nctp.com/html/john_see.cfm
U.S. Department of Education Office of Educational Technology. (2010). National education technology plan. Washington D.C: Author. Retrieved from: http://www.ed.gov/sites/default/files/netp2010.pdf