Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Planning For Next Year...10 Tips For Technology Leaders

As the school year winds down, those involved with Technology Planning, inevitably turn to thinking about where the program has gone this year and where we want it to go next year. If you are like my district, your school or district has a survey to ask all stakeholders about the current state of the technology program, whether or not goals were met, and what sorts of focus there should be for next year.

As you analyze the current state of your program there are a few things to keep in mind as you plan for next year. Scholastic has come up with a great list of 10 Tips for School Technology Planning. Here are a few highlights;

Keep First Things First- Just because it's a cliché doesn't mean it's not true. The best touchstone in times of uncertainty is your school or district's core mission — whether it's the one framed inside the lobby or the one everyone who works there just knows. Before you add one more computer or one more software license to your stockpile, ask yourself how it fits into the larger picture and meets your goals."How will this help raise test scores in math? How will this improve students' reading levels?" If there's no good answer to the question at hand, skip the initiative or move it down the priority list

Think Open- One of the emerging themes in education technology is the ability of your boxes, wires, and software to work together with any other boxes, wires, or software. From interoperability to true open source, the move is away from proprietary systems that force you to go back to one vendor for every new need. Always be on the lookout for ways to make your technology plan as open and flexible as possible — even if it means having fewer goodies in the short term.

Think Fat- You just can't have too much bandwidth these days, especially as the Internet and intraschool networking become essential parts of day-to-day activities. Upgrading your schools' connection to the Internet, linking your facilities together in a fast WAN, and beefing up your LANs should be near the top of your priority list every year.

Learn From A Kid- As important as it is to have your top staff members involved in the school's technology enterprise, there is no substitute for the student's-eye view. A computer-savvy sixth grader can show you more of what is happening now, and will be happening in the future, than any collection of experts. For best results, do this in the student's home setting where technology is not limited by your school's current plan. It will require courage on your part to admit what you don't know, but it will give you the insight you need to chart a successful course into the future of technology.

So those are just a few tips to keep in mind. For the rest of the list head on over to Scholastic and get planning for a great school year!

10 Tips For School Technology Planning

Image Courtesy Flickr Creative Commons


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