As a technology leader in my school, I was sure how to plan for technology. We are in the process of planning for an adaption of iPads in our middle school over the next 2-3 years. After reading the articles assigned with this assignment though, I have come to the realization that my previous experiences are off a little.
In my experience as an educator, I have strived to allow my students to be creative and foster skills that will allow them to be more prepared for this century. The National Education Plan 2010 is geared towards these skills. As stated by Secretary Duncan, “we want to develop inquisitive, creative, resourceful thinkers; informed citizens; effective problem-solvers; groundbreaking pioneers; and visionary leaders (NETP 1).” These are the skills I am ingraining in my students.
While the report talks about a good talk about increasing creativity in our students, the power of the report lies in the areas of assessment and data collection. As I have found with any decision that is made by public institutions, it all has to deal with assessment. This valuable tool is used by policy makers to make all the decisions. Therein lies the problem too. Too many decisions are driven by data that can be skewed by results. In my opinion, we need to make policies based on what is best for our students, not what some data collected over time tells us. As we know from technology, it is an ever changing field, and decisions based on data collection is not necessarily the right course to follow.
Another article associated with our assignment was an article as old as my first Macintosh. John See wrote an article back in 1992 about how to efficiently implement a technology plan. I found this article more valuable than the NETP 2010 because this document was written by someone with field experience. See brings up two arguments when discussing effective technology plans; length of term and focus on curriculum.
The first argument See discusses is the need for short term adaptation plans versus a long term adaptation plan. I am in agreement with him. As he says, “Newer, more powerful, low cost technology may be available to replace what you have specified in your plan (See).” As I have been on both sides of this of a technology plan as a worker and planner, I have seen technology bonds go to bust for this very reason. In the technology world it is changing at a very rapid rate, so you need to plan accordingly. You need to have a plan that will help you keep up your current technology and replace what is dying. I have seen this done well and also not done well.
The other main argument See brings up is technology needs to focus on application of content not just purchasing new technology. I have been fortunate enough to presenter on this very topic across the country. I speak on how our children need to become more creators of content than consumers. This is what Mr. See is speaking too. If you purchase computers to create a computer lab, then make sure you are purchasing the right equipment for the job. Too many times schools purchase a specific device because it seems to be the right tool for the job, when in fact, something else could be better for what you are trying to get your students to accomplish.
While both reports bring up great information, I think its important for those who make the decisions keep in mind that the students and teachers are going to be using these devices everyday. Their input should be first and foremost the key factor to what is going to happen in your school or district.
National Education Technology Plan 2010 retrieved from http://www.ed.gov/technology/netp-2010
See, John. “Developing Effective Technology Plans”. The Computing Teacher, Vol 19, Number 8, May 1992. Retrieved from http://www.nctp.com/html/john_see.cfm