“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four hours sharpening the axe.”- Unknown
What does an Educational Technology Integration Plan look like? More importantly, what does your Educational Technology Integration Plan look like?
In our previous section on School District Snapshots, we learned the importance of having a group of educational stakeholders take a step back to ask themselves and the community a variety of questions about what they would like to see in classrooms. The Educational Technology Integration Plan is simply the plan and roadmap that a district will use to guide them in meeting the needs, goals, and recommendations of a school district's Strategic Plan. In this section, we will break down the components of an Educational Technology Integration Plan and prepare a plan to create each of the sections of this document as a district.
What is an Educational Technology Integration Plan?
Every year, a school district, in all its building and departmental components, goes through a rigorous budgeting process. During this process, the Director of Technology, and the IT Department list all hardware and applications that are needed to run the school district both from a management and instructional side. In this document, it may also provide an inventory of what devices and other types of hardware are in the district and available to use along with which pieces of hardware are sunsetting and being removed from district inventory. Where each school district might have a similar or separate system for these types of metrics, every district has something similar. Traditionally, this document is called a Technology Plan.
As previously mentioned, every district in some capacity creates a Technology Plan but the question always should be asked, “What happens to all of this technology once it’s in the district?” This is where the Educational Technology Plan comes in.
The Educational Technology Plan is a document that shows off not what but how technology is going to be used in a district. It is a roadmap for not just how to use educational technology and best practices in teaching through digital learning standards, but also provides a roadmap for how staff members will be trained in using the technology.
Is an Educational Technology Plan also known as a Professional Development Plan? I would argue that these two things are not the same thing at all however, it might be argued that there can be many overlapping components to the two plans and that they should absolutely be written in tandem with each other so that a school district has both their left hand and right hands speaking with each other.
How Should the Plan’s Plan be Created?
At this point in the development process of creating an Educational Technology Integration Plan, a district is still in the planning stage. For this reason, the full district should be involved and included on the process of creating an outline for what the final document should look like and what will be included in it.
There are several steps that should be undertaken when planning an outline for the final document.
- Step 1: Review and discuss the district Strategic Plan and once again ask the question, “How do we want to respond to these goals and meet the needs of our students?”
- Step 2: Review and discuss the findings in the District Snapshot. Make a list of everything that someone says is great about the district and everything that has been identified as needing improvement.
- Step 3: Identify each key member of the district and assign them a task based on their areas of expertise and if possible, partner them up with another member of the district to collaborate on future tasks in this process.
- Step 4: Assign groups and committees to compose the remaining steps of the process.
- Step 5: Create an Outline of what the district would like to see in the final Educational Technology Integration Plan.
- Step 6: Set short-term and long-term goals for planning, communicating, and create a meeting calendar to assist in project management.
What Does an Outline Look Like?
When a district is in the beginning stages of creating its Educational Technology Integration Plan, there are several variables facing them and it is possible that the outline will change over time.
Here is an example of what an Educational Technology Integration Plan Outline might look like as the process begins.
- Presentation Overall Question to be Answered:
- Possible Question:
- Possible Answer:
- Materials Required for Project Completion:
- Hardware / Applications
- Time Considerations
- Material Considerations
- Staffing Considerations
- Possible Essential Questions:
- How Do You Want to Solve the Essential Question?
- What is The Guiding Force Behind These Decisions?
- Strategic Plan
- District Mission and Vision Statement
- What do we want every staff member to know as district employees?
- How do we know that they know or don’t know it?
- What are the supporting Standards that we are trying to meet?
- The baseline of Knowledge:
- What do we think everyone currently knows?
- What does the district want to have professional development look like?
- How will Professional Learning Work?
- How will the district get buy-in and support for professional development?
Ready … Set …. Let’s Get Started!
The hardest part of starting a journey is the moment that requires getting ready to begin the journey. This is where we are right now.
In our first section, we discussed the creation of a comprehensive District Snapshot that provides a baseline of data for where the district currently is. It provides a clear picture for the district to look at its Strategic Plan and ask if the Plan's goals are being met and begin the conversation to determine what steps need to be taken to get to where it wants to be.
In this second step, a district creates an outline for what they would like their final document to untimely look like. When finalized they will have not only a story of where they have been but what projects they will be working on for the months ahead.
In the next step in the process, we are going to look at the formation of an Essential Question. This Essential Question will act like a Bat-Signal pulling all the projects that a district undertakes into one single focal point that is agreed upon by not just district leadership, but by the entire community.