Friday, May 22, 2009

No more technology plans

I just finished compiling a district Technology Plan - actually a "long range plan".  Yep, really!  We are still required to plan for technology for 3 or more years.  A committee of dedicated folks worked hard to put their goals onto paper.  The process had some valuable outcomes:

  • We had time to reflect on teaching and learning
  • We discussed possibilities and collaborated on our dreams
  • We did some analysis and inventories of technology availability and its uses

But while answering the 'required 14 questions', we bogged down.  The excellent conversations stopped.  The result of our work should have been a Plan for Learning - actually Individual Student Plans for Learning.  Part of these plans would be the technology deemed best suited to meet the goals and aspiration of the student herself.  Don't get me wrong, I think that many of the points we are required to address are good ones:
"Strategies for Improving Academic Achievement and Teacher Effectiveness" and "Professional Development" for example.  I just take issue with needing to plan for purchases 3 years down the road - how do we "Identify Necessary Technology" or "Promote various Curricula and Teaching Strategies that Integrate Technology" without knowing the Plan for Learning?

Technology is evolving at such a rapid pace, it is nearly impossible to even stay familiar with the possibilities, let alone plan for them.  When I first started in this game, a plan was a helpful way to move a district and community toward purchases.  Today that is rapidly becoming moot.  U.S. schools with no computers are a rarity. As we move into the era of netbooks, smartphones, wireless access and clouds, planning for technology has become an oxymoron.  I hope that this is the final time I need to "plan for technology".  I do plan on researching technologies for learning as part of every day and every decision.

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