Technology is everywhere, and it has become an integral and routine part of daily life. Over the past two decades, the use of computers, interactive whiteboards, and multimedia, as well as access to the Internet, has grown exponentially in K–12 classrooms and will continue to flourish. Despite this reality, however, many schools continue to face challenges related to developing and rolling out a schoolwide plan to implement technology. Furthermore, teachers need professional learning opportunities that explore how to integrate technology tools to support their classroom instruction, personalize student learning, and support the diverse needs of all students in the inclusive classroom, particularly struggling students and students with disabilities.
The importance of developing a multiyear comprehensive plan for how the school will approach the process of implementing technology cannot be overstated. A critical first step is assessing the readiness of your district and/or school for change. The information that you learn during this initial step can guide you in your decisions throughout the planning phase and ensure that you are addressing the unique needs, and building on the unique strengths, within your context.
What are the options?
Part of assessing readiness is getting a sense of the current technology landscape in your school. What technology tools do you have in the school, and how are teachers using these tools? As with teaching, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to school-wide technology implementation. Schools have demonstrated success with a wide range of approaches to technology implementation, from one-to-one computing or Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) to interactive whiteboards and rolling laptop carts. Each model of technology usage has its own benefits and challenges. Identifying your approach allows you to gauge the amount of resources currently invested in classroom technologies and the prevalence of these technologies across the school, and it will provide a sense of what your staff thinks about the role of technology in instruction. From this foundation, you will create your plan for enhancing technology implementation in the building and technology integration in the classroom.
Once you have a handle on where you are, work through our six Implementation Recommendations to help you plan where you're going next!