“Technology access when equitable can help close the digital divide and make transformative learning opportunities available to all learners.” 2017 National Education Technology Plan Update
To personalize student learning and strengthen student academic achievement, it is important to establish and communicate a school vision that includes the effective use of technology. A critical step is to develop concrete short- and long-term goals that specify the action steps necessary to support the implementation of a technology infrastructure within the school and the integration of technology tools throughout the classroom instruction. Research indicates that schools and districts that drive the implementation of technology through the vision and goals of its leaders are more likely to be successful than those in which implementation is driven by the availability of funds.
Research to Practice
A shared vision is a critical step in creating your technology implementation plan. This statement provides a guide for maximizing student outcomes in your district and school. The leadership team will need to establish long- and short-term goals and milestones to achieve this vision. These goals provide the framework for building specific action steps to successfully integrate technology and transform your school environment and instruction in the classroom. Remember that fostering change is a multiyear process that requires patience because it involves learning new ways of “doing business.” Increase confidence and generate momentum by building feelings of success early in the process. Think about how school-level engagement will play a role during initial implementation. Thinking strategically about your goal setting and implementation planning sets the stage for success.
Tip: Start small with any technology initiative. Some districts and schools begin with the integration of new technologies in high schools during the first year, move on to middle schools during the second year. Next they move to equip students and teachers in elementary schools. Other options include starting with the lowest achieving schools, or requiring an application process that demonstrates school readiness to integrate technology.
Gather information and get buy-in
- View missions and goals written by districts around the country.
- Develop a vision statement that is clear and concise, and addresses the learning outcomes for all student subgroups (e.g., English Language Learners, students with disabilities) in the district and/or school.
- Focus on concrete, short-term goals and strive for small, early successes that build excitement for the initiative and result in sustained long-term success throughout the implementation process.
- Gather ideas from students, teachers, school board members, and parents throughout the refinement process for the district and/or school vision in order to build “buy-in,” and to ensure that the ideals of key stakeholders are represented.
- Plan for technologies that bridge the tangible and abstract by connecting physical and virtual interactions.
Describe how technology will support student learning
- Focus on goals that can enhance academic achievement and advance learning throughout the school.
- Use data-driven decision making (see Recommendation 3) to identify areas of student need, the focus of your initial and/or ongoing implementation efforts, areas of teacher need to drive professional learning opportunities, potential barriers and ways to address them, and strengths in the system that can serve as an anchor for this process.
- Base your initial implementation, roll out of new technology, and integrate of technology into the classroom on a realistic assessment of your school and district needs.
- Integrate technology to enhance informal learning experiences aligned with formal learning goals.
- Use technology to support learning opportunities outside of the brick and mortar walls; online learning opportunities can engage students and provide them with high-quality online teachers and mentors that may otherwise be outside of the school’s budget.
- Support technologies that enable learning on the peer level and create a more equitable learning environment by connecting students with resources online that they wouldn’t be able to access in their school or community.
Be strategic and systematic in how you plan to achieve identified goals
- Identify a lead for each task who will be responsible to produce detailed action steps to accomplish the goal, establish processes for monitoring implementation and making revisions (when appropriate), and develop plans to evaluating progress.
- Collect evaluation data continually so you can reset your goals as you learn and implement change.
- Keep key stakeholders apprised of changes in the vision and plans to foster a shared commitment to the short- and long- term goals.
Record and share your work with staff and parents
- Establish both short- and long-term goals for your students, teachers, and the school building as a whole.
- Develop professional learning goals that include building a collective capacity for teaching with technology, transforming teaching and learning through the use of evidence-based strategies supported by technology, and providing support on ways to incorporate new technology tools and online resources.
- Set realistic goals to identify funding sources, maintaining and procuring devices, establishing policies and procedures that maximize the use of technology.
Personalized Learning: Blurring the Line Between Assistive and Educational Technology
2017 National Education Technology Plan Update