Thursday, July 25, 2013

School Evaluation Summary

This has been a great assignment to end this course with as well as the summer.  I have enjoyed the fact that I have spent hours analyzing where our school is, what we need to do to improve and even have some great resources to put that plan into action in the upcoming school year.

Knowing of these technology Master Benchmarks is a wonderful resource that I didn't know even existed.  Our district had formal technology plans as of 5 years ago because the federal government wouldn't allot monies if you didn't have each school provide them.  We complied beautifully.  However, when it's not "required," many schools didn't produce them.  At this same time, there were severe cutbacks to our technology teacher positions in our building and our district.  I think that is where the ball got dropped and never picked up again.  

Technology isn't a fad.  It isn't going away.  It is here and forming a plan is a "Must Do" for our staff at our school.  Regardless of what is required, after this assignment, I know that this is best practices for technology improvement.  We won't see 100% of the success we deserve and work hard for if a plan isn't in place.  I want to share my survey and my evaluation with my principal and people at the district level.  There is perhaps a district technology policy but I couldn't find one.  This probably should be shared at the school level so that we know the direction we are going in.  There is obviously a district budget that this year has provided additional monies to schools computers that are outdated and no longer able to run programs effectively.  They have also provided additional monies to bump up the wireless capabilities for all schools. And they have provided money for a cohort of "blended learning" classrooms to study this model and see where it fits within our district.  So I know that we are moving ahead.  I am sure glad that I am moving in the right direction as well.

School Survey

School Evaluation Summary

Monday, July 22, 2013

Technology Use Planning Overview

Defining Technology Use Planning

After reading through many definitions of technology use planning, I decided to combine what I thought best.  Dr. Larry S. Anderson, Founder/Director
National Center for Technology Planning states, “Technology planning is a comprehensive activity, centered on a robust process, that is, indeed, much more than computers. We must focus upon the plan, the planning, and the potential.”  

I loved the plan, the planning and the potential part of what he said.  He went on to say that this definition is a noun and a verb.  Most define it too narrowly.
It should be  planning document that is to be considered a “working” document:  one that is always under construction as new information is presented and new developments occur.  This plan should be about people not just hardware.  As planning occurs we need to seek evidence of progress.  This evidence won’t  be found in standardized testing, either.  An iPad or Chromebook will not make our test scores higher. Dr. Larry S. Anderson in Technology planning:  It’s more than computers, states:

    “Planners must commit themselves to shed any defensive feelings they
    might have, or be threatened to adopt, as they examine their particular situation.
    True, sustainable growth comes from facing the honest reality of a condition,
    then working together to build a strategy for guaranteed success.”

Among other things, a technology use plan should address the following:  Measurable goals and objectives behind purchasing and implementation.  We can’t just want the latest and greatest if it doesn’t fit our needs. We need a vision and philosophy behind technology use in the district, where are we going and how do we get there.
Setting aside budget for implementation of technology is important because the application is very important and can’t be forgotten.  Student and teacher uses for the technology and policies mapped out for those uses and expectations is a must.  Equipment to be purchasing and maintenance along with a sustained budget for upkeep and upgrades for infrastructures and devices should be stated.  Professional development for teachers to integrate new technologies and feel comfortable incorporating those within their classroom is one of the most important when planning for technology.

Effectiveness of the NETP 2010 as a Resource

The National Education Technology Plan 2010 can be a powerful resource to when designing and writing a technology use plan.  The NETP 2010 provides a foundation about the kinds of outputs that should be expected of students and educators.  It also gives clear guidance as to the kinds of infrastructure required to implement 21st Century technologies.  Another influential aspect of the NETP is the process that the writers utilized when brainstorming and drafting the report.  This collaboration piece could serve as a powerful model for any district or school that is working on their plan.  It is imperative that schools don’t wait for others to take action.  They must be proactive in designing and implementing a technology use plan.

John See’s Article Response

In Developing Effective Technology Plans, author John See states his belief that technology plans are more effective when written for shorter periods of time.  His belief is that technology advances too fast to try to draw up five-year plans.  His idea is that a one year plan is best. Well, I do agree that with the changes in technology and integration within a classroom is constantly changing, I think that in composing the plan, one could include the aspects of short and long term goals.  No one plans to fail, but many fail to plan.  Therefore, in having five year goals in mind can give the staff or district direction in which to move forward.  However, the details and changes that occur within a school should be flexible enough that change occurs in the plan and is even expected.  

I believe successful technology plans include a balance between student applications and technological advances.  I worry that if application is the only concern then schools might hesitate in purchasing new devices or allowing a “BYOD” policy by saying they are able to work without the new adoptions.  This could leave students behind in terms of their competency for using new technologies. With the newest standards written and adopted by our state, we will be required to test all students on computers for any standardized test given.  We need to make sure applications are in place as well as hardware for this to happen.  

My Own Personal Experience involved in Tech Use Planning

I have currently served on Tarver’s Technology Team for the past five years.  During the first year, we did have a technology plan that was a five year plan.  I do remember it.  This plan was very much about inventory of computer and what we needed for replacements.  It was definitely not a plan of application.  Even though the past four years we haven’t had a plan, we have been using more of a one year plan and taking inventory of what teachers need when it comes to devices, training and knowledge.  However, we have made some mistakes because of this.  We bought 20 Aver Pens that no one ever used.  The training that the company provided was mediocre at best.  The staff didn’t see the value of that purchase.  But, we learn from our mistakes.  This past year, we have put together a very good technology plan for our staff.  We have kept in mind many factors so that we can provide technology leadership for our district.  This plan isn’t written down, it’s just ideas pulled together.  After this study, I will be able to stress the importance of a plan and the key components to make it successful.
Dr. Sanders and John F Perry Jr. make an important and vital point in their writing Technology Planning: Recipe for Success.  They bring up the point that there needs to be a progress report as to the success, or lack of success, in regards to the  implementation of the technology use plan.  Too often schools will adopt a program or educational tool with little follow up as to how it is working.  They state, “If we are going to allocate hundreds of planning hours and thousands of dollars in an attempt to modernize education, then we must be willing to report successes and failures throughout the process.”  Being honest and evaluating applications and roll outs, can be very powerful  in making sure everyone is doing their part in the “plan”.  It also allows for direction and next steps for the staff in regards to training, implementation, applications and devices. I think the reflection piece is an extremely valuable one, that my staff should find time to do.


Anderson, L. S., (1999). Technology planning:  It’s more than computers. Retrieved from

Anderson, L. S., & Perry, J. (1994). Technology planning: Recipe for success. Retrieved

See, J. (1992). Developing effective technology plans. The Computer Teacher, 19(8)    

National Education Technology Plan 2010. (2010).Transforming American education:
earning powered by technology.Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Education,
Office of Educational Technology.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Digital Inequality

     Reflecting on this assignment of Digital Divide includes many parts.  I really wanted to study the relationship between the haves and the have nots.  I wanted to show how giving money to the Title I schools for technology and not to the working poor schools that don't get extra funding, made technology inequality very apparent to me.  However, after studying all the data on the education rate of Colorado, the test scores of 8th graders in Colorado, the state and federal spending of education in Colorado, I didn't come to that conclusion.  What I did come to conclude is that technology needs to reduce inequality within the haves and the have nots. We as a nation need to make sure that we consciously make efforts to bridge this divide because as I have learned in all this research, we certainly don't need to make it worse.  
     It's very apparent to me that we need to make sure to integrate technology into the lives of our students.  We will be having online testing in Colorado starting in 2014.  There will not be additional funding to make this happen.  If you only have a lab of 30 computers in your school, you will find that your technology integration will be very sparse with all of the mandatory tests our students will be taking online.  I was happy to see some solutions to these difficulties as I learned many resources that our state has in place to build this gap and get everyone access.
     The digital skills of our students need to be embedded as natural as picking up a pencil or turning on the lights in our classrooms. We need to use technology to create, curate and develop those higher thinking skills so that this innovative platform can live up to the promise of building the technology future with the lives of today.  
     As you will see in the video, I really focused on how we will be getting access to the internet to those that don't have it.  It was also very clear to me that the quality of access is as important as the access itself.  That will have to be another voice thread, another day.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

EDTECH Challenges

The challenge that educators are facing today because technology training is not available or put in the forefront of purchasing devices is a big one that can be addressed in various ways. While things are quickly being developed in the educational technology world, it is even hard for someone like me, who has a passion for it, to keep up.  It seems like we all need to change our mindset from a fixed to a growth mindset when it comes to technology.

Last year, our district adopted Google Apps for Education in the spring.  We had one training on email and that was it.  I created my own PLN, watch this video to see explination, and started to build it using twitter and googgle+.  I then attended the Google Rocky Mountain Summit and my eyes to Google Apps for Education became wide open.  I embraced the new technology and learned as much as I could, even applying to the Google Teacher Academy in December.  My own drive and dedication to this new process was not embraced by my peers in the same way that I had embraced it.  I then realized that the training we didn't receive on Google Apps, didn't make people run out there to discover it on their own.  In fact, they just were not educated about the tools that could help them in so many ways in their instruction and in their student's lives.  They didn't know, what they didn't know.

Overcoming this challenge that everyone is facing is tricky and there is no one solution.  Teaching about PLN, EdCamps, and other various resources that are available will get some to discover many incredible strategies used in technology,  However, I believe that choice is the way to go.  Giving people choices of what they want to learn is imperative in creating a growth mindset.  There is that other challenge though of "you don't know, what you don't know".  To overcome this, you must have your lead teachers, technology team leaders, Google Certified Teachers, and anyone who can showcase what new tip or technique they are using with technology to others.  This sparks interest and gets more people to move forward on the technology train.

My plan of action is clearly stated in the video.

NMC Horizon Report K-12 2013