EDTECH 501 – Technology Use Planning Overview

When reviewing the process of technology use planning, I began to examine the definition and description of the act itself. In short, technology use planning is both a formal document and structured implementation process that details an institution or organization’s plan, vision, and mission for the integration of technology into their educational or business model. According to researchers Abdullah S. Al-Weshail, et al. (1996), “[t]he purpose of technology planning is not just to produce a document, but to produce continuous action that creates and maintains a technology-rich educational environment” (p. 9). At its foundation, technology use planning can benefit institutions and organizations by ensuring that the right technology is used for the right job at the right time. Additionally, this planning process provides a blueprint on how a school or company can ensure completion of its daily tasks and future goals. Furthermore, technology use planning involves trying to forecast an institution or organization’s future technological needs, and, ultimately, preparing for how those needs will be met. Thus, it is easy to see that technology use planning is a powerful part of how an institution develops their specific strategic objectives. In fact, technology use planning could not be possible without the aid of effective and powerful resources.

Essentially, the National Educational Technology Plan is one of those powerful resources that makes technology use planning effective. In short, the NETP provides an overview of the country’s educational outlook. In fact, it provides recommendations of technology use through the outlining of specific goals and assessments. Specifically, the National Educational Technology Plan’s recommendations provide tangible ideas for the use of technology in the classroom. For example, section 3.1 of the NETP suggests the expansion of accessibility opportunities of technology-based resources and tools as a viable component of an effective technology use plan (2010). Furthermore, the NETP’s ideas can be easily adapted to fit any future change in technology. In other words, the NETP’s proposed ideas on technology integration were made general enough to consider any technological change in the future. Additionally, through specified timelines and outlines, the NETP provides numerous evaluation methods to gauge the success of a particular technology. In essence, the organization provides benchmarks in measuring professional and educational development. Obviously, these benchmarks are a critical part of technology use planning. Basically, valuable resources, like the NETP, are effectively responsible for facilitating a number of quantitative results in technology use planning. In any organization, the analysis of professional and educational development is critical to the long-term and short-term objectives existent within an organization’s tech use plan.

According to the Guidebook for Developing an Effective Instructional Technology Plan (Al-Weshail, et al., 1996), “technology planning is long-term and continuous” (p. 9). In fact, Al-Weshail and his fellow researchers believe that all of the goals present in a tech use plan are long-term objectives within an equally long and arduous journey. In other words, scholars like Al-Weshail believe that a tech use plan is foundationally made-up of long-term objectives. In fact, according to authors Jody Britten and Jerrel Cassady (2006), tech use plans have to be thought of in terms of long-term objectives because the teacher or trainers themselves often have to learn the proposed technology they are expected to use or teach (p. 50). Thus, they believe long-term objectives are the more realistic approach to technology change within an organization or institution. Nevertheless, while many researchers and scholars only view technology use plans in terms of long-term objectives; there is a school of thought that values the use of short-term objectives over any other proposed method.

In short, according to researcher John See (1992), effective technology plans are short term, not long term because of the constantly changing technological landscape. In fact, I would have to agree with this assessment. In other words, in the field of technology, short-term objectives allow an institution or organization continual reassessments of its chosen technology and its price (See, 1992). Furthermore, by providing students, educators, or employees with short-term objectives; an institution or organization provides an individual with a more frequent means to evaluate or assess their performance in reaching technology use objectives. In fact, Professors John Pearce and Richard Robinson (2008) state that short-term objectives are quantifiable outcomes that are expected to be reached within a year or less (p. 305). Additionally, short-term objectives ensure that individuals have the proper training and skills in their specific role or department within an organization. Short-term objectives, in a sense, allow developing and implementing programs to improve student and educator performance and satisfaction, which in turn, boosts quality and productivity. For example, by implementing a quarterly, technology improvement program for all educators within an institution, an administrator not only ensures that he or she has the most qualified and efficient staff, but he or she also ensures everyone’s training on new technology and innovation are up to par. Thus, by continually monitoring and developing, short-term objectives; an organization is not only able to evaluate the ongoing effectiveness of its technology, but also its applications.

Next, another component in John See’s “Developing Effective Technology Plans” article I agree with is the notion that effective tech use plans focus on applications and not the technology. In short, applications are the foundational tasks that must be learned in each functional area of technology to ensure overall computer literacy. Essentially, this aspect of the planning process is essential in minimizing the impact of uncertainty in a constantly changing work environment (Pearce & Robinson, 2008, p. 305). Essentially, within any industry, learning a skill or application is more important than the technology itself. Furthermore, by teaching an application, educators provide students with both new skills and an instinctive understanding of the technology itself. In fact, students will instinctively learn the technology by using it to operate the application. Ultimately, I believe this approach to tech use planning will always provide successful outcomes to each and every individual.

Finally, when examining my individual outcomes with regards to technology use planning, I am reminded of my organizations long, fundraising effort to secure a new sound board for the school’s multimedia class. Essentially, after taking literally half a year to decide on the model, the school began fundraising efforts and set its sights on a large, expensive analogue board. Basically, because the general staff did not have any understanding of the proposed technology, they never questioned the extremely large price tag and the outdated technology. Additionally, because they did not employ the short-term objectives approach, they never had another individual review the initial decision or the allocated expenses. Fortunately, almost two years later, right before they were to make the purchase; I was hired and asked to complete the order and to install it. Obviously, after looking over the proposed purchase; I immediately presented my superiors with a number of reasons why this technology would no longer be useful to the students and offered multiple, cheaper alternatives that would provide more valuable applications. In short, the administration, with its newfound information, immediately delayed the purchase until the next board meeting. In the end, with a more thorough explanation of the technology and its use, the school board approved the immediate purchase of a cheaper, more applicable board for the students and saved a great deal of money in the process. Thus, I believe that my example illustrates the importance of technology use planning. Ultimately, it is technology use planning along with effective recommendations, short-term objectives, and functional application that makes technology integration possible.

References:

Al-Weshail, A. S., Baxter, A., Cherry, W., Hill, E. W., Jones, II, C. R., Love, L. T.,
. . .Montgomery, F. H. (1996, May 7). Guidebook for developing an effective instructional technology plan: Version 2.0. Mississippi State University. Retrieved from http://www.nctp.com/downloads/guidebook.pdf

Britten, J., & Cassady, J. (2005). The technology integration assessment instrument understanding planned use of technology by classroom teachers. Computers in the Schools, 22(3), 49-61.

Pearce, J., & Robinson, R. (2008). Strategic management: formulation, implementation, & control. (11th edition). New York: McGraw-Hill Irwin

See, J. (1992). Developing effective technology plans. The Computing Teacher, 19(8). Retrieved from http://www.nctp.com/html/john_see.cfm

U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Technology. (2010).
Transforming american education: Learning powered by technology.
Washington, DC: U.S.