Technology Goals: Part of School Vision or Disjointed Add-On?

written by Shaelynn Farnsworth

Starting my new job as a School Improvement Consultant has provided experiences, resources and reflection opportunities as to what role technology plays in a School’s Improvement Plan and aiding in student achievement.

With so many Iowa Schools implementing a 1:1 education environments my experiences are vast and differentiated. Just as with any initiative, there are stellar examples of implementation and other examples that need to be reassessed and refocused. During my graduate work (focusing on multiliteracies and a ubiquitous technology environment in the English classroom), I cited the well known work of the New London Group which claimed by  not providing students access to technology it can be detrimental to their educational and career options. Bill Cope and Mary Kalantzis acknowledge a growing disadvantage of students educated in environments with limited technology access and experience, “not all groups will have ready access to the new technologies, and, in consequence, many will be disadvantaged in an increasingly competitive and shrinking labour market where computing and range or communication and technological skills are considered fundamental”(91).

When communities, districts and staff allocate major resources and time to be invested in technology to aid in student learning, not considering relevant and sustained implementation/PD throughout all curricular areas increases the chance of failure within a school. Technology integration is dichotic in that it is both unique and universal. Effective integration in the classroom largely depends on culture of the school, teacher knowledge and access to professional development, and meaningful/relevant curricular work. Nothing “kills” a student’s engagement more than busy work, forced technology use, or projects that require no universal uses outside of the school environment.

Hence,,, the topic at hand. Is Your school’s technology inclusion (whether 1:1 or not) part of your school’s vision? Should it be? How can it be?  Here are some questions for consideration:

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1. What roles can tech integration play in a School’s Vision and/or School Improvement Plan?

2. What are some examples of utilizing technology effectively to help aid in achieving a School’s goals or vision?

3. Why does technology integration fail in some schools?

4. What supports do teachers and students need to achieve goals?

5. How does a school know if successful technology integration is practiced and achieved? What data can be collected?

6. How can technology integration goals as part of a school’s vision be communicated to all stakeholders?

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