Sunday, November 17, 2013

Technology Use Planning Overview

Technology Use Planning
Technology use planning is a way to discuss and plan for current and future technology needs, goals, and learning implications. It allows for a reflection of current facilities, tools, and uses as well as a vision of what the future holds. It is a way to set forth goals for furthering learning through the use of technology and technology tools.

National Educational Technology Plan 2010
The National Educational Technology Plan 2010 is a plan that looks at five key areas: learning, assessment, teaching, infrastructure, and productivity, to transform both teaching and learning in this country. The plan addresses many shifts evident throughout the Common Core State Standards in developing 21st century skills through a variety of methodologies. The goals are ambitious and include integrating technology to provide opportunities for creating, critical thinking, problem solving, and collaboration. The plan looks at ways to incorporate individualized learning, differentiated instruction, and personalized learning opportunities effectively and efficiently. The Universal Design for Learning ensures that learning opportunities are available for students of all interests and abilities and allows for multiple ways for students to demonstrate and showcase their learning to address the variety of learners in our classrooms. The plan helps educational institutions to focus on building digital citizens that will be able to not just function, but to contribute to our digital world.

Short Term vs. Long Term
I agree that technology plans should be more short term than long term in that technology is changing so rapidly it is nearly impossible to plan for 3-5 years into the future. However, I also strongly agree that long term planning should focus on financial planning. Without resources to acquire the new technologies, or to repair and upgrade existing technology, it is very difficult to keep up with the digital learning community.

Effective Technology Plans
I agree 100% that technology plans must focus on the output rather than the input. I feel that there needs to be some attention paid to ensuring that students and teachers will have adequate access to devices, however, this should not be where the planning stops. I think that if teachers are clear on the expectations or the end result and are provided with the time, tools, support, and training to meet those expectations, student progress will accelerate at a very fast pace. Simply equipping schools and classrooms with devices with no support, professional development, or even expectations will not change anything. On the contrary, if expectations and presented and explained, and proper training and support is given, yet there is not adequate access to the technology tools and devices to carry out the plan, it will not be effective, either.

My Experience with Technology Planning
I have had very limited experiences with technology planning. My experience has been relatively informal in taking surveys or being interviewed about my current technology use and integration in the classroom and my opinions regarding changes. I have not had the opportunity to serve on either district's technology planning committees, however. In my opinion, however, the planning has focused mainly on two things: purchasing new equipment and overcoming financial barriers. I think that while it's great to get more and more equipment and devices, without training or time to focus on transforming instruction, the potential learning benefits will continue to go unnoticed. It is also frustrating when there has been no planning for maintaining and servicing the equipment and devices that are available. I think it's great to have committees to talk about technology, I think that the focus of those committees needs to shift just as our instruction needs to shift with the implementation of the Common Core State Standards. When these things happen, I think the potential for student growth and success will increase tremendously.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Digital Inequality

This assignment was very applicable to my school's situation. I was surprised with the number of families and households that have some internet access, but was not surprised that the majority of African-Americans and Latinos have access via a cell phone. While mobile devices are great, mobile computing has some limitations. In my previous district, there was a huge push toward 1:1 computing with a lot of talk about Bring Your Own Device. There was no plan as to how to level the playing field for students who could not bring in a mobile learning device, and no thought about solutions to families who can not afford internet service, or families with multiple students all needing devices. In my current school where nearly 100% of families qualify for free or reduced lunch, there is no talk of mobile learning devices beyond our 25 laptops that are shared by 6 classrooms of 20-30 students each. While many families have cell phones, many are prepaid or do not allow access to the internet, and many get turned on and off quite frequently. Computing on a cell phone does not offer all capabilities as computing on other mobile devices. While I found that in the United States, the digital divide isn't necessarily about being able to access an internet connection, but is now about the type of device that the capabilities and limitations of those devices.

Link to Presentation Link to Voicethread