Planning for the future is a pain

As the school’s Technology Coordinator I am sort of in charge of the school’s Technology Strategy Plan.  This is the document that the State requires that outlines the school’s technology plan for the future and how we plan to implement it.  Typically the plan is a three year forecast of what we want to do in the way of technology.  Once a year we supposedly go through this and update it.  Over the last few years we have been getting an annual grant that has made the Plan way out of date.  The Plan had us getting 1 or 2 Smartboards a year.  This year we got 7.  Same with laptops and iPads.  The Plan is defunct.  When we had little in the way of technology the plan was fairly easy to build.  So many Smartboards per year, so many iPads or laptops for classrooms per year and so on.  Now we are pretty much saturated.  Now what do we plan for?  Replacements for stuff that is going to wear out?  I am hoping the laptops are going to last five years.  Replacement Smartboards?  Those seem to last about ten years.  Plan for technology that we do not know exists yet?  That one is a bit tricky.  Last night I was sitting on my couch thinking of where we want the kids and the teachers to be tech-wise in 3 years that they are not at now.  I hit a wall.

Most of the kids in the high school have a laptop or iPad.  If they do not I have loaners.  We are close to 1-1 and are presently looking at making it a policy that a kid has to have a device available if a teacher wants them to use it in class.  Pretty much like bringing their book to class, they may not open it but they do have to have it available.  The high school wireless system is up to the projected capacity.  Can’t do much planning there.

As far as classroom tech we are reaching saturation.  Teachers that want or can use Smartboards have them.  All teachers have computers although some need to be replaced due to age.  I do need a replacement plan so there is something that can go in the tech plan.

Those teachers that want a classroom set of devices (iPads and laptops) will have them after this year.

The biggest thing I can see that needs help is curriculum.  That is not something that goes on the Plan but is the most influential and the most influenced by the influx of technology in a classroom.  Thank the powers to be that is not my can of worms.

Can I (or should I) plan for Google Glass?  Might be fun but probably not educationally or economically feasible.  What else is out there I should be planning for?

Planning for technology is always an interesting puzzle.  What works and what does not work to actually improve teaching and learning?  My school is a very low budget private school.  We try to keep our tuition low enough so the average family can afford to send their kids to our school.  As a result I have to be very confident that the technology we buy will generate a big bang for the buck and also have good longevity.  As the school tech expert I feel I should be able to help make these decisions.  I am just stuck in the middle of the puzzle.


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