10 Reasons to Conduct a Technology Audit

by Jean Tower

Reason 1:
To assess your progress against goals and objectives set forth in your technology plan

Reason 2:
To assess your technology program against national and state standards

Reason 3:
To raise awareness about the successes and challenges of technology in the schools among all constituencies – school boards, superintendents, technology directors, principals, teachers, students, parents, and community members

Reason 4:
To advocate for the funding necessary to meet the district goals

Reason 5:
To examine the attitudes and perceptions of technology users and to measure user satisfaction

Reason 6:
To examine student and teacher use of technology for various purposes, as well as the skills levels of all users

Reason 7:
To determine whether the infrastructure meets the needs of the end users and to uncover urgent priorities that need to be addressed and funded

Reason 8:
To develop recommendations that will inform the planning process and that will create a guideline for improvement

Reason 9:
To expose perceptions about leadership and policies that impact technology adoption

Reason 10:
To determine whether the investment being made in technology is really improving teaching and learning

What is an audit?
Most people are familiar with financial audits. A financial audit is a review of the financial record-keeping and status of a company, usually performed by an outside firm of accounting experts. They offer an independent evaluation of all of the financial statements and transactions, verifying the financial soundness of an organization as well as the accuracy of the financial statements that a company releases to the public. In similar fashion, a technology audit is a review of the technology of an organization. To be of value, it should also be done by an external, impartial group with no vendor bias. Objectivity is an important characteristic of any audit.

What should an audit do?
An audit should assess against national and state standards, best practices, and district goals for teaching and learning. A comprehensive audit will evaluate all components of a technology program – infrastructure, reliability, accessibility, and use. Is technology really supporting the strategic goals of the school district? Is technology helping to achieve organizational goals? One overarching goal of an audit is to gather and analyze data that will inform technology planning and will help to make the most efficient and effective use of learning technologies for students and teachers. One outcome should be an identification of the areas of greatest success and those of greatest need.

An audit should both affirm the positive aspects of technology in the school district and should uncover barriers and obstacles. Surveys of all staff and sample populations of parents and students are instrumental in finding out how users feel about the technology in the schools. Survey results should also expose perceptions about leadership and policies that either drive or inhibit effective technology integration.

In the end, the audit report should be shared widely with all stakeholders and should be an instrument to drive improvement. The very act of participating in such an external audit focuses attention in ways that can be leveraged to build awareness, support, and understanding of the technology in your schools.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike Liechty November 21, 2013 at 12:15 pm

I want a Technology audit. Who has the abiltiy and expertise to conduct such an audit?

Jean Tower December 9, 2013 at 2:16 pm

I know a few here in Massachusetts, but nationally, I can think of two – – Sun Associates and BLE Group (http://www.blegroup.com/).

Mike Liechty December 11, 2013 at 10:02 am

Who in Massachusetts has the expertise to audit based on your 10 reasons?

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