Elements of a Successful Technology Program

by Jean Tower

My colleague, Annamaria Schrimpf, and I work together to conduct technology program audits for school districts. We visit the schools, interview administrators and educators, review many existing documents and plans, and conduct surveys of faculty and students. As we review the data and write our report, including commendations and recommendations, we refer to several guiding documents, standards, and best practices.

We also ask the district to help us focus the study by telling what their questions are. Of course, sometimes we spent a good amount of time collaborating with district leadership to help them develop their questions. Every experienced thesis and dissertation adviser knows that question development is one of the toughest parts of the research and writing experience! One school district we worked with had these two essential questions:

  • How do the current systems impact student achievement?
  • How effectively do current systems support staff?

The guiding documents we use to measure practices against include the following:

  • The enGauge Framework, developed by the North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL) and the METIRI Group, says that six essential conditions have to exist in school districts for truly effective use of technology to take place. The six conditions are in the dimensions of vision, effective practice, equity, leadership, access, and educator proficiency.
  • The Massachusetts state technology plan guidelines are based in part on the School Technology and Readiness (STaR) Chart. This framework lists the essential ingredients as teaching and learning, educator preparation and development, administration and support services, and infrastructure for technology.
  • Partnership for 21st Century Skills – Skills Framework

We also use our current knowledge of best practices, cutting edge projects, curriculum, teaching and learning, and what we see on the horizon.

As I consider our current models, I realize I am looking for something to replace the enGauge Framework. It was a very good document, forward thinking for its time. However, it was written quite a while ago and will not be updated. It can’t be found online anymore, so I really would like a newer, up-to-date framework to use in addition to the state technology guidelines and the STaR chart.

If you have a suggestion, please leave a comment here.

I have been creating my own list of essential conditions for a successful technology program, and will be writing, in this blog, about those elements.

The list below shows the categories I plan to include in my framework, under development, that I will blog about here, one entry per category. My goal will be to develop indicators that one would look for to demonstrate an effective and robust technology program. Again – if you have suggestions for additions, deletions, or modifications, please comment here.

 

Leadership, Vision, & Policy

Curriculum, Instruction, & Assessment

IT Management

Infrastructure, including Connectivity

Partnerships

Budget & Investment

Professional Development / Capacity Building

Staffing for Support

Community Engagement and Support

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