Technology Planning/Goals

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Introduction · Before We Plan · Introduction to Plan · Dissemination/Public Relations · Vision · Current State · Goals · Implementation Plan · Implementation Timeline · Budget/Funding · Approval · Monitoring/Evaluation · Appendices

Goals[edit]

Introduction[edit]

If you want to get where you want to go, you need to know where you want to be.

A goal is an observable and measurable end result having one or more objectives to be achieved within a more or less fixed timeframe [Goal 2008] [1]. A clear set of goals is crucial to success for both individuals and organizations. Goals provide direction and focus and help in the process of improvement. Goals help in the development of strategy as well and guide the actions of the individual or of the organization going forward. Goals are also a vital part of technology plans for school districts.

How do we determine what goals should be included in the technology plan?[edit]

Expanding upon the previous sections of the plan, goals are a clearer statement of the visions, specifying what will be achieved by the vision [Education Leadership Tool Kit] [2]. The goals should be determined primarily by the needs of the students. The technology involved in implementing the goals should consider the academic and curricular needs of the school [Critical Issue 1996] [3]. There are goals to be found at many levels of a school district, and a good place to start is at the curricular goals. Technology planners may also want to consider teacher’s more specific learning goals, but always remaining focused on the larger goals within a school.

Goals can also be determined by considering a school district’s budget [Critical Issue 1996] [4]. For example, you wouldn’t want to have a goal of “all students will use technology to enhance their productivity skills” if not all students will have access to computers on a regular basis. The budget may prevent this goal from being attainable. While the goals section of the technology planning process is it’s own section, it is highly dependent upon the other sections.

For a successful plan, the technology goals must support the vision of learning, or the technology has the potential to be used only to reinforce the current teaching practices. Technology planners may consider asking themselves when writing the goals, how will the technology be used to provide a challenging curriculum that is engaging? [Guiding Questions 1996] [5] After answering this question, ideas for goals will be presented, and then can be made into measurable goals.

What makes a good goal?[edit]

There are different models that can be followed when setting goals but within the project management arena, one of the better known goal setting formats is known as SMART. This acronym stands for specific, measureable, attainable, results oriented, and timely. Each of these items are explained briefly below:

  • Specific: The school/district will enhance and upgrade the communication systems to facilitate exchange between school professionals and parents to address the multiple needs of the learning community [Sample Technology Plan 2000] [6].

The goal must be described in precise terms to avoid confusion about what needs to be accomplished. When looking at the sample goal above, the goal describes specifically what will need to occur for the goal to be attained. We know that the district is looking to target communication systems to better communication amongst school staff and parents.

  • Measurable: All students will know how to access and use print, electronic, three-dimensional, and visual resources for research and learning activities [Sample Technology Plan 2000] [7].

What measures do we use to judge our progress towards achieving our goals? This sample goal is not only measurable, but very easily assessed. With a simple checklist we could see if the goal was reached by having students demonstrate the above task.

  • Attainable: Technology will allow administrators to gather and share current and timely information for decision-making at the school board, administration, school, and classroom levels [Sample Technology Plan 2000] [8].

The goal has to be achievable. The goal should also be realistic, yet challenging. The above goal seems attainable in that it is broad enough to involve many stakeholders, but still attainable.

  • Results oriented: All educators will identify, prioritize, and incorporate the use of technology to achieve learning objectives in all disciplines within each schools’ curriculum as appropriate [Sample Technology Plan 2000] [9].

Meaningful goals should relate to attaining something that is necessary, of value and that supports the overall vision. The goal should be consistent with other goals that have been established. The sample goal provided expands upon the other sample goals, as well as provides a specific result that is to be achieved by the goal.

  • Timely : By 2011, all teachers will have access to technology both in school and at home [Sample Technology Plan 2000] [10].

There should be a specific date, timeframe or schedule for goals. The above goal shares a specific date to which the goal is to be met. Sometimes goals will list a specific date, or often a broad time frame such as by the end of the 2011 school year.

These five criteria are useful to anyone who is developing goals that pertain to any purpose and they certainly give the technology planner a good place to start. However the field of education does require some additional considerations that must be addressed when planning for the implementation of technology at the school or district level.

Goals in Technology Integration[edit]

One of the SMART criteria is measurable. In education, this is not always very easy to accomplish as there are often gray areas when it come to learning. There is often much data available that we can use to measure our success. At the classroom level, we can design a rubric system. At a more macro level we can use test scores or some other quantifiable tool or method. Examples include increasing numbers of students who are reading by the end of 3rd grade, reducing failure rate of incoming freshmen, and eliminating violent behavioral incidents [O'Neill 2000] [11]. It is then up to the planner to determine how technology can contribute to the achievement of the goal.

Technology implementation goals must be consistent with other mandated goals which originate from government policy makers. Examples of this could be attainment of the goals of the No Child Left Behind Act where average yearly progress is closely monitored. In this case, technology should be explored for the role it could play in improving math and reading skills and in the delivery of benchmark tests to determine base level skills of students. Another example could be participation in a program like Pennsylania's Classrooms for the Future. In this situation, a goal could reflect the need for school districts to develop maintainence programs for the technology that was originally provided by this one-to-one computing program grant.

As goals are developed, there is one thing that the technology planner must keep in mind and that is that the ultimate goal of technology in the classroom must be student achievement.

References[edit]