Education technology has made leaps and bounds over the past half-decade, and progressive school districts across the nation are reaping the benefits.
The use of education technology in the classroom has been linked to better teacher and student satisfaction, better learning outcomes, and more student engagement. Yet, many school districts do not have a district-wide technology plan; instead, individual schools do their own thing with varying levels of capability.
Creating a district-wide edutech plan can reap benefits and multiply the positive effects of technology in schools.
Why a District-Wide Plan Matters
One reason why a district-wide policy is important is the fact that districts can use technology in a more even manner, instead of allowing certain schools to gain an edge in instruction that the other schools simply do not have.
Another reason is due to analytics and metrics. District administrators can see what is working and what isn’t at each school and identify trends that impact the district as a whole – such as weaknesses that can be corrected. The district can even identify strengths from certain areas or schools that can be replicated elsewhere.
These metrics can even be student-by-student. Teachers have the ability to monitor and evaluate how each student is progressing, schools can aggregate info from each classroom, and districts can aggregate data from each school for a comprehensive look at academic performance.
Installing the Right Plan for Your District
The first step is to identify the goals and purposes of education technology in the district. Why is your district considering incorporating edutech? What are your objectives? And how will you measure them?
Then, the district needs to evaluate existing levels of tech use across its schools, to establish a baseline and identify gaps.
When designing the plan, it is best to start with the district’s tech infrastructure. Instead of each school having its own networked infrastructure, isolated from the rest, it is preferable that the schools have some uniformity and standardization where data and communication can flow freely between each school and the district office.
Then, the district should establish minimum, uniform tech standards for classrooms in each school, broken out by grade level. This creates a standard for tech use that ensures all schools will have access to the same equipment and software.
Districts should also institute a plan for district-wide teacher instruction and standardization. Your district needs to know how it will ensure tech competency for each instructor, and even the school administrators that will need to interact with technology at some point.
Know how your equipment and infrastructure will be operated and maintained. Who will monitor the systems, and repair them if they go down? Will you have an in-house staff or depend on an outside contractor?
Finally, the plan needs to outline the specifics for each grade level and subject. What types of equipment will be used? What software will be purchased, based on curriculum? Will the district take advantage of one-to-one computing where every student has a device?
By following these steps, and consulting with education technology experts, your school district can implement a cohesive, overarching, and effective tech plan that improves learning outcomes and helps students and teachers flourish.