Academic peer reviewing is one of the best ways there is to boost learning: although it is hard sometimes, when you are lucky, you get to read a lot of rich, useful, informative, instructive, mind changing literature that your supervisors and peers failed to recommend for you before. And I’ve been learning so much with the recommendations of one of the reviewers from a manuscript recently submitted.
The reviewer suggested guidelines, models, and plans developed by the pioneers in the field of technology implementation in schools, back in the 1990s. Although the technology has changed in so many levels, their recommendations are still as relevant as before. In addition, it’s a great pleasure to go back in memory when we read references to CD players and digital encyclopedias that people could purchase with CDs and floppy disks. Ah those times…
Anyway, here I’d like to bring the guiding questions developed by McNabb et al (1999) in their Planners’ Handbook: Technology Connections for School Improvement. They first start their seminal work by stressing that …
Technology helps people learn, be creative, and become players and communicators in a global village. Technology, tied to the Internet, allows students of all ages to engage in knowledge building on a worldwide stage as never before.McNabb et al. (1999, p. 3)
This couldn’t be more suited to current times! In this handbook, they aimed to organize a “Toolkit for creating a technology plan that will help students of all ages meet their learning needs, expand their learning opportunities, and enrich their learning experiences.” (McNabb et al., 1999, p. 4). And they organized some GUIDING QUESTIONS according to their Multi-Dimensional Technology Planning Process (McNabb et al., 1999). These questions are divided in eight interrelated dimensions that surround the main purpose of schooling: student-centered learning.
I highly recommend reading the whole handbook directly through this link. In this short post, I’ll just highlight the questions from four of those dimensions that called my attention the most.
Focus on student-centered learning
1. Does your technology plan address technology literacy skills and implement ways for learners to acquire them within the curriculum?
2. Are staff members and students prepared to use technology to meet literacy and content area standards?
3. Are there students within your school population who could benefit from additional uses of technology tools for remediation, acceleration, or special help in specific areas?
Develop a vision and policy
1. Does your school have an existing or emerging schoolwide improvement plan? Are technology and associated policies a part of that schoolwide improvement plan?
2. Will technology be available as an instructional tool for all students and teachers on an equitable basis?
3. Has your school or district involved key community stakeholders in planning for school improvement and technology implementation?
Analyse technology needs
1. Do your school community stakeholders understand how technology can assist schoolwide improvement and academic achievement?
2. Do members of your technology planning committee know how to conduct a comprehensive needs assessment using a collaborative community process?
3. Does your school provide ongoing technology training to interested parents and community stakeholders?
Involve parents and the community
1. Does your school regularly invite parents and other community stakeholders to be involved in school activities using technology?
2. Does your school inform parents and community members about the importance of technology within the larger scope of daily life?
3. Do your parents have access to the resources necessary to actively support their children’s learning with technology at home or at a community resource center?
I hope these questions are as useful to you as they were to me for implementing an action plan for integrating technology to educational processes, may they be in formal, informal or non-formal settings.
McNabb, M. L., Valdez, G., Nowakowski, J., & Hawkes, M. (1999). Technology Connections for School Improvement. Planner’s Handbook.