|Posted on 15 September, 2014 at 21:20|
With the DER over and schools looking for new technological platforms to invest in, the Computer Coordinator or the Head Teacher of Technology has their work cut out for them in trying to determine which technologies and devices is best for their school as well as determining the best way to purchase new technologies.
Buying any new technology is not easy nor is it a simple process, however by following a few key steps, the overall process can be stress free and completed within much shorter time frame than you perhaps have already experienced.
1. Have a Technology Plan
To ensure that technology is effectively integrated into the schools, educators and community members (such as parents in the P&C or School Council) must collaborate to create a formal technology plan. Developing a plan for using technology to support educational goals should be the priority for the school over the simple acquisition of computers and software. To be successful, a technology plan must promote meaningful learning and collaboration, provide for the needed professional development and support, and respond flexibly to change.
Schools that effectively use technology have a carefully designed technology plan that is a part of the overall school-improvement plan. A technology plan that is not integral to the overall improvement plan is likely to be short-lived. As part of the school-improvement plan, technology should support the curricular goals of the school. It must ultimately support teaching and learning and be an integral part of the schools overall plan to move all students towards attaining high academic standards and personal learning goals.
2. Identify the existing technological infrastructure of the school
A school cannot progress and determine that iPads are the best device for their students if the current infrastructure is unable to adequately support them. An audit may identify that an upgrade may be necessary to ensure that a sufficient number of devices can be connected via IP addresses or to determine which technical specifications a device must meet in order to work effectively in all classrooms. This process is crucial particularly for schools who are implementing BYOD programs when leading students and their families to purchase particular types of devices.
3. Determine who will be your technology provider
In many instances, particularly in circumstances where the school is purchasing a large volume of technologies on behalf of students, the school may be required to go to tender and ask for technology providers to submit a proposal to the school that demonstrates that they are able to meet the technical specifications. The school (typically Principal) simply needs to contact a few well-known and reliable vendors who have had experience in dealing with schools and ask them to support a proposal that answers how their technologies support the school plan. Once the proposals are submitted, they can be culled and decisions as to who has the school’s best interest can be made. It is important to double check that your school leaves nothing to assumption and all terms and conditions regarding the business arrangement are documented.
Noelene is a Teacher of Technology and a Counsellor of The Teachers’ Guild of New South Wales