Electronic School, September 1998, p. A28

Schools boards that oversee any major technology launch will benefit from these steps that an Illinois school board was careful to take:

  1. Articulate a clear vision for the project. A mission statement with goals and general deadlines will drive the entire project forward and help everyone evaluate their progress.

  2. Derive a cost estimate. Getting an accurate handle on the costs of a project will probably require an outside technology consultant’s expertise.

  3. Find funding. You can put out a bond issue, take money from reserves, seek state money, or organize grass-roots fundraising efforts.

  4. Form district-wide committees to make purchasing recommendations. These committees should take stock of existing equipment in schools and evaluate future technology needs.

  5. Create a time line. A schedule that tracks the purchase, installation, and implementation of each piece of technology will establish accountability and maintain a sense of progress.

  6. Set up teacher training programs. You must decide who is going to train your teachers, on what schedule, and by what method.

  7. Develop protocols for bid approval. Many school boards need to consult with their attorneys to craft competitive bid processes and state-compliant purchasing practices.

  8. Draft computer use policies. Once the technology is in place, your students will need guidance against misusing and abusing the technology. Write an acceptable-use policy that outlines responsibilities and consequences for violations.

  9. Hire support personnel. The authors set up three levels of support in their school district: a district-wide technology coordinator (writes budgets, specifies purchases, and oversees teacher training), a network administrator (maintains and repairs the network and individual machines), and building-level coordinators (provides daily support to students and teachers).

  10. Keep evaluating the plan. The school board must regularly meet to ensure deadlines are met, the project’s mission statement is followed, and unexpected mishaps are corrected.