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:
- 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.
- Derive a cost estimate. Getting an accurate handle on the costs of a project will probably require an outside technology consultant’s expertise.
- Find funding. You can put out a bond issue, take money from reserves, seek state money, or organize grass-roots fundraising efforts.
- Form district-wide committees to make purchasing recommendations. These committees should take stock of existing equipment in schools and evaluate future technology needs.
- 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.
- Set up teacher training programs. You must decide who is going to train your teachers, on what schedule, and by what method.
- Develop protocols for bid approval. Many school boards need to consult with their attorneys to craft competitive bid processes and state-compliant purchasing practices.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.