Five Challenges To Overcome When Implementing Ambitious And Innovative Technology Programs

Technology & Learning, October 1998, p. 54

The cutting-edge New Technology High School in California has installed 250 networked computers for its 220 students. This new capability has presented five challenges to the school as it expands in the technology age:

  1. Increased change. The introduction of so much technology at the school has meant administrators and educators, whether they like it or not, have had to evaluate, acquire, and use technology at a rapid pace.

  2. Staffing. The school has had to find teachers and support staff who can use and maintain the computers, the network, and the software. Most sought-after are computer-literate teachers who are not afraid to be challenged by continuous learning and growth.

  3. Time strains. As most people realize when they deploy new technology such as E-mail or voicemail, more time is needed to use and manage those technologies. E-mail has been especially taxing on the school’s staff, but they realize it’s a critical tool to keep lines of communication open with parents, students, and other stakeholders.

  4. Funding. The ambitious technology installations at the school have meant costs per student run about $2,200 above the state funding formula. To make up the difference, the school has obtained funding from federal, state, and local business sources. In addition, the school strives to keep costs down through such programs as renting their computer facilities to other schools and organizations during the summer.

  5. Discipline. Students had to be prepped on how to use this new technology responsibly. An acceptable use policy (AUP) was circulated among the students during the first weeks of school which defined the boundaries of appropriate and responsible behavior on the computers.

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