Why Develop a Technology Vision?
The strategic use of technology starts with a vision about the schoolwide
learning goals and standards necessary to prepare today's students
for tomorrow's world. Technology is a wonderful resource, but it is
only one component of a good school. Research indicates that schools
with successful schoolwide practices also have:
A record of improving student performance.
Cohesive planning and implementation.
Staff committed to building a community of learners.
School, family, and community partnership supportive of
(Policy Studies Associates, 1998)
A technology vision for schoolwide improvement parallels these
schoolwide practices. It describes how technology can enhance
and extend each practice to meet better the needs of all students in
achieving high standards.
Your technology vision should describe a future that is better than the
present or past, yet be achievable in a reasonable amount of time. For
example, your technology vision might depict your school as having
expertise and resources in subject areas where it now has none. Or you
may picture students with appropriate hardware, software, and connectivity
to electronic networks being able to access information and
cultural resources from new kinds of primary sources. You may see
dedicated learners--young and old alike--using technology to increase
the time, depth, and scope of their learning.
Many educators who have added a technology infrastructure to their
schoolwide reforms have found the transformation in teaching and
learning so profound that many of their learning requirements became
obsolete. Textbook-driven reforms drag when compared to the knowledge,
instructional methods, and engaged learning activities that the
Internet's instantaneous access to volumes of up-to-the-minute information
makes possible. Technology tools extend the amount and kind
of knowledge and skills students learn. They increase relevant baseline
skills, expand the amount and types of content available, and keep
learners of all ages actively engaged in meaningful learning tasks and
Plugging In (Jones, Valdez, Nowakowski, & Rasmussen, 1995)
describes a technology vision in which technology opens up new
opportunities for all students to become engaged learners. Who are the
engaged learners? They are students who take charge of their own
learning. Engaged students set their own learning goals to reach standards
of excellence, demonstrate an active interest in creatively solving
problems and making meaningful connections, and self-evaluate
progress toward learning goals. They are strategic in applying technology
knowledge and skills to authentic learning tasks. They collaborate.
They value others and work with them to develop new ideas and
understanding. And, they are energized by learning. For them, learning
is itself a motivator that induces excitement and pleasure. (For more
details on the relationship between engaged learning and technology,
see Plugging In online at www.ncrtec.org/capacity/plug/plug.htm).
Students who are ready for the future know how to use technology
effectively for a variety of purposes. Students who miss out on this
learning opportunity miss out on vital life skills.
The equitable use of technology across schools and classrooms, and
among students and teachers is a vital consideration in technology
planning. Equitable expectations vary from school context to school
context, depending on the amount and type of technologies available.
Nonetheless, all schools and districts should have procedures for monitoring
technology equity practices. The following are indicators of
equitable technology practices:
All students master basic technology literacy skills.
All students have adequate hands-on technology time to complete
their learning tasks and enhance their academic achievement.
All students have access to up-to-date multimedia resources and
telecommunications networks to support meaningful, engaged
All teachers, administrators, support staff, and parents have
adequate hands-on technology time for meaningful professional
development of technology literacy skills and curriculum integration
All teachers, administrators, support staff, and parents have access
to up-to-date multimedia resources, telecommunications networks,
and online records to support effective educational practices.
All learners and facilitators of learning have timely access to
knowledgeable technical support staff.
For a detailed list of strategies for promoting equitable technology
access, use, and curriculum integration in education, visit Northwest
Regional Educational Laboratory's Equity in Educational Technology
Web site (available at www.netc.org/equity/).
Why Use Technology?
To provide all students with
appropriate technology literacy
skills for 21st century citizen-ship,
including social and economic prosperity.
To facilitate and support
student achievement of essential
- To provide parents, community
members, and staff with the tools
and training necessary to
support student achievement of
essential learning outcomes.