The International Society for Technology Education (ISTE) is a non-profit organization that helps educators and educational leaders use technology to help connect students to their learning and the outside connected world. ISTE has created a many online resources, too many to mention here, to help with this.
One of their most helpful resources are the “Essential Conditions.” In this online resource the ISTE has created 14 necessary condition that should, in my opinion must, be effectively implemented for successful technology learning. All of the conditions are dependent on each other and one cannot be left out. Click here for a direct link to ISTE's "Essential Conditions.
Two essential conditions that are easy to implement are “Ongoing Professional Learning” and “Empowering Leaders.” Both can be accomplished with very little money and help the staff to grow. “Ongoing Professional Learning” can be filled in a variety of ways. Teachers can take courses, either from colleges and universities or with in-house professional development lead by another teacher, to help them implement technology and become up to date on current trends. “Empowering Leaders” can be linked to professional learning. Administrators at the school and supervisory union level can evaluate the interests of their staff and find the teachers whom would be natural leaders in this area. Administrators could then provide professional development opportunities for those leaders to stay up to date and to learn new technology.
A more difficult essential condition to implement would be “Consistent and Adequate Funding.” The state or our economy is poor that many school budgets are being defeated on the first vote. Administrators need to reduce the budget and may find it easy to reduce the technology portion of the budget. Their hope might be to make the technology that needs to be replaced last a little longer and they are willing to run the risk so they can get a budget passed.
I argue that reducing the technology budget does not and should not need to happen. There are so many free or inexpensive online resources that other budget items could be reduced. Textbooks could be replaced with flex books, paper consumption could be reduced by having students submit work electronically and communications between staff members could also be done this way. A more overall look at how policies and procedures could be changed could help to reduce the budget significantly without impacting student learning.
Educators, both administrators and teachers, need to shift their thinking about technology. Technology is no longer a way for student’s to show their learning; it is a tool for learning and needs to be thought of that way.