What specific policies will help your district prepare for current and emerging technologies? How canI help lead my district in these policies?


A policy is a guideline for activity put into writing and officially accepted by an organization. The NCES describes the difference between a Technology plan and a technology policy. “In a sense, technology plans represent end points for which technology policies are a beginning and a road map (NCES, 2013).  Policies are important because they define how a plan will be either enforced and or provide protection for students and teachers.

While doing my research on the local technology policy for my school district I was generally surprised to find there was not a lot of information available.  While I am positive there is some kind of written curriculum regarding technology use in the district I could not find it.  I scoured Board Docs for any kind of policy and initiatives and there were several line items regarding spending but I could not find a mission statement or even an implementation plan.  I couldn’t even find the internet safety curriculum.  I’m positive my district has this somewhere, just not on the website.   In my understanding a plan is an outline for what kinds of emerging technologies a school or district would like to purchase or integrate into classrooms.  The policy is like the end goal for what the plan should accomplish.  Gosh, that sounds a little muddy! I think that it could be considered splitting hairs.  But plans and policies are necessary for determining how and when students will use technology to enhance education.  

Some ways that I can help my district and school develop effective technology policies is to be involved in creating a leadership team.  These leadership teams should also include students.  Students are active users of technology and should be allowed to have a say in how they would like to use it.  The Horizon Report described several schools using students as policy makers.  They often found that this gave students more ownership over their learning and were even more apt to adhere to policies (Horizon Report, ).

Technology plans should also be short term and focussed on application and not technology.  A good technology plan specifies what you want your students, staff, and administration to be able to do with technology. The outcomes will then determine the types and amount of technology you will need.  A technology plan that focusses on specific number of machines is based on input, not output.

Hess, Hochleiner and Saxburg (October, 2013) warn about a technology plan based on devices.   This stood out to me as a meaningful point.  We have to understand that the actual technology will not have lasting effects.  A technology plan should be based on the benefits we have already discussed in the class regarding technology integration I think about the emphasis on, collaboration and communication, taking a new perspective,  working through difficulties and  critical thinking and problems solving.  help

The truth is, as two of us argue in our new book Breakthrough Leadership in the Digital Age, technology cannot and will not drive meaningful change by itself.[3] After all, while educational technology always seems to be ripe with promise, experiences using new technologies in classrooms over the course of the past century or so have left educators exasperated and wary. Decade after decade, disappointing initiatives have soaked up time, energy, and money while showing little evidence that new tools actually deliver on their promise to make a difference for learning. https://www.aei.org/publication/e-rate-education-technology-and-school-reform/


Hess, Hochleiner and Saxburg (October, 2013). E-Rate, education technology, and school reform. American Enterprise Institute.  Retrieved July 23, 2016

Johnson, L., Adams Becker, S., Estrada, V., & Freeman, A. (2015). The NMC Horizon Report: 2015 Museum Edition. New Media Consortium. 6101 West Courtyard Drive Building One Suite 100, Austin, TX 78730.See, J.(n.d) Developing Effective Technology Plans Retrieved July 23, 2016

Ogle, T., Branch, M., Christmas, O., Clement, J., Fillion, J., Goddard, E., … & Vinson, M. (2002). Technology in Schools: Suggestions, Tools and Guidelines for Assessing Technology in Elementary and Secondary Education.


4 thoughts on “What specific policies will help your district prepare for current and emerging technologies? How canI help lead my district in these policies?

  1. gkkapatak01 says:

    Melissa I like and agree that you said technology plans should focus on application, not technology. They should state what we want our students to be able to do, and how teachers are going to use these tools to help students reach their goal. “I think about the emphasis on, collaboration and communication, taking a new perspective, working through difficulties and critical thinking and problems solving.” This is exactly the 4 C’s: communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity. Referring to these four components is a good way to lead our district into creating new technology policies.


  2. Camille says:

    I am so glad you brought up the point that the plan should not just focus on devices. It is such a natural approach, but if we follow it, we will always be a step behind. It makes me think of what’s happening with legal issues around new technology, and the pattern to start a program (Lyft, Airbnb, etc.) and let it run until it gets shut down. What’s the expression, it’s easier to beg forgiveness later than ask permission now? I also love that you searched so hard for your district’s policy. I was not that diligent. Props!


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