Wednesday, December 14, 2005

#1 Tech Planning Tip

What is your top tech planning tip?

OK, you've just been hired as a consultant for a school that is struggling to develop their new technology plan. To get them started on the right track, you must respond to the following question that they have just asked you:

"What is the #1 most important thing we must include in our technology plan?"

So, as you have read many tech plans and/or you have worked on your own, you must have thought about that singular element that was of most value.

Perhaps it's a clear vision statement. Or, maybe it's a concise executive summary. Maybe it's merely a well-organized, clearly laid-out planning document. Perhaps it is the inclusion of graphics within the document that tell your story in graphical style.

It might be a reminder of something you tried. Or, maybe it's just a great tip that you can offer your client, the school district. Regardless, the question has been asked, so...

Now, it's your turn. Reach down into your bag of tips and pull out the one that is #1 for you.

(I have my own ideas, but I shall wait until several of you contribute yours. Let's learn together!)

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Duration of a tech plan

This morning, I had an email from a school leader who had a very important question.

She asked, "What should be the duration of our technology plan? I have heard people say that your plan should cover 5 years, and others have told me that 3 years is a better time. What do you think?" This is certainly an excellent question.

Several years ago, when technology planning was a relatively new concept, a planning cycle of 5 years seemed appropriate. However, with the rapid changes occurring in the world of technologies -- and with the dramatic changes being placed upon teachers -- it seems that we should consider 3 years a good and reasonable "long range" term.

Three years may even be too long for your school or organization. Perhaps there is a better strategy to use.

Some schools have begun using what I call a "rolling plan." That is, they are making their plans cover three years, yet they evaluate their existing plans each year -- and they extend the ending point of their plan. In other words, the planning committee might create a tech plan for the three year period of 2005-2007, then at the end of the first year, they enter an phase of evaluating their technology plan. When they emerge, they have created another three year plan, this one dated 2006-2008. It's not a new plan, necessarily. Rather, it's a sharpening and improving of the previous plan.

This process results in a climate of constant improvement. Of course, constant challenges will be your partner, too, but that is just the nature of life in a high-octane environment. Can you even imagine life in a stagnant cesspool where things are always the same?? No way!

So, what do you think? What is the best duration for a technology plan? Three years? Five years? One year? Ten? Twenty?

Let us hear from you. Do it now!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Podcasting, anyone?

Isn't this whole notion of podcasting amazing?

Can you remember, as I do, when podcasting was a term that made others turn their head in a funny way or wrinkle their brow when they heard the term? And, just think about it -- that was only a year ago!

However, podcasts are growing in number each day, perhaps each hour. Podcatching clients and "podcast maker" software are blooming like a rich bed of spring flowers. So....

What do you think of all this podcasting phenomenon?
Are you a regular listener -- or as a creator?
What are your favorite topics?
What promise do you believe this podcasting thing holds for student learning?
What are the downfalls, the negatives, the shortcomings?

As the quantity of podcasts rises, so does the pool of mediocre podcasts. Some of them are engaging, but some of them (particularly by educators) are just plain BORING!

What are your thoughts on podcasting? Send them in.

And, by the way, we will continue this discussion in future weeks, focusing upon certain aspects of podcasts (ex: leadership, personal development, student learning). What podcasts do you recommend, and why?

Let me hear from you!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


Lately, I've been giving more thought to the notion of teams and how teamwork is a potentially powerful function to advocate within the technology leadership sphere.

Actually, teamwork is important almost anywhere, in any organization, in nearly any situation.

So, what are the basic principles of teamwork that come to your mind? Write to me and let me know, or, better yet, leave a comment associated with this blog.

I can point to the work of several authors whose writings give us great reason for contemplation -- and that provide us great encouragement to pursue effective teamwork.

Do you consider yourself a member of a team?

If you were going to build a team, what would be the first (initial) characteristics you would consider for a member of your team? Would you allow/invite me to be a member of your team? Why or why not?
Would you be a good member of my team? Why or why not?

I can recommend the writing and speaking of John C. Maxwell. What material(s) on team building, teamwork, and team function can you recommend to other readers of this blog?

Would you life for me to produce a podcast on this topic? If so, what could you contribute to my podcast?

Good teaming!

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Austin, TX or Bust

Today, Thursday, May 19, 2005, is a gorgeous day as I await a connecting flight to Austin, TX for a 2-day meeting of the Advisory Board for the Apple Distinguished Educator (ADE) program. What an exciting meeting this will be, as it is the inaugural meeting of the advisory board.

The ADE program is amazingly fantastic...Apple recognizes the immense value of dedicated educators worldwide who know not only how to use their technology solutions, but also how the various solutions can be implemented in the most sensible ways in schools. I am continually impressed with the expertise of my ADE friends as they prepare, then demonstrate, projects that show clearly how technology devices and applications can make learning more effective in a variety of settings. I think Apple is so smart to have formed the ADE group several years ago...and to continue adding high-level, energetic, imaginative, creative educators to the "flock" each year. It is very hard to get into the program, once nominated, but the effort is well worth it!

The bright sunshine this morning is, I believe, an indicator of how productive and revealing this day will be. Of course, the main thing that contributes to the value of this day is my attitude!

What do you think?

Does attitude affect the outcome of a day? experience?

Is my attitude more important than the attitude of someone else?

What advice can you give me for maintaining a good, healthy attitude through all kinds of situations?

Let me hear from you.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Technology policy: a serious matter

In the past several days, I have received emails from school-based practitioners, primarily, who are concerned about technology policies in their schools.

The State of Mississippi is requiring audits of several types, including student attendance and other matters that often fall within the purview of technology coordinators. The audit of -- and the policies associated with the audits -- technologies is becoming increasingly a matter that is on the forefront of school leaders' minds.

So, I wonder: What do organizational technology leaders think about the idea of technology policies? What policies exist currently? How important are technology policies to the functioning of the organization? In what way(s) do tech policies impact those individuals who are served by the organization?

At this juncture, I shall not launch off into my opinions about technology policy. Rather, I will simply pose this matter as one that is of great concern and interest among technologists.

What do you think?

Friday, February 18, 2005

Technology Audits, anyone?

For many years, I have enjoyed great fulfillment by working closely with hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of schools, businesses, governments, and other organizations around the world as they strive to engage technologies, in a meaningful fashion, to accomplish their goals.

I have enjoyed writing articles, books, and preparing audio programs, all designed to help leaders with technology planning matters.

Now, I have written a new book, released in December 2004, entitled Technology Audit Survivor's Guide. It's a 270-page book into which I poured many hours of love and encouragement so that it would help technology decision makers face an audit with a sense of hope and gladness. If you haven't read the sample chapters of the book, available on the NCTP web site, I hope you will. Then, perhaps you will see the value of buying a copy. I can promise you that nothing like this exists anywhere and, if it is followed carefully, it will make a technology audit much less painful--maybe even a bunch of fun!

I am wondering, though, how many readers of this blog have been involved in a technology audit in a school or business or other organization. What was your experience like? What lessons did you learn? What advice do you have? How much did yours cost?

Technology audits, as a formal experience, are coming to schools eventually. That's for sure. Let's work together to make sure it's a good experience for as many people as possible.

Let me hear from you.

Getting Started on this Blog

Well, here we go......

I will attempt to post things here periodically that are of value to us all. The postings may be in the form of a burning question on which I seek input, an editorial regarding some topic, or maybe just some general musings. Either way, let's have fun and share good ideas freely together.

I shall attempt to get some podcasts posted before too long.