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!