Generally speaking, before planning can begin, it is critical that an assessment take place of the current state of the surrounding environment. This is especially true when planning for the implementation of technology for an educational environment. In this section we will review what information a planner must collect and understand with regards to the current state of their institution's environment.
Elements to be considered when documenting the current state of technology:Edit
- Introduction: In this section there should be a description of the district environment, schools, community, size, demographics, and any other special information relevant to education, technology, and or planning.
- History of technology planning or initiative that led to current state: when was the last plan developed, what were the recent purchases, recent initiative, former committee mmmbers, technology leadership, or any other related information relevant to the history of technology planning at the school or district.
- Mission of educational technology (implied or stated) at the school or district level.
- Infrastructure elements - for each section list the number deployed, version, age, and primary use of each element:
- Internet access - type, bandwidth, provider.
- Servers & services - include e-mail, web, data, streaming, faculty/student storage, and any other servers or services in place.
- Network infrastructure equipment.
- Other infrastructure elements (power, phones, entry control, surveillance cameras, etc.).
- Hardware- for each section list the number deployed, version, age, and primary use of each element:
- Types of hardware currently deployed: computers, projectors, cameras, iPods, etc.
- Location of currently deployed hardware: labs, in classrooms, mobile carts, one-to-one laptops, etc.
- Software- for each section list the number deployed, version, age, and primary use of each element:
- Number and versions of software currently deployed: OS, Basic, productivity
- Uses of current software: Educational, special software
- Administrative Technology- for each section list the number deployed, version, age, and primary use of each element:
- Administrative systems such as grading systems, attendance, records, class plans and other related technology systems. List current systems in place, the related hardware base and software versions and quantity deployed.
- Professional Development: Perhaps the best way to describe the current PD program is to answer a series of questions. What is the intended purpose of the school's PD? How is the training conducted? How often is it being done? Has it been evaluated? If so, has it been tweaked over time and proven effective? If it has not been evaluated, why not? Does it foster teacher collaboration and reward experimentation? Has there been a tangible increase in technology use within classroom instruction? Do the teachers know where they can go to get help? What do the teachers not know yet that they should? All of these questions should paint an accurate picture of the program's effectiveness as well as reveal some areas that can be improved upon in the future. 
- Nature of Classroom / Teacher / Student use: this section is an overview of how the current technology is being used, how often it is used, and how it's use is aligned with educational strategies and teaching pedagogies.
- Technology Staffing / Support: It is critically important to assess exactly where your institution is in terms of technology staff. If you find your staff/support staff to be less than what you need, it should be a top priority when moving forward. Many experts believe that the very first step in developing a technology plan for a school district is assembling a technology planning committee that should review the school’s big-picture learning goals already in place and identify the district’s needs. 
- Relevant Policies: This section details the relevant technology policies such as replacement policy, usage policies, security policies.
- Technology Funding: Budget, grants, e-rate, etc. - there is a separate section in this book on budgeting - this section is an overview of the current funding amounts and process.
- Summary of the current environment.
After the review of the current state of technology at the school or at the district, the planner will become aware of shortcomings and missing elements of the current technology as well as other changes which need to be addressed in a new technology implementation plan. These items should be addressed in goals section of the technology implementation plan. For example, is the network infrastructure able to support future upgrades and advanced software applications? Is the professional development program meeting the needs of teachers and administrators currently? Will the program be able to meet their needs in the future or will it need to be improved upon? Some of these issues and problems will also become more clear when future technology tools are suggested/needed. For example, if a goal of the school technology program is to increase learning via Second Life, this will dictate what sort of upgrade needs to be done in order to bring the school network infrastructure up to the correct specifications for such an undertaking.