One of the most important steps in writing a technology plan is to establish a timeline for implementation. Ideally, you'll be working on a plan that can be implemented over a three-year period or more.
Timelines will support your efforts and provide accountability. While each activity may have its own timeline, the goals must be time-specific for effective monitoring. As you develop your preliminary timeline, ask yourself the following questions:
• What are the first things you will need to do?
Initially, this will involve creating an implementation team of stakeholders, such as an advisory or steering committee. Stakeholders can include members of the community, parents, school board members, teachers or school administration or anyone else who, because of their involvement and ownership of the issue, will have knowledge and resources that can add significant value to the project, and will be a critical component in planning and implementing changes in order to make the plan a success.
• How long do you estimate it will take to complete those tasks?
Because economic and political conditions often dictate how education funds are allocated, how programs are to be implemented and which educational requirements or initiatives are of paramount importance. The timeline must be kept relatively short to take advantage of climates that are favorable to implement changes. The idea is to make the program successful over the short-term in order to affect positive attitudes towards sustainable long-term acceptance. Decide which stakeholders or staff are to be assigned to each task and estimate how long each task will take to complete.
• Once those tasks are completed, what are the next steps ?
Evaluation of the completed tasks will allow the plan to move forward and establish the next set of milestones. Critical to the evaluations is measuring the extent to which the plan has met its objectives. This can be accomplished very simply through surveys that account for observations made by students and teachers. These observations can also be drawn out by interviews or informal meetings. These surveys can be used to measure student performance; measure the level of technology integration into the curriculum; assess the level of technological proficiency gained by students, teachers, and staff; measure how well the plan is able to accommodate technological changes; measure how well the plan reacts to organizational changes.
The answer to the above questions will be crucial for organizing your technology plan writing and eventually implementation. Keep in mind that timelines should be flexible enough to accommodate unforeseen events, but rigid enough to maintain momentum. You will most likely want to segment your timeline into phases of academic years with some possible intervention or assessment mid-year. Be sure to include the time you will need to secure funding if you're going to have to apply for grants or undertake other fundraising activities to raise the money you've budgeted to implement your plan.
This chart should provide a general overview of how, over the course of a year-and-a-half, the project timeline evolves, and each milestone that is critical to that evolution:
|September||Determine initial commitment to project; Identify stakeholders and form technology advisory or steering committee|
|October||Develop project philosophy and mission statement; create calendar; identify stakeholder tasks; Develop project benchmarks and indicators|
|November||Finalize goals and targets for project; carry out needs assessment|
|December||Review relevant literature; conduct interviews and site visits to aid in visualizing the project|
|January||Analyze needs assessment data; Disseminate information from literature review;
Consider possible options available to planners; (Look for such elements as hardware, software programs, implementation strategies, financing, staff development strategies, student needs)
|February||Determine course of action based on available options and needs assessment data;
List needed materials and resources; Confirm and formalize school board commitment; establish leadership roles for implementation phase; adjust calendar for implementation phase; plan public relations program
|March||Meet with committees to discuss implementation strategies;purchase hardware, software, and supplementary materials|
|April||Initiate professional development plan; continue public relations program|
|May||Network installation begins|
|Summer (June to August)||Begin program; complete installation and troubleshooting of system; initiate professional development plan|
|September||Continue with professional development activities; initiate use of technology in instruction; begin administrative monitoring of equipment|
|October and November||Public relations program continues; continue with professional development plan|
|December||Continue administrative monitoring of equipment and programs|
|January||Begin formal project evaluation, which should include: reports from administrative monitoring from September to December; continuing administrative monitoring; feedback to and from teachers; feedback to and from students; feedback to and from technology staff|
|February||Continue monitoring and gathering information|
|March through May||Complete formal evaluations; make revisions according to information gathered during