Technology Use Planning Overview

Defining technology use planning is not easy because of its changing nature.  I found it best to put together a definition using the analogies provided by Anderson and using See’s suggestions for developing an effective technology plan (Anderson, 1999 and See, 1992).  I would define a technology use plan as a short term plan or map that details the desired outcomes in using technology and provides a suggested route to achieve those outcomes.  It is vital to have the entire map rather than one route to the destination.  A single route ties an institution into one form or one brand of technology that may be discovered as ineffective in achieving the desired outcomes.  As an institution follows its suggested route or working plan, they may also come across a cheaper more effective route to more efficiently achieve their goals.

Long term plans focusing on specific forms of technology simply will not work with the rate at which technological advances occur today.  A popular phrase one hears today is that the technology you buy today is obsolete tomorrow.  I recall purchasing my first big screen TV just last year.  The day it was delivered I came across better deals with larger screens and newer features.  This fact alone makes it challenging to even purchase new technologies.  There always seems to be something newer, bigger and, better and there always will be.  However, short term technology plans create the opportunity for easy accommodations to these changes in technologies and allow institutions flexibility in their purchases.

In conjunction with this idea I agree with Anderson and See that a technology plan must be about more than computers.  The central focus must be the users and creating the opportunity for those users to achieve the desired results with the best technology for the job.

When creating a technology use plan, the National Educational Technology plan should prove to be a valuable resource.  The NETP outlines the goals and outcomes educational institutions should attain with their technology.

Prior to this assignment I had really never heard of a technology use plan.  I’ve never heard mention of one in our district and I’m not sure if we even have one at this point.  If we do not have one I think it vital the district works to create one.  Right now it seems like the district haphazardly throws money into new technology when it has funding available.  There seems to be no consideration about what we would like students and staff to gain or achieve through using it.  A couple of people, namely the superintendent and technology coordinator get together and decide what would get us the most bang for the buck and they make a purchase and hand out the equipment.  There is no staff development, no guidance, just here is the equipment, this should make you a better teacher.  As I enter different classrooms I often see $300-$400 dollar document cameras gathering dust or being used as an overhead projector.  The principal wants each classroom to have a document camera and projector without any consideration to whether or not the equipment would even be used.  I see thousands of wasted dollars that could have been used somewhere else.  I’ve recently tried to turn the tech coordinator toward purchasing an alternative document camera for a quarter the cost of the current models.  If we have to purchase them and they are just going to sit there, why spend so much?  I think this quote from See in Developing Effective Technology Plans best sums up my thoughts on the current situation in my district; “Why not fund initiative, effectiveness, and success.”  (1992)

Anderson, L. (1999). Technology planning: It’s more than computers. Retrieved from:

See, J. (1992, May). Developing effective technology plans. The Computing Teacher, 19, (8). Retrieved from:

U.S. Department of Education Office of Educational Technology. (2010). National education technology plan. Washington D.C: U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved from:


4 responses

  1. Wow Craig, your experience with tech in your district is what I fear I am going to find when we do the next assignment – namely that things are being purchased and distributed without much serious thought. I really liked your description of what is going on at your school. I think it is happening all too often across the country and many thousands of dollars are being wasted!

  2. Hi Craig,

    I like your definition of technology use planning and the fact that you stress that you need to have the whole map to have an overview of all possible alternatives.

    Your paragraphs about the plan having to be about more than computers and the use of the NETP are a bit brief in my opinion. For the uninitiated, the paragraph about the NETP doesn’t say much. If you elaborate a little as to which goals it describes, even the casual reader will have a better idea of where the NETP fits into the whole process of creating a technology use plan.

    I share your feelings about having to be smarter in technology planning. I, too, see expensive resources (smartboards, in my case) being grossly underutilized…

    Finally, there are a few typos you may want to correct (“a couple OF people”, “just going to SIT there”).

    Hope this helps!
    All the best,

    1. Frank,

      We have the same situation with smartboards at our school. Almost every room has one, but they are used primarily for their projection abilities. I’ve had to teach myself how to use them and I know that I haven’t even utilized them anywhere near the way that those that are smartboard experts can.


  3. Craig,

    I really liked your analogy as the plan as a map. We do need to be able to make adjustments to our route, and who knows, maybe we will end up going someplace new altogether.
    I’ve seen a similar situation here at our school. A few teachers requested camera and the former tech coordinator purchased the cheapest cameras available. These cameras can not keep focused on the documents being used. Because of this our cameras are also just sitting on our desks collecting dust as well,


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