In January each year, schools begin preparing their budgets for the next school year. Operational and permanent improvement planning have become more interesting with the influx of federal and state funds made available to recover from the pandemic. It is critical that schools do not lose sight of the sound principles of Operational and permanent improvement planning and curriculum alignment when making technology purchasing decisions.
What exactly is K-12 Strategic Technology Planning?
Based on guidelines developed by the Consortium of School Network – a member-based association and advocacy group that promotes partnerships and awareness of emerging technologies amongst technology decision-makers in K-12 education – Strategic Technology Planning is aligning priorities, balancing choice, outcomes, cost, and intended outcomes. Three Essential Focal Points for smart asset and infrastructure decisions for K12 schools include:
- Improvements in student learning
- Alignment of investment with strategic (educational) goals
- Total Cost of Ownership – including direct and indirect costs
Strategic technology planning is a multi-year activity that must include the cost of acquiring and maintaining the school systems entire IT infrastructure and operations. An asset lifecycle management strategy will be driven by the curriculum. The plan will include the entire IT environment, including the costs of acquiring and maintaining the school system’s entire IT infrastructure and operations. The budget will include all infrastructure, user hardware and software, staff support costs and user-related costs.
The Office of Educational Technology in their Reimagining the Role of Technology in Education 2017 Technology Plan Update suggests that a comprehensive, well thought out plan will include a robust and comprehensive infrastructure to provide access to students and educators when and where they need it for learning.
The Essential Components of a Transformational Infrastructure
The essential components of an infrastructure capable of supporting transformation learning experiences include:
- Ubiquitous connectivity: Persistent access to high-speed Internet in and out of school.
- Powerful learning devices: Access to mobile devices that connect learners and educators to the vast resources of the Internet and facilitate communication and collaboration.
- High-quality digital learning content: Digital learning content and tools that can be used to design and deliver engaging and relevant learning experiences.
- Responsible Use Policies (RUPs): Guidelines to safeguard students and ensure that the infrastructure is used to support learning.
As the calendar year comes to a close, it is time to assess last year’s budget and IT plan, validate the inventory, and prepare official documentation for the school administration to present to the board. It is critical to examine existing budgets to identify ways to pay for learning technologies. Technology investments are not one time expenses. When devices reach the end of life and infrastructure equipment becomes obsolete, districts and schools should have a reliable means to replace or upgrade them.
At Vartek, we provide the leadership and the know-how to support and build engaging and empowering learning experiences.
Vartek Services is a professional services company partnering with K12 schools to provide IT Leadership, Implementation, and Technology Integration to enhance the teaching and learning environment.
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