For years, school IT departments (internal and contracted) focused disproportionately on short-term needs like fixing broken devices and maintaining technology infrastructure. These are important tasks, but long-term technology strategy is what makes a real difference in the lives of students and teachers.
As school leaders become more sophisticated, they build strategic IT environments based on a broader view of educational technology. An ongoing national study by Project RED and the One-to-One Institute provides valuable insights into K-12 IT environments that outperform traditional models. The research shows that tech-smart schools consistently prioritize the following:
- strategic IT planning
- clear leadership for all aspects of technology implementation
- IT infrastructure planning and skilled technology staff
- frequent tech-based professional learning for administrators, teachers, and technical personnel
- clear communication about technology plans, expectations, and operations
- curriculum-based technology policies and procedures
- realistic technology goals
- ongoing independent evaluation of the tech environment
- collaboration with IT experts
These nine keys to high-performing school technology should be the guiding principles for a school’s IT strategy. If your tech department is limited to basic break-fix and maintenance work, it’s time to consider partnering with a provider that can take your program to a higher level.
Partners that specialize in school technology strategy can help you increase not only the number, quality, and use of devices in your school, it can help drive more meaningful learning outcomes. They do these things by following those nine guidelines and by
- holding themselves accountable to system and service performance standards;
- providing certified technicians, many of whom have educational experience and degrees;
- providing a plan for refreshing devices and equipment regularly; and
- operating according to accepted project management processes.
Keep these criteria front and center as you evaluate potential IT partners and make sure your request for proposals is designed to draw applications from qualified vendors.
About the Author: Jamie Martin
Jamie leads Vartek’s business development efforts, connecting prospective schools with Vartek and building strategic solutions to help a school achieve its vision for teaching and learning.