California Department of Education
Taking Center Stage – Act II

Technology Support for Leaders

Technology is a tool to help administrators, yet it also is one more thing to manage. For example, software tools can help leaders provide quick feedback after classroom walk-throughs, and e-mail messages can reduce the number of items that must be discussed at staff meetings and save time. However, security issues, data management, and maintenance issues can often occupy the administrator’s day.

It is important for school team members to tie technology purchases to the School’s Single Plan for Student Achievement and the district’s state-approved technology plan (PDF; 104MB; 104pp.). Every year in schools, technology committees, school site councils, administrators, teachers, students, and parents look at how to allocate limited school funds. Technology purchases can be very costly, but administrators and teaching teams do not always have the data they need to know how to prioritize the effectiveness of planned technology purchases.

In the Spotlight

Serrano Intermediate School, Saddleback Valley Unified School District
The technology committee at Serrano Middle School compiles and works from a technology “wish list” that includes both the “need to have” items (including low-tech items) and the “nice to have” items (usually more progressive and expensive technologies). This prioritizing helps them evaluate expenditures in light of the entire school budget.

To help the school planning teams decide on technology purchases, leaders can help teaching teams and technology committees visualize the “ideal classroom” by asking the following questions:

  • What technology would it have (LCD projector; wireless laptop lab; large, flat-screen monitor)?
  • What Web-based assessment tools would speed and improve monitoring of student progress?
  • What furniture would be needed to house technology or maximize its use?
  • What support would be needed to maintain it?
  • What are the “Need to Have” items? (Think of those that should be in every classroom or available to every student in California.)
  • What are the “Nice to Have” technologies that may require more sophisticated training or may only be used in certain content areas (GIS, animation, etc.)?

Among other things, administrators and school teams often need support for the areas of:

  • Maintenance
  • Servers
  • Firewalls
  • Antivirus software
  • Acceptable use policies
  • As defined in the California Department of Education’s Education Technology Planning Information, an acceptable use policy is a policy that contains provisions for student’s use of the Internet and network in a school district and serves as a contract between the parent and the school.
  • SAFE (Outside Source) —an Internet safety education nonprofit foundation—provides free examples of acceptable use policies.
  • Cost-effective tools (such as open source software) (Outside Source)
  • Online assessment programs
  • Smartboards
  • Wireless PCs
  • Teacher Web pages
  • Office productivity software and tutorials for teachers and students (for example, word processing programs, spreadsheets, presentation software, and databases)
  • E-rate issues (federal funding, formulas)
  • Wiring and infrastructure issues

In the Spotlight

Standard School District
Standard School District uses SchoolDude.com, a fee-based online work order management system, to save time and money and lessen frustration that comes from waiting for repairs to be completed. Teachers report maintenance issues by filling out a simple form accessed from their computer. A work order is generated in the online work order system which is then prioritized by the superintendent. The maintenance department staff provides an estimate for the repair (which is itemized by the budget office staff) and then assigns the work to a maintenance employee. The online system notifies the person making the repair request of the date and approximate time the repair will be completed. Data collected by the system documents the type and amount of materials used to complete the repair which helps to determine future supply requisitions.

Communication and consistency have been increased since the online system was instituted and teachers, staff, and administrators are pleased with the streamlined result. Maintenance workers know what repairs are needed and can plan their time accordingly. In addition to generating work orders, the system also provides updates on when routine maintenance should be done such as replenishing the fire extinguishers or replacing the batteries in the schools’ smoke alarms.

Related Links

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