With technology changing at a rapid pace, it’s clear it will continue to comprise a significant place in the future of K-12 education. Technology infiltrates almost every facet of K-12 education, thus learning to incorporate technology into the daily workings of a classroom represents an important task for your Chief Technology Officer (CTO) or technology team.
Expect the role of the CTO to evolve in the coming years, as more and more districts recognize the emerging changes on the horizon. The following list provides insight on how to manage a beneficial relationship with technology and foster a positive relationship with your CTO or tech team.
- Identify Challenges: Problems such as network capacity and network speed are common for many districts. Recognizing challenges such as these and others is the first step to building a solid plan that leads to long-term sustainability.
- Set Goals: Once you recognize your district’s challenges, create a vision for your district’s technology plan. In order to make the most of the changes and new trends in technology, figure out how your district wants to transform learning. A strong technology infrastructure is paramount to creating a progressive digital learning environment.
- Assign Leadership Position(s) in Technology: Make an effort to value the CTO in your district’s leadership structure. The U.S. Department of Education’s National Educational Technology Plan suggests putting the district’s top technology professional in the superintendent’s cabinet. While the position is relatively new, it should be highly regarded in the district’s leadership.
- Be More Involved in the Hiring Process: To ensure the CTO’s vision matches the district’s plans; superintendents should participate in selecting the best and brightest candidates for IT positions. It’s best to already have a rough plan for technology in mind and see what the candidates can contribute to the initial strategy. Also inquire how the candidates will handle budgets constraints, communication, and staffing.
- Fund Change: Budget represents a paramount hurdle for many districts. In addition to identifying aspects of existing budgets that can be reduced or removed, superintendents should work with the CTO to uncover other sources of funding such as grants, additional fundraising, or other awards. You can use additional funding for professional development of staff, building up the network and capacity, and purchasing new equipment.
- Strive to Overcome Limitations: While supplying each teacher with a secure computer may no longer be a problem, a new challenge will be opening up the network. Many teachers bring course materials on their phones, personal laptops or even on their smart watch. Instead of locking down the network, districts should allow teachers to access it. Moving toward a collaborative environment entails allowing teachers to make use of the district’s resources.
What challenges is your district facing when it comes to keeping up with technology?
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