By Christopher R. Morral, Project Consultant / Educational Liaison
Over the past couple of decades K-12 schools have spent billions of dollars updating classrooms with both infrastructure and hardware required to support learning in the 21st century. Approaching this subject from the perspective of a construction manager, there are several critical action items to consider when planning your next technological upgrade or renovation.
Develop a plan
A plan is necessary for implementing and upgrading your K-12 technology needs. Quite often people understand technology as the hardware, software, internet accessibility, and internet connections. A technology plan considers both the hardware requirements along with methods to integrate technology into curriculum. This becomes vital to advancing student learning based upon the use of the improved technology. With both of these components included in your plan, it is easier to understand the overall impact technology can have on learning.
Involve students as stakeholders
While the plan is in development, all stakeholders should have the opportunity to provide input. Specifically, student feedback can be quite valuable to the process because in many cases they are well versed in methods and means by which technology can be integrated into learning outcomes.
Establish an appropriate budget
Each district should know and understand its technological capacity and what the IT department can support. From this perspective an appropriate budget should be developed for what the district can afford. When establishing a budget, it is critical to include hardware costs, software costs, professional development, and future expansion costs.
Prepare for expansion
K-12 technology is advancing at a rapid rate. Planning for future expansion is a critical component to establishing efficiency with the intent of meeting or exceeding your plan goals. Understanding trends in delivery of curriculum materials and being aware of emerging technological advances are important pieces to your overall plan and should be weighted based upon overall impact on student learning.
Chris brings more than 20 years of educational experience along with a comprehensive understanding of issues facing public education today. They include school safety, pupil/personnel issues, employment law, school law, curriculum development, and construction processes. In his most recent role as Superintendent of Schools, Chris demonstrated a thorough understanding of the unique challenges facing school boards, superintendents, and communities. Chris has successfully helped many school districts through capital projects, feasibility studies, safe schools initiatives, and curricular evaluation. Chris understands 21st century learning and has assisted school leaders in growing professional learning communities where administrators and teachers collaborate, share ideas, and continue to learn and grow in their professional roles for the benefit of students.