Although no longer required by the state, nor for Priority 1 e-rate funding eligibility, we agreed that the continuation of technology planning is a vital practice. As with previous revisions, we obtained feedback and recommendations from the educational community - In addition to administrators, teachers, librarians, and other staff, we had offered parents and community members the opportunity to contribute as well.
Participant input was regularly obtained through interactions with our teachers, through membership and participation in school PFO meetings and other district groups/events that facilitated articulation among parents, and school or district officials. We had administered a short survey for the parents and guardians of our students to complete and submit, and one for our elementary and middle school teachers as well. The information compiled was often shared among our staff members during the planning process as we formulated our action plan.
For parents and staff interested in a deeper level of participation, we granted access for them as “registered” guests in an internal collaborative workspace, so that they could view relevant planning information, participate in an open-ended “Question & Answer” area, engage within a discussion forum focusing on several predefined relevant topics. These resources were hosted in a private area of the district’s web site generally reserved for staff, but “registered” community members were provided with log on account credentials for temporary access.
In the Technology Planning Forum, feedback to specific questions along with interactive dialog among our administrators, teachers, parents and community members proved to be quite valuable to the planning process. The broad level of participation by all had significant value, and there were several ways to contribute:
- Continuous sharing of thoughts and ideas between teachers, technology specialists and administrators during meetings
- Completion of a technology survey designed for parents or elementary and middle school teachers
- Provision of comments (and comments on the ideas of others) on relevant topics in a discussion forum
- Initiation of new discussion topics within the context of the forum
- Posting of general questions (or provision of answers) in the Q&A area
- Joining the Technology Planning Committee, to be formed at the end of initial activities, to help revise the planning document
We established a working committee, comprised of representatives from several stakeholder groups, who worked together in an online collaborative environment. Committee members parsed the information collected, revised the vision and the mission, and modified the action plan as necessary based on local criteria and the provided NJDOE checklist.