Let me ask you an honest—albeit uncomfortable—question: If I asked you to explain the rationale behind the technology choices that your school is making, could you do it?
- Describe the kinds of things you’d like to see students doing with technology—and more importantly, how those actions and behaviors will ensure that your students and your school are more successful than they currently are?
- Describe the core technology expectations you have for every teacher and team in your building—not just those who are drawn to new digital spaces and behaviors already?
- Guarantee that every teacher in your building was aware of—and invested in—the same core technology expectations that you’ve embraced?
- Prove that the choices made when spending your technology budget are supporting your school’s mission?
If these kinds of questions are hard for you to answer—if developing a systematic plan for integrating technology into your building’s practices that is connected to your core priorities has been more challenging than you expected—consider giving these planning documents a look:
High-functioning learning communities are driven by the core beliefs detailed in their mission, vision, values, and goals statements. Working together, parents, principals, and teachers define priorities that carry great implications for instruction.
Those priorities should play a role in all of the choices made by a school—including choices about the kinds of technology to incorporate into classrooms. Use this handout to ensure that your technology plans align with your school’s mission, vision, values and goals.
Stories help to make complex ideas concrete—and will keep you focused on the core beliefs of your learning community when making decisions about digital behaviors, tools and projects to pursue. While every school should write their own collection of technology integration samples that detail the decisions of fictional teachers and teams that are effectively translating their mission, vision and core priorities in action, this piece is designed to serve as an example of the kinds of stories that can help to guide actions.
In Professional Learning Communities at Work (1998), Rick DuFour and Bob Eaker argued that effective vision statements in a PLC articulate, “a vivid picture of the organization’s future that is so compelling that a school’s members will be motivated to work together to make it a reality.”
Use this handout to begin crafting a set of 5-10 vision statements that articulate a vivid picture of what technology use will look like in your school’s future. Remember that all vision statements must be connected to your school’s mission.
Here’s to hoping that these documents—which I’ve created as a part of a two-day workshop that I’m developing centered around my newest book—are valuable to you.
And on that note, if you’ve got any feedback for me, I’d LOVE to hear it! How could I improve these tools? What am I missing when it comes to creating a pervasive, school-wide vision for teaching and learning with technology?
Thanks in advance for helping me to improve my work!