Strategic Plan, A Need for Change

This book outlines a strategic plan to implement a change to provide students with the technological skills needed to perform in classes with their school provided laptops.

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About the Author
Steve Barter
Steve is a Middle School Music Educator, teaching in Turner Maine. He is currently pursuing a graduate certificate in educational technology coordination from Boise State University.
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Strategic Plan, A Need for Change

by Steve Barter








Copyright © 2017

Table of Contents

 

pg. 2

Guideline 1: Identify a new mission or a need for reform within the school

pg. 4 – 5

Guideline 2: Seek support for educational change

pg. 6

Guideline 3: Create and communicate a model of the change effort

pg. 8

Guideline 4: Secure needed resources

pg. 9

Guideline 5: Acknowledge the emotional reaction to change

pg. 11 – 12

Guideline 6: Anticipate restructuring problems and identify problem-solving skills.

pg. 13

Guideline 7: Share the leadership.

pg. 15

Guideline 8: Anchor the innovation as quickly as possible to classroom practice.

pg. 16

Guideline 9: Embed the renewal effort and process into organizational practice.

 

1

Guideline 1: Identify a new mission or a need for reform within the school

 

All teachers need to teach students how to perform basic functions on their school provided laptops before requiring such tasks to complete work.

 

Teachers are often overestimating student’s knowledge and ability to perform basic tasks on computers.  At Tripp Middle School, students entering 7th grade are handed a brand new MacBook Air.  A short lesson on how to take care of the laptop is given, and students and parents attend a technology night in which they receive insurance information and instructions on how to login to the school informational system program “Powerschool.”  From there, students are then expected to use their laptops in classes and focus on content and their quality of work, without given adequate instruction on how to perform basic tasks on their device.  Most of these incoming 7th graders, in this school district, have never used a laptop daily, and few are familiar with the Mac operating system.  More focus needs to be given to teaching students how to use their laptops properly, from basic tasks to more advanced program specific instructions.

 

 

 

2
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Guideline 2: Seek support for educational change

 

Many people in different roles are needed to make this change happen.

 

Administration – Administration support is needed to ensure time at the begging of the year can be used for computer deployment and an initial “bootcamp” to show students how to perform the most basic functions on their computers like downloading applications, navigating the desktop and file windows, deleting files, and setting any necessary preferences that may be needed for additional support.  Administration should also ensure that teachers have the necessary professional development needed to navigate their way through more class specific software and tools.

 

Tech Integrator/Coordinator – The tech integrator of coordinator should assist the teachers in leading this initial “bootcamp” training for the students and be available to troubleshoot specific issues with the setup process.  They should also be able to come in to assist teachers with more class specific program or software directions. From a leadership standpoint, the tech coordinator should also be responsible for managing the timeline and providing professional development for teachers.

 

 

4

Advisors – Students advisors should be responsible for making sure students know how to login to all of their necessary accounts, like email and other web tools requiring login information.  The advisors should also help students keep track of their login information and passwords to the numerous accounts that students create.

 

Teachers – All teachers should be responsible for teaching students how to perform any computer and software tasks related to their class instruction.  Teachers should request help from the tech integrator or coordinator if necessary.

 

Parents – Parents should be involved in what the students are learning in an attempt to help monitor the students on their computers at home.  Parents do not necessarily need to take part in direct instruction, but there should be communication happening to inform parents what students can and can not do on their school provided laptops, and how parents can access accounts to monitor grades and behavior.

 

Students – Students should be encouraged to ask more questions related to specific tasks, and where they can find resources to review new material or learn more advanced material.

5

Guideline 3: Create and communicate a model of the change effort

 

A time line is created to include professional development and planning, the laptop deployment, “bootcamp”, and advisor account setup and management.  These are all short term goals that happen before school and during the beginning of each school year.

 

Beyond that, the change should be ongoing and fluid.  This will be tracked through an ongoing live spreadsheet that is updated frequently as teachers instruct students on new tasks or software.  A reduction in “how to” questions, and an increase in work quality will prove that the instructional change is working and students are understanding basic computing functions required for class implementation.

6
Artwork from the book - Strategic Plan, A Need for Change by Steve Barter - Ourboox.com

Guideline 4: Secure needed resources

 

This change has most of the resources already in place, as all students and teachers are provided with a device.

 

The resources required to implement this change come in two forms.  The first is professional development, for teachers to become more comfortable teaching step by step directions in tasks that may have become second nature. The second resource is the time required for teachers to deliver proper instruction, both the initial setup and class specific directions.  The timeline on the previous page shows specific days that are set aside for the deployment, initial “bootcamp” lessons, and account management instructions.  Teachers need to structure their class time with students to include more direct instruction in the technology tools they are requiring or implementing for their class.

8

Guideline 5: Acknowledge the emotional reaction to change

 

There will most likely be some initial negativity directed toward this change.  Teachers often see something like this come into fruition and view it as more work.  It is anticipated that teachers who are not comfortable with the technology themselves will not be in favor of teaching others, which is why adequate professional development will be required to completely implement this change.  It should also be noted that some teachers will think that this is not their job, and the technology or computer teachers should be responsible for this kind of instruction, however in some schools, like Tripp Middle School, this is not possible.  Teachers will feel successful and see higher quality work when students can focus more on the content rather than the method for achievement.

9
Artwork from the book - Strategic Plan, A Need for Change by Steve Barter - Ourboox.com

Guideline 6: Anticipate restructuring problems and identify problem-solving skills.

 

Restructuring problems:

  • Teachers feeling like more is being added to their already full plate.
  • Lack of initial planning for computer rollout, “winging it” doesn’t work.
  • Overestimating what students already know.  Students need clear, descriptive directions taught through repetition and access to resources for review.
  • Not allotting enough time for “boot camp” and advisor login organization, rushing through it to get it done quickly, creating less of a distraction to the schedule.
  • Not providing adequate professional development for teachers, leaving teachers feeling unsure or uncomfortable with the process.
  • Unclear communicating needs from students and parents to teachers, and from teachers to administration.
11

Problem Solving:

  • Ensuring teachers that this change is about students, and making them feel like they can learn the skills to succeed.  This will not require more work from the teachers after the initial rollout process, however it will require a change in the delivery of instruction based on what the teachers are requiring from the students.  If the teacher is requiring students to make an iMovie about product advertising, then students need to know how to navigate their way through iMovie.
  • A team of interested and invested teachers, coordinators, administrators, parents and students should be formed to generate a list of necessary instructional topics that need to be covered at the beginning of the year, and throughout the year as new tools and programs are being introduced and implemented.
  • Teachers should then be asked to create lists of required software and tools for their classes and practice demonstrating specific tasks associated with those programs.  For example:  If the music teacher is requesting students to turn in mp3’s of their music creation projects, then the teacher needs to show students how to achieve that and direct them to resources to reinforce the process.
  • This list should be broken down into several categories upon which the coordinator should assign appropriate time requirements to each topic and perform tests to ensure there is enough time allotted for  instruction, and that teachers themselves know how to deliver the instruction.
  • Teachers need to feel comfortable with this process, whether it’s the initial rollout and computer setup process, or specific class related instruction.  Mandatory professional development should be dedicated to   this as well as a variety of volunteer based “classes” teachers can take to become more comfortable teaching students how to use different programs or technology tools.
  • Ongoing check-ins should be taking place to monitor progress and program effectiveness.  As needs arise, they should be addressed.  This can take place during weekly or monthly staff meetings for teachers and administration.  Students can relay needs more directly to teachers during class time or through email.  Parents can also informally check in with teachers through email and phone calls as needed.
12

Guideline 7: Share the leadership.

 

The leadership from this project is divided into different tiers.

 

Tier 3, the top and the smallest tier, includes administration. The school principal and the technology coordinator should both be considered administrators for this process.  The Principal will make sure there is room in the schedule for the beginning of the year computer deployment training with the students, and the tech coordinator will assist with the deployment and lead the trainings for teachers.

 

Tier 2 includes the student’s advisors, who will assist students in setting up any necessary accounts needed, and teach students how to create and manage login information for those accounts.

 

Tier 1, and the largest tier includes the content area teachers.  These teacher are responsible for teaching students how to perform class specific tasks on their computers.

 

Each tier is important in ensuring all parts of this change are addressed and implemented.

13
Artwork from the book - Strategic Plan, A Need for Change by Steve Barter - Ourboox.com

Guideline 8: Anchor the innovation as quickly as possible to classroom practice.

 

The time table for this implementation should start now with a lot of the professional development and planning, to ensure everyone is ready for next years laptop deployment.  This is really a year long process that needs to start at the beginning of the year as computers are handed out, and continue through the year as needed.  Waiting till the beginning of the year to start the planning is too late and teachers will feel rushed, creating possible resistance to the change because of the lack of preparation.  Additionally the team mentioned in Guideline 6 should meet frequently to assess the effectiveness of the beginning of the year rollout and determine what students and teachers need more or less of to be successful.

15

Guideline 9: Embed the renewal effort and process into organizational practice.

 

As this process becomes more structured and refined, and teachers have a clear picture of the needs of students and the positive outcomes, this change of front loading and reinforcing technology skills will become an integral part of each classes.  Teachers are often guilty of overestimating what students actually know how to do, and understanding that students need to be taught how to achieve expectations will ultimately lead to students performing higher and becoming more successful as they continue their education.

 

Proper implementation needs proper training.  Teachers need to be trained to make decisions on what technology tools they want to implement into their classes.  Students need to be trained as well, to learn how to use these tools that teachers are implementing.  In my own experience, I have seen students struggle to complete quality work, and submit it on time, mainly because they are stuck somewhere in the “how to” process, not because of content misunderstanding.  This change, implemented efficiently and effectively will alleviate many of these issues and teachers teachers and students will both start taking more responsibility in their use of technology.

16
Artwork from the book - Strategic Plan, A Need for Change by Steve Barter - Ourboox.com

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