Be transparent about how the investments in district technology have impacted the overall goals of a school district. A technology budget can be one of the largest budgets in a school district, and district leadership will want to know their investment in technology is making an impact in the classroom. Tying technology purchases back to strategic goals of the district will be helpful to show that technology is foundational to student learning and achievement.
Some districts have established key performance indicators for learning in their district. The progress on the indicators is reported throughout the school year. Measure indicators regarding technology resource management and learning continuity with the resources. The district expectation is that students have modernized and engaging resources for learning provided to them. Those resources rely on technology to provide content in a safe and secure manner. Boards of Education need to know and understand how integral the technology department is to student and teacher success.
External standards created by reputable organizations like the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) could be used to help illustrate the impact of your technology program as standards are met. Without functional technology in your district, students and teachers would not be able to meet those standards. Moreover, the Future Ready Framework can assist in helping the district see where they are in the continuum of technology readiness.
Each technology department must also tell their own story of how technology has impacted the district and to show technology’s value to student learning. Create a regular cadence of communications from the district which highlights projects or actions that were engaging and motivating to students. Some school districts have strategic communications that go out to households in the area quarterly. The department of technology should be included in these opportunities so they can tell the story of how technology helped students and teachers. Examples: Padlet Stories of Impact, Houston ISD
Districts have also assigned “story tellers” in each of their schools to leverage social media to share the impact and best practices of technology integration into learning. The best stories of impact come from school sites and provide examples of how student learning is taking place in ways that could not happen without technology.
An example of sharing the value of investment in technology comes from the Verizon Innovative Learning Schools initiative. Participating districts use this site template to show the value of the program in their schools. They documenthow each school is implementing the program, along with artifacts and testimonials on how their school has evolved and transformed during their participation.
This documentation not only serves as a running record of the school’s progress as a transformed learning environment, but it also can validate and justify why preserving and sustaining a 1:1 environment is essential. Portfolios can be shared at parent organization meetings, community events, and district board of education meetings.
The value of the district’s investment in transformational teaching and learning with the integration of technology needs to consistently be shared, with the hope that your model serves as a baseline for learning and funding to sustain the program in future years.