• IDRA Newsletter • October 1997

So, you understand the need for your school to have access to technology. And you know there are federal and state requirements for technology in schools. Maybe you have already purchased some computers and software. Now what?

Public schools are getting computers and Internet connections, but these tools are no guarantee that anything is changing in the classroom. Two­thirds of U.S. schools report that they have Internet connections, but for the majority it means that they have one telephone line and a couple of computers in the library. The best use of the Internet is to have students share projects and ideas with peers and experts, but many schools are far from being able to do this. The Wall Street Journal reports that two­thirds of the money for technology in schools goes to hardware and only 5 percent for training teachers.

If you want to do all you can with the technology you already have and create a technology plan for your school for the upcoming years, IDRA can help. We provide technical assistance to schools and school districts in the effective use of technology. IDRA can help you do the following:

  • Analyze current school resources and utilization.
  • Learn ways to enhance your current resources.
  • Develop a comprehensive technology plan.
  • Implement your technology plan collaboratively.
  • Provide professional development sessions to your teachers, counselors and parents, when appropriate, to integrate technology better with the curriculum.
  • Practice ways to ensure that your use of instructional technology is equitable and contributes to the educational success of all your students.

Specifically, IDRA’s targeted assistance includes needs assessment, technical assistance and professional development. Below is a more detailed description of how IDRA can help you improve your school’s technology capability and meet federal and state requirements for technology.

Needs Assessment

IDRA will survey your school’s current capacity and determine what is needed to make it Internet ready. The survey will include a physical examination of the campus, its network of computers, phone systems and software. The needs assessment will also include interviews with school personnel, including teachers, teacher assistants and administrative ersonnel. The result will be a set of recommendations including the following aspects:

  • Hardware such as computers, phone lines and other peripherals.
  • Software for communication and for pre­ and post­communication capabilities, as well as other software necessary for instructional, coordination and leadership activities within the campus and between campuses.
  • A plan for training appropriate school personnel, including designated teachers, teacher aides and administrative personnel.
  • A follow­up schedule of audits to informally provide feedback to the school about the execution of the plan and possible corrective measures and how to expand and capitalize on positive results that are occurring.

Technical Assistance

IDRA will provide the campus technical assistance in all aspects relating to the campus’ technology plan. This will facilitate execution of the plan and save the school both money and time. Some of the assistance that will be provided includes these areas:

  • Selecting an Internet provider.
  • Selecting hardware and software.
  • Creating Internet products, such as web sites.

Professional Development

IDRA will provide all the training to ensure that teachers and other school personnel use the technology in the most optimal way, for instruction, communication and leadership activities. The training approach will proceed in a collaborative fashion and will include the following steps:

  • Meet with the school personnel to determine the nature of the training sessions and to develop objectives and timelines.
  • Carry out training sessions.
  • Follow up with debriefings and informal surveys to determine any additional needs or follow­up sessions.

For more information contact Dr. Felix Montes, Dr. Pam McCollum or Dr. Adela Solís at IDRA, 210-444-1710 or e-mail at feedback@idra.org.

[©1997, IDRA. This article originally appeared in the October 1997 IDRA Newsletter by the Intercultural Development Research Association. Permission to reproduce this article is granted provided the article is reprinted in its entirety and proper credit is given to IDRA and the author.]