ISTE’s Essential Conditions, as I have come to understand, are necessary conditions to effectively integrate technology in our schools. While some of the contents I recognized, I had never seen these essential conditions framed in such a succinct, clear, yet all-inclusive fashion. While there is much technology being used in our school, I now have a better understanding why some individuals have not felt positively about this, and why frustrations with our program(s) exist. Some of the most basic essentials, such as having a shared Technology Vision and Technology Plan, do not exist. This course provided me the opportunity to develop and administer a survey on the Essential Conditions, and although the response was low due to the time of year, the results confirmed some suspicions I had. For example, while technology is mentioned in our mission and School Improvement Plan (SIP), most survey respondents were not aware of this. The survey provided useful insights on the other essential conditions as well, including empowered leaders, technical support and equitable access.
The course provided me the opportunity to develop a Technology Vision, and after researching what existed for the school and district I drafted one and shared it with our principal and technology specialist. Positive feedback was received, but in order for it to be truly a shared vision, we must reexamine it collectively as a leadership team and solicit input from those we represent before finalizing.
An additional learning experience was the assessment of the essential conditions in our school using the SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis. I had not used SWOT prior to this, and I found it to be a thorough way to consider the current situation. It was a time-consuming project, but provided interesting insights into our school’s current reality. The analysis revealed opportunities for improvement that could then be translated into SMART goals to become part of our action plan. The action plan supports the school-level strategic plan and will also support the Technology Plan once completed.
Finally, I was able to research possible grants and completed a grant sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF). This was not as easily done as I expected it to be, but am thankful for the experience. Starting with one more involved provided an excellent base of knowledge on the grant process, and will likely make those I take on in the future seem much easier and less time consuming to complete.
I appreciate having these learning experiences, and Dr. Fuller has been an outstanding professor as always! I believe this course has certainly equipped me to become an effective leader in facilitating the development of our Technology Vision and Plan and in facilitating other technology initiatives within our school and district moving forward.