Effective technology leadership promotes the development of a balanced and inclusive technology infrastructure that examines assistive technology (AT), educational technology (EdTech), and information technology (InfoTech) as part of a technology ecosystem. Leadership guides with a collaborative team of diverse stakeholders in the development of a community-wide vision for technology use and create a strategic technology implementation plan.
A strategic technology implementation plan is the mechanism to shift practice. A district’s strategic plan for developing and maintaining a balanced and inclusive technology ecosystem establishes goals, objectives, and actions for synergizing AT, EdTEch, and InfoTech while assuring each entity maintains its primary duties. Leaders ensure the collaborative implementation team, including internal and external stakeholders, are involved in all areas of plan development, including technology funding, device and materials selection and acquisition, classroom technology integration, and maintenance of technology. A strategic plan to establish an equitable, balanced, and inclusive technology ecosystem creates intentional connections across internal and external organizational boundaries.
The Center for Inclusive Technology in Education Systems (CITES) has utilized a design-thinking process, in partnership with local districts, to refine a set of leadership practices that enhance the development of a balanced and inclusive technology infrastructure.
Actions that lead to a strategic technology implementation plan include:
- Create a comprehensive technology plan in which AT, EdTech and InfoTech are included and balanced across the project.
- Create goals and benchmarks.
- Communicate all aspects of the plan in ways that promote the development of a balanced and inclusive technology ecosystem.
Planning for Success: Embedding Strategic Priorities
Intermediate District 287 serves 11 member districts in the West Metro area of Minneapolis, providing unique programming to meet the needs of students with disabilities. “Accessible from the start,” serves as a guiding principle for District 287 and is a critical element of their strategic planning for technology. Rather than a strategic plan that is developed, but rarely referred to, their plan drives every aspect of their work from budget decisions to communications with the community to agendas for staff meetings.
In practice, this means that Intermediate District 287 takes explicit steps to both implement their strategic plan and to ensure that resources are allocated to support it. For example, during each budget cycle, decisions about the budget are conducted through the lens of the identified strategic priorities. Budgetary requests from the superintendent are directly aligned and support the strategic plan. This process is mirrored in staff and team meetings throughout the district. For example, agenda items and discussions are organized around strategic priorities reflected in communications with the community. The District credits their success in creating a shared community-wide vision for technology and a culture of sustainability with their adherence to a well-developed strategic plan.
Future Ready District Technology Assessment (Future Ready Schools)
Empowered Superintendents Toolkit (Consortium for School Networking (CoSN))
Moullin, J. C., Ehrhart, M. G., & Aarons, G. A. (2018). The role of leadership in organizational implementation and sustainment in service agencies. Research on social work practice, 28(5), 558-567.
In this article three implementation strategies focused on improving leadership are described. Implementation is posited as a multiphasic process, influenced by a range of factors, within a multilevel context. The exploration, preparation, implementation, sustainment framework is used discuss three critical issues, organizational climate/culture, collaborative relationships, and contracting, involved in implementation.
Bertram, R. M., Blase, K. A., & Fixsen, D. L. (2015). Improving programs and outcomes: Implementation frameworks and organization change. Research on Social Work Practice, 25(4), 477-487.
This article presents recent refinements to implementation constructs and frameworks. It updates and clarifies the frequently cited study conducted by the National Implementation Research Network (NIRN) that introduced these frameworks for application in diverse endeavors.