Category Archives: Ed Tech 501

Technology Maturity Survey

The technology maturity survey was an eye opener. If someone had asked me where my school rated before I did the survey, I would have said my school was fairly progressive. Now I realize that we are barely at Island status.

I rate my school as an Emerging Island for a combination of reasons. The primary reasons are:

  •  Because I realize now that it isn’t just about having “stuff”.
  •  How technology is or isn’t being integrated into the curriculum
  •  The impact technology has on student achievement
  • Limited communication between stakeholders

Today after a PD activity, a couple of teachers were talking about what happened to all the student laptops we had last year. I listened to all of the different ideas they had for students no longer having access to computers in the classroom, but I didn’t say anything. The sad thing is I know where they are – locked in a room in the media center. The computers are just sitting there, so close but totally inaccessible. It feels like we are taking giant steps backward.

Our district’s goal is to prepare our students to successfully compete in a 21st century environment.  We have the ability to do that: we just have to get everyone moving in the same direction. To do this, we must have a common focus. We can no longer be “islands” operating in isolation. Communication is the key!


Technology Use Planning Overview

Change is coming…..

What is technology use planning?

  • It is a short term plan that focuses on technology applications to reach desired outcome for learners and educators.
  • It is a SMART goal for learning utilizing technology in curriculum delivery.
  • It is embedded in staff development

The one thing that really stood out to me in the Transforming American Education Learning Powered by Technology (United States Department of Education Office of Educational Technology, 2010) publication is the shift to a learner focus. The plan must address the questions:  what are the desired outcomes for the learners, and how can technology enhance the learning and curriculum delivery? While building an infrastructure is critical, institutional hardware and software purchasing shouldn’t be what drives the plan. We are in the business of education, and our customers are the students. It is their needs that should be driving our planning. A couple of years ago my state began requiring the technology plan be tied to school improvement goals. I think this is a major step forward in outcome based technology planning. We have a ways to go, but it is progress.

In the article Developing Effective Technology Plans, See (1992) made a strong case for short term plans, stating the rapid change in technology. I agree that plans need to be for shorter time spans. For the past 12 years, I have been involved in one aspect or another with a district’s technology team. For six years this included writing the technology plans and e-rate applications. The technology plans were in 5 year increments, with an option to update (if approved by the state). This was/is a tedious and time consuming task, trying to plan for technology that may be antiquated in a couple of years. The focus of the plans seemed to be on quantity – how many computers, running what applications. Quality of integration or learning sadly was not the focus.  See (1992) points out that student outcome should drive the technology use plan. He continues to say that curriculum enhancement and staff development are also critical elements of and effective plan.


Anderson, L. (1996). Guidebook for developing an effective instructional technology plan, version 2.0. National Center for Technology Planning. Retrieved from

See, J. (1992). Developing effective technology plans. National Center for Technology Planning. Retrieved from

U.S. Department of Education, Office of Technology Education. (2010). Transforming American education: learning powered by technology (Contract No. ED-04-CO-0040). Retrieved from


Zotero Group Library

I first stumbled on to Zotero when we did our group Digital Divide project, but didn’t truly understand the depth of its abilities. So when this project came up I was totally stoked!

This week we really delved into Zotero. For those of you wondering just what Zotero is, it is an awesome Open Source application that becomes your personal research assistant. It captures all things digital from online PDF documents to audio files.  It allows you to upload files from your computer, or save documents from the Internet, and then generates formatted citations. Best yet….Zotero goes wherever you go. In this aspect it is similar to Google Documents, but its purpose is as a research tool, not a filing cabinet or productivity suite. If you want you may also download an app for your Mozilla browser and for your word processor. These applications sync with your Zotero account online, so your information is read and waiting wherever you are.

For Week 9 I choose to find articles on Open Source Software in education, not realizing that just about every application I was using was open source: my browser – Mozilla, Learning Management System – Moodle, search engine – Google, citation generator -Zotero, and since I was using my laptop and not my desktop my word processor – Libre Office.  As I found more and more articles, and really started reading them, I was amazed at how many open source applications are out there, and the impact they have on education.

For Week 10 we used another component of Zotero – the group library. This feature allows multiple users to share information in a group folder. Since Zotero has a note option, group members can not only view the documents and notes contributed by the other users, they can add to them. It simplifies research collaboration. If you want to see what our group has come up with, go check out our library:

In the future I can see using Zotero not just for this graduate program, but in my professional and personal life as well. I have already shown several colleagues this amazing tool. I think that students will really benefit from this application, especially since our servers are not set up to have individualized student logins or server space. By having students use Zotero, they will have all of their research information with them wherever they have Internet connectivity. They will no longer be chained to a specific computer, or be at the mercy of the computer’s hard drive and other students users.





Ed Tech 501 Introduction Video

This is the video I created in Animoto as an introduction for Ed Tech 501- Spring of 2012