By Dr. Ramiro Zuniga
(Part 1 of 2)
What is the purpose of a technology committee? Is it simply to create a technology plan?
The answer, in one word, is no.
A more complete answer will require a more detailed explanation.
In Part 1, I will discuss the structure and organization of a technology committee. I will also discuss the process by which to establish the committee and define a starting point. In Part 2, I will discuss the function and purpose of the technology committee.
What should the technology committee look like?
In order to fully understand the purpose of a technology committee, one must first understand how a technology committee is brought together.
Generally the makeup of a technology committee consists of a cross section of district personnel that can represent all the district stakeholders; students and staff. Certain to be included in the committee are department heads that have access and control over funding sources. Technical personnel should also be participants, as many discussions and decisions will require technical interpretation. At least one campus principal respectively representing elementary, middle school, and high school grade levels should be also be part of the committee. Teachers, given their unique vantage point, would be an excellent addition to any technology committee. And finally, community members should be given consideration for serving on the committee.
It is important to realize that the composition of the committee should be balanced. Having too many technical personnel, as an example, can skew the direction of the committee. It is equally important to realize that it is impossible to allow everyone interested in serving to do so.
There is no prerequisite skill level required of any technology committee participant; however there are two important traits to look for when determining whom to invite to participate. The first trait is a high interest in raising the level of technology integration across the district. The second trait is a genuine willingness to work collaboratively.
Who builds the technology committee?
In most instances, the Technology Director is the individual given the responsibility of building the technology committee for the district. This makes absolute sense given the Technology Director’s familiarity with technology. It should be noted, however, that others can build a technology committee just as effectively. The critical component in building is to keep the committee balanced in relation to the participants.
Where does the technology committee begin?
A great starting point for the committee is a discussion of what is obvious. Questions should be asked regarding areas that need improvement. Are there enough computers throughout the district? Is technology equipment across the district too old?
A discussion should also be held regarding a, “wish list” of what is desired in relation to technology. Does the district need a higher level of technology enriched staff development? Are there specific technologies that are being asked for by district personnel?
A review of progress made against the previous technology plan should be carried out. This review may help identify goals that were not met. The review may also identify why the goals were not met. It may become apparent that the goals of the previous plan were too lofty.
It should be communicated that initial discussions are simply a starting point that will lead to better defined goals and objectives.