Thinking About a Tech Purchase? {1000th post!}

the iOS family pile (2012)

A few weeks ago, I had two memorable back-to-back experiences.

One day, I was with a group of administrators, many of whom had the same question: “We’re getting one-to-one laptops — what does that mean for us?” This is a completely authentic question that comes up more often than one might think. The obvious answer (but not one we can say out loud) is, “Well, what did you think it would mean when you approved the idea of spending tens and thousands of dollars on them?”

The next day, my Teaching with Technology co-professor and I went to a nearby district. In this district, a group of educators had volunteered countless summer hours to speak with vendors, ed tech leaders, makerspace leaders, go on tours, and more to determine the best way to spend the technology millage they had received. By doing so, they were really able to begin thinking about not just what to buy but why. They considered corollary questions, like, “How do our classrooms and facilities need to be arranged to promote ______?” “What are the implications for students without tech access at home?” “How does BYOD work with kids who don’t have personal equipment?” They learned about tools that had not been on their radar and were making powerful decisions.

One thing that occurred to me is that too-often, the first scenario occurs: stuff gets bought without a clear vision of how it will be used and without clear connection to, as Doug Reeves said at a conference recently, who we want our graduates to be in our community. So I made the very Understanding-by-Design-y handout below to take to the second scenario who, as it turns out, had already started figuring that out. The idea is to work the handout from top to bottom … decide the outcome you want, then how you’ll get it. Technology becomes the last choice, not the first one.

You can click on the image below (or here) to be taken to the PDF.

Hope it comes in handy.

And one more thing … this is, according to WordPress, the 1000th post of the SLM blog. 1000 posts in just under 5 years = whoa.

Technology is a Game Changer Handout



Photo: “the iOS family pile (2012)” by blakespot, on Flickr. Used with a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 license.

One Response to “Thinking About a Tech Purchase? {1000th post!}”

  1. Elson Liu says:

    Love the form! We’re talking about using it with our building-level teams to help focus the discussion in the right way.

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