Technology Planning and Strategic Priorities
The nature of technology planning, as critical today as ever, is shifting from a “list of technologies” to a "service capabilities" model. Technology has shifted from a “nice to have” to an “important” and now is seen as a critical strategic asset. This is the view taken in almost every vertical, including education. Some of the most progressive technology planning purposely does not call out specific technologies, but plans for capabilities of core infrastructure and supporting processes to allow the organization agility to best achieve its strategic goals and meet the needs of fast iteration, a critical component of innovation.
The 2016-2019 Strategic Technology Priorities were developed by a team of Minnetonka technology teachers, with input from Media Specialists, Technology Department staff, Teaching and Learning Department staff, the 2016 National Education Technology Plan, technology industry professionals, CTOs and Technology Directors from similar high performing school districts.
The four basic Technology Priorities are principle based and chosen to provide the framework for the essential work of technology implementation in service to the District Mission. New technologies, programs, practices and means of instruction will appear over the next years and the priorities here are intended to enable the evaluation, design, implementation, support and training on those technologies and practices.
Four strategic priorities
The priorities below are designed to support the overall mission of the District, supporting both operational and instructional areas. Both business operations and the emerging Teaching and Learning Instructional Framework are essential areas supported by the broad strategic technology priorities below. Each of these areas is essential to support the work of the District.
- Priority 1: Infrastructure
- Priority 2: IT Service Management (ITSM)
- Priority 3: Professional Development
- Priority 4: Learning Technologies
Priority 1: Infrastructure
- Bandwidth, local and wide area networks: As bandwidth needs grow due to richer media, device proliferation and the increasing quality of digital learning resources, internal and external networks must keep ahead of projected needs. This includes internal switching and throughput, WiFi, external bandwidth and related network redundant systems.
- Data systems: A large number of essential services and databases are needed to support operational and instructional work. The data systems that run these applications must be configured in such a way as to provide high availability and continuous availability where practically possible. These include finance, HR, student systems communications systems (phones, email, website) Skyward Family Access, Schoology and many other infrastructure services.
Priority 2: IT service management (ITSM)
- IT Service Management: The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is a set of practices for IT service management (ITSM) that focuses on aligning IT services with the needs of business. ITIL and ITSM are adopted best practices used in the District to provide a technology ecosystem that best meets the District’s vision, strategic goals, business operations and all eight dimensions of the Teaching and Learning Instructional Framework.
- Security, Identity and Policy management: Identity management, security and threat mitigation have become increasingly important and will remain a high priority District-wide for all user groups: students, parents, staff and community. Consistent and automated identity management tools should be used where practically possible, minimizing potential user account management errors and allow for fast onboarding and accurate offboarding of user accounts. Security tools and alert systems along with continued developments in security best practices play a critical role in security management.
- Student, Parent, Staff and Community Access: Access to reliable technologies (hardware, software, infrastructure, support and training) is critical to the District’s mission. Appropriate and sustainable equipment replacement cycles, software updates and effective support and training for the District community are an essential priority. A staffed Help Desk for staff and the community compliments the large volume of digital support aids also available. Regular equipment replacement cycles for infrastructure equipment and student devices needs to be planned and budgeted over multi-year cycles.
Priority 3: Professional development
- Often overlooked in industry, this essential area is dedicated approximately 15% of the overall technology budget annually. Professional development leverages other technology investments assuring authentic implementation. Well-planned and sustained professional development is a key component of successful technology adoption and deep integration. Training should be relevant, frequent, and differentiated.
Priority 4: Learning technologies
- Sometimes called “Educational Technology” this is a significantly large area that addresses technology integration into instructional practice, selection of most appropriate student and staff devices, selection of learning software applications, digital instructional practices, research and development, digital citizenship, health and balance, professional development and policy and programming designed to accelerate and deepen learning. This is the area that benefits the most from a high performing infrastructure as the Learning Technologies area is often the first and generally has the largest volume of new and potential improved technologies to test and implement.
- Minnetonka Technology Belief Statements: In the spring of 2014, the iPad Implementation Leadership Team came to agreement on a list of belief statements that continue to be used to guide our decision-making and implementation of technology. Minnetonka’s instructional model is built on the Charlotte Danielson framework and includes, among other key instructional strategies, an emphasis on the integration of personal technologies in the classroom.