In the past the focus on new technology has been very equitable - every teacher has equal access to the same equipment. However, as the new district technology integration specialist, I have been working with the Superintendant who is letting me and my technology committee decide how to spend 75% of the technology budget. I would like to get more technology on the teachers who are using it rather than have 1/2 of it sitting around collecting dust.

I have decided to have set up 2 categories.
1) Teachers who want high $$ equipment, such as a Smartboard, permanently installed in their rooms (we currently have portable ones) will have to earn X number of points. Ex. - 1 point for every 10 hours using the Smartboard, 1 point per PD point earned for technology workshops, etc.
2) Teachers can write mini grants stating how they would use technology in their classroom if they had it (smaller items such as digital cameras, etc)

I am presenting this new way to "earn" technology on Wednesday, so I still have time to change my mind. What does everyone else do in their district? What we're doing now isn't working well - I'm tired of seeing dust catchers!

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We are starting a similar program in our district. Our tech committee had many of the same concerns and wanted to find a way to "feed the rabbits" while still encouraging more use of technology in the classroom. Teachers who participate in short (1-3 hour) technology collaboration activities earn "tech tokens". An activity might be getting together to build a lesson using streaming video or using the document camera. The person leading the collaboration session gets more tokens than the ones participating. Tokens can be redeemed quarterly for hardware or software. The value of the tokens will vary depending on how many are earned.

This year will be the pilot. We are funding it out of technology money - so that gives us a little more freedom in how its used. Collaboration activities are reviewed by each building's instructional council. This way they can see what's going on and encourage activities that align with their building goals.

Is anyone running a similar program? I'm looking for an easy way to track the program. Any recommendations?
We did something similar to this with teachers who voluntered their time to help others with technical issues at their school. They earned points for closing work orders which they then redeemed in a special catalog we made. It took a lot of time keeping up with the points, who spent what, etc. The next year we went to stipends only.
I like the idea of putting the money where the use is, but as a veteran teacher who uses technology all the time I would be irritated if I had to go to another tech workshop (or present one) to get the hardware I needed. How about a minigrant?--you have a good idea--you get the stuff! Our district's foundation gives out grants for all kinds of projects. Here's the latest project we did with a $4000.00 grant. We bought GPS, digital cameras and video, Palm Pilots and took three fieldtrips. After the grant project was over we got to keep the stuff for other projects and kids benefit by some great experiences.
Actually, we are offering mini-grants for technology - it's just hard to tell what teachers are going to ask for. At this point in time, we don't have anyone, other than myself, who ever attends technology workshops. I just spent 4 days attending LoTi training, I will be attending the MACE conference, numerous tech workshops at the service center. In exchange, my superintendant just wrote a $19,000 grant for cool stuff for my room. However, nobody else seems all that interested. The majority of last year's technology budget went to the intermediate school, where the biggest complaint was "but our computers never work, so why bother". That brand new computer lab that those teachers just had to have is used for 20 minutes per day for keyboarding classes with an occasional "center day". We purchased 4 Smartboards - 2 get used regularly. Very frustrating! Which is why I am trying to get technology into the hands of those who use it.

I was talking to a guy the other day who made the comment that schools should have the best, up-to-the minute technology since we are producing tomorrow's leaders. Yet, our teachers are so lackluster in educating themselves. Yes, it takes time to learn all this, but it doesn't look like technology is going to go away, and they are all going to have to learn it sometimes. Can you read frustration here?!?!

Wade, luckily my superintendant and school board are 100% behind this plan. I present to the teachers Wednesday, so we'll see how behind it they are.

Mark, I like the idea of the tech tokens. One of the requirements for anyone who wants new technology in our district is to participate in LoTi by raising their LoTi score 1 point. This basically means that in order to get new technology at this point in time, students must TOUCH existing teachnology. They get to participate in interactive Smartboard lessons, create a word document, search the internet, etc. Nothing grand, but beyond teachers using a powerpoint in their rooms. We have really good computer access, so that is not the problem.

Nancy, if you taught in my district, you would be on my technology committee, which guarantees you technology items for your room - you would probably be teaching a class or two! Your grant looks awesome! What a great idea! I see the grant was in Shawnee Mission - do you know Rosie Riordan?
We struggle with this too! We are very fortunate that our Superintendent believes in the added benefits that technology brings to the learning community. She gave us, technology department, the first professional development day back from Christmas Break to develop a District Technology Conference. The teachers were surveyed long before the conference to identify the needs and sessions were created based on those needs. This was a mandatory PD day which is great because you are making sure that there is a common language/foundation in which to build on later. We also posted all the session handouts, videos, podcasts, etc. online so teachers could virtually attend sessions that they didn't have time for on the actual day. This conference has made a tremendous difference in wide scale use of technology. We still have teachers who don't use and tools collect dust but more are using technology than in the past.
I am with Journey Ed and we understand the challenge of making your technology budget go as far as possible.I would certainly like to discuss strategies that can help save your district money on educational technology purchases and administrative processes.

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Please consider just a few minutes of your time for a discussion to see how CCV Software/Journey Ed helps districts like yours. If there is another contact within your district I should be talking to I certainly appreciate it if you could forward this information or let me know who I should contact.

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