Educational Technology Planning Guides

Written in response to a colleague’s post this week…

Staff Professional Development is planned by our building principal based on our five-year plan which was developed by the staff… I want to show them how using technology will benefit both them and their students.


You seem to be going at this in the right way. The California Department of Education (CDE) publishes an Educational Technology Planning Guide, which I think is worth sharing here. As a site technology coordinator I considered this my bible, and I think it can be a valuable resource for any leader involved in educational technology planning.

The general premise is that any educational technology plan must begin with curriculum and ways that technology can support or enhance the delivery and mastery of curriculum. When a site is beginning the tech planning process or considering spending money to upgrade the technology at their site, I always direct the conversation toward the curricular goals of the site.

The guide then calls for planners to consider what kind of staff development will be needed to help teachers integrate the necessary (or desired) technologies into the curriculum. The staff development portion of the plan should address each curricular goal, and should not introduce anything that is not related to a curricular goal… though some productivity and data management applications (such as email and online grade books) may not be directly related to curricular goals.

It is only after curriculum and staff development have been addressed, that planners can then move on to considering what hardware, software, infrastructure, and technical support are required to support the curriculum and staff development goals.

Funding and budgeting is addressed only after the needs in the previous three categories are established.

The fifth and final section of the plan (according to the original – and best – version of the state guide) is Monitoring and Evaluation. The idea is to establish systems for monitoring the implementation of the ed tech plan and to determine in what ways the effectiveness of the plan will be evaluated.

Later versions of the plan also included the need to base all decisions on research (a potentially fool hardy thing in this field, I believe, at least if “research
is used in it’s most strict academic sense; there are times when solutions are evident, but have not been formally studied – and yes, I realize this may be slightly iconoclastic to write this in a phd program). The latest version also includes a requirement to articulate the k12 programs with adult ed programs in terms of technology use. While this is relevant to many California school districts, I think this section of the plan is less relevant to other educational technology planners, and less essential to the process of educational technology planning.

But the five sections discussed above have often served as a quick checklist for me when working on various projects.

1.) Curriculum
2.) Staff Development
3.) Infrastructure
4.) Funding & Budgeting
5.) Monitoring & Evaluation

Whether you are in California or not I recommend you explore this resource, if you have not already.

Incidentally, when googling this guide, which is far faster than navigating to it via the CDE website, I discovered that Apple has a similar Educational Technology Planning Guide available online, along with a great graphically organized representation of the process (pictured here). I’ve included this link below as well.



Commission on Technology in Learning. (2001). Technology Planning Guid.e Available online at

Apple Computer. (2005). Technology Planning Guide. Available online at