I introduced a Maslow-type pyramid about a year ago. Since then additional experience and reflection have produced an expanded model (see image). In future blogs the layers will be discussed in some detail. For this blog, the focus will be on “Board and Administration Commitment–Strategic Planning.” Again, progression up through layers is dependent on each lower layer being substantially satisfied. Beyond lip service, this is not something the instructional technologist can readily garner. The reasons are reasonable: most board members and administrators did not learn in a constructivist and technologically integrated environment; technology is expensive; additional staff are required; studies conducted so far are neutral; fear of the unknown; and the natural reluctance to change. Too often, in our enthusiasm, technologists jump in to levels above “Commitment…” prematurely. Most of us have experienced the resulting frustration.
So where does that leave the technology integration specialist, the instructional technologist, the technology director, facilitator, coordinator, manager? Not only do we need to possess content knowledge, at least at the basic level, across a large number of disciplines; to be expert in instructional design; to know all there is to know about technology grants and eRate; to be great teachers and trainers; to be superior communicators orally and in writing; to know everything about hardware, software, the Internet, and systems infrastructure from technician to director level; to be experienced and superior supervisors, leaders and managers; and to know how to successfully integrate technology into the most ridiculous instructional unit or lesson plan, but we also need be expert change theory practitioners.
Available to assist are two potentially influential stakeholder groups: students and parents/guardians. But even within the parent/guardian group a gap exists between what they want in the way of technology in the schools and what they are willing to pay for. Many schools and districts have moved beyond the commitment level to some extent simply due to the realization and acceptance that technology is now ubiquitous and that pressures and funds from state and the federal governments are dependent on technology integration progress. So be it. While not an ideal scenario, I am willing to run with it.