Five Steps to Creating Your Ideal Digital Learning Plan

April 23, 2013
Kelsey Herron
Common Sense Media
San Francisco, United States
CATEGORIES Digital Citizenship, Digital Literacy, In the Classroom

Many teachers and administrators out there likely recognize the importance of designing a strategic plan when it comes to bringing new technology into the classroom or implementing a 1-to-1 curriculum. Technology integration specialist at Childersburg High School Jennifer Barnett has done this herself, and provided a list of best practices on the High School Soup blog to help guide you along the way. Barnett is also a member of the Project 24 Team of Experts assembled by the Alliance for Excellent Education.

Here’s the list of Barnett’s best practices, and a few tips she’s learned along the way:

  • Articulate your vision – Barnett calls this “visionspeaking,” and stresses the importance of not only sharing your vision, but creating an open dialogue with others about your plan.
  • SMART goals are “smart” for a reason – The acronym refers to the following qualities: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. Keep these characteristics in mind when developing your plan.
  • Celebrate as you move forward – “Begin small and celebrate big,” says Barnett. Have passion for your digital learning program and celebrate its successes regardless of how small they may be.
  • Manage your priorities – Barnett suggests making a list of what needs to happen to enact your plan, and breaking the list down into phases. She also recommends involving teachers in this process and assigning them with leadership roles.
  • Tell your story – Reflect on the challenges and triumphs. As Barnett says, “Reflection is the key to growth.” Share your journey with others, and hopefully they will learn from your setbacks as well.

Barnett’s expert advice echoes what other educators have said about implementing a 1-to-1 curriculum in their classrooms. In addition to involving teachers and sticking to a strategic plan, Director of Technology at Nueva School Edward Chen expressed the importance of developing an acceptable use policy, and even involving students in the process if need be. Don Orth, Director of Technology at Hillbrook school, also recommended meeting with parents before rolling out new devices. “One of the things we’re trying to improve on is involving parents in the process,” Orth said. “If you don’t involve the parents, it could cause the program to fail.”

Both Orth and Chen helped us develop our new 1-to-1 Essentials Program, which can help you through each stage of the rollout process. The program, available for free online, has been vetted by experts and educators alike, and contains interactive and customizable resources for tech-savvy teachers. In addition to the program, we have also compiled a list of 10 must-have tools you might want to acquire before you set your plan in motion. 

As Barnett said, preparedness is a necessity for educators looking to design their own digital learning program. We hope that these resources will make your process less complicated, and help you prepare for the changes ahead.