Sunday, June 26, 2016

Writing Tech into Grants? You must read this first!

In the last week, I have been on a panel for a federal grant. I cannot and will not reveal details but I do want to share some advice. In simple terms, grant proposals are supposed to address a pressing need and suggest that there are enough planned supports that would make said action succeed.

The proposals I have been reading have done an admirable job convincing me of their capacity to do everything they said. Except integrate technology. So here are some general rules:

1. Someone needs to manage devices. If you aim to purchase student or even teacher devices, you must show that you have a system that can distribute, manage the devices, provide basic support, and maintain when needed.

2. Technology is not magic (on its own). If you buy new  technology teachers and students have to be educated about its use and supported through modeling, coaching and on-going Professional Development.

3. If technology is a major part of your grant make sure that you hire or show that you have leaders who are well versed in technology integration. In the grant proposals I have been reading, all project directors were content and school experts but nowhere did they show evidence that their professional developers knew much about technology integration.

4. Have a theory of action of why technology will make a difference. Just buying teacher devices, for example, will  NOT automatically improve student achievement. It may, but as the grant writer, you should make the connection obvious.

In short, please treat technology like you would every other aspect of the grant. Technology can be magic but ONLY if you have all the conditions to ensure success.
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