Monday, June 15, 2009

Texas Long Range Plan for Technology: Infrastructure for Technology

Infrastructure for Technology is one of the four key areas in the Texas Long Range Plan for Technology (LRPT), 2006-2020. This essential component interconnects all four areas of the LRPT. This area describes the vision, needs, and guidelines for infrastructure in Texas schools.

The state has made significant progress in statewide intra- and inter-connections. DIR and regional ESCs have been able to provide innovative resources. School districts have also increased equitable student and educator access improving collaboration, communication, and achievement. Unfortunately, there are still many districts with network infrastructures that are not safe, secure, flexible, scalable, or reliable. They cannot offer anytime, anywhere connectivity or integrate voice, video, and data effectively. They cannot supply a multitude of digital content and software applications to their constituents. Elements such as collaborative learning environments, resource sharing, and a sense of global community are below par and the teachers and students suffer because of it.

Overall trends indicate improvement toward LRPT guidelines. However, most schools have not reached “Target Tech” as evidenced by the Campus Statewide Summary of STaR Chart data:
· Target Tech: 6.7%
· Advanced Tech: 57.2%
· Developing Tech: 34.9%
· Early Tech: 1.2%

One of the main challenges facing Texas education is securing funding to continuously support, maintain, and improve the necessary 21st Century technology infrastructure which requires hardware, software, and human resources. Districts have implemented creative means to finance technology infrastructure. My recommendation would be for the Texas Legislature to increase the state technology allotment above the stagnant sub-$30 per student amount to an amount that would facilitate much needed enhancements. The original promises forecasted an amount over $100 per student by now.

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