One Last Post on Content Planning

I want to finish my explanation of the Content Planning process. Most of the responses I received from my last post focused primarily on the products I used as examples for the categories of software I was describing. That’s unfortunate because what I was trying to articulate was the following:

1. We should be putting as much or more time, energy, and money into the software and content that runs on our networks as we put into the hardware and equipment.

2. We should think of creating software infrastructures the same way we create hardware infrastructures.

3. We should take a structured approach to planning our software infrastructure, and budgets.

4. We should create multi-year software acquisition plans.

5. We should transition to a completely web-based environment.

In the last post I outlined the:

Communications Infrastructure:

1. Web page 2. Intranet 3. Teacher e-mail 4. Student e-mail 5. Teacher pages for assignments and projects 6. Teacher social networks for connections and sharing 7. Teacher and student blogs, wikis, and podcasts 8. Educational portal 9. Parent and community notification system 10. Electronic Board of Ed meetings

Now….Add the Data Infrastructure:

1. Student Information system 2. IEP database system 3. Data Warehouse system 4. Financial Information system 5. Transportation system 6. Cafeteria system 7. Curriculum Mapping system 8. Human resource and professional development tracking system

And….the Security Infrastructure:

1. District firewall 2. Virus protection-workstations & servers 3. Spam management 4. Spyware and malware 5. Internet filtering 6. E-mail and Document storage (for e-Discovery and FOIL requests) 7. Emergency notification systems 8. Automatic backups, disaster recovery plan (including potential “hot site” for restoring systems

When we move to instructional software, our first job is to identify our primary areas of academic need. By doing this we narrow our focus when approaching the Instructional Software Infrastructure. I work with the planning team to identify the “type” of software they believe will best fit their goals and teaching and learning philosophies.

Here are some Math Infrastructure choices:

(not meant to be comprehensive)

1. Computer managed instruction/comprehensive courseware 2. Math graphing and visualization 3. Math manipulatives, simulations, and visualizations 4. Probeware (used in science and math) 5. Math in action (logo, robotics) 6. Internet math sites 7. Online learning courses

The tricky part of the instructional software planning process is to give teachers examples of product “types” without getting them too focused on the particular product you are using to illustrate the concept.

Once the team has identified the “types” of software they believe meets their needs, they can comparison shop for the specific product that they will choose to adopt.

Just a reminder, after the priorities are set and the products chosen; it may take several years to procure the software. Why? Obviously, the budget enters in to this, many of these products are not cheap. Also, we may have to work with the teachers association/union to get their buy in to certain items; but most important of all, if we add too many pieces of the software infrastructure at once, we’ll drive our teachers crazy.

I hope I did a better job explaining this process than I did in my first post.



3 thoughts on “One Last Post on Content Planning

  1. Dear Peter:

    I have sat in on a few Tech Plan Meetings with you and your outstanding team. We needed to articulate the hardware purchasing plan because, conceptually and literally, we were so far behind, thus not ready to see the full picture. It is interesting that we are now having these conversations on “the big ideas” at present in our district. With your permission, I will bring your last two postings to the table.


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