Would you love to have a class set of iPads, but are unsure about how to convince your school district to purchase them for you? Here’s how I did it. I’m not saying what I did will work for you, but hopefully it’ll at least give you a starting point.
But, before I tell you how I convinced my school to invest thousands of dollars in technology for my elementary art classroom, it’s important for you to know that I am incredibly blessed to work in a school district with an amazing technology department and a team of administrators who are forward thinking and open minded. Without these individuals being willing to hear me out and consider what I was proposing, I wouldn’t be here writing this for you today.
If you simply email your technology department or administration asking to go one to one with any technology device, you may not even get a response. You are asking them to spend a ton of money on your classroom. They have a large load of responsibilities and their budgets are tight. You’ll want to give them a reason to stop and listen to you. Instead, I encourage you to create a technology proposal and consider the following:
Know exactly what you want and why you want it.
I had a vision for an art room with iPads that blended traditional art making processes with innovative content, techniques and ways of thinking. I feel that my responsibility as an elementary art teacher is not to create great artists, but to empower students to think like artists.
I had a dream of an art room that would help my students recognize their creative strengths and empower them to flourish in a complex society with critical thinking, communication, and problem solving.
I have a passion for empowering students as problem-solvers and creators in a changing world through the use of iPad technology starting in my classroom and spreading throughout my school, district, community, and the world over.
What is your vision, your dream, your passion? Share that in your proposal.
Show them innovative things you are already doing.
Asking for a class set of iPads for my art room was pretty much asking my administrators to trust me to make the return on their investment worth it. I felt I needed to give them proof that I was already innovative in my classroom instruction and maximizing on technology I already had at my disposal.
How are you using the classroom technology you already have available? Try to think of some innovative ways you could start using it if you aren’t already doing so. Take pictures and videos and include those in your proposal.
Align your vision with your school district’s core values.
Our core values drive our culture and remain at the center of every action and decision we make. The school district I teach for has three defined core values: equity, excellence, and community. I aligned everything I wanted to do with iPads in my art classroom to these core values.
What is at the heart of your school’s actions and decisions? Be sure to align what you want to do with the devices you are asking for to your school’s core values.
Consider student and teacher growth.
How will additional technology in your classroom grow student and teacher experience and skill?
Propose a future community of innovators behind the commitment to continuous improvement.
I provide weekly voluntary based professional development opportunities focused on instructional technology for teachers. We start out with the Apple Teacher certification process to grow knowledge and skill and then shift our focus to improving technology integration using Apple’s Everyone Can Create curriculum.
What could you do with the technology you are given to ensure continuous growth in your school, district, and community?
Provide a way to measure growth.
The impact of technology in student learning can be measured in two categories: cognitive gains and social and emotional gains. I proposed ways to measure these gains.
I didn’t stop with student gains though. I didn’t want this movement to become stagnant and contained inside the walls of my classroom. I proposed to also measure teacher knowledge and skills, technology integration in classrooms, and a pedagogy change.
This was about so much more than devices for my classroom. This was about an opportunity to do something so much bigger than that. This was an opportunity to inspire other educators to rethink what is possible in their classrooms.
How could you measure the impact of growth the technology will have on students and teachers in your school and community?
Use the proposal itself to demonstrate what is possible.
Since I was asking for iPads, i decided to showcase what is possible with Apple applications by publishing my technology proposal in the form of an interactive iBook using iBooks author. My published proposal included videos created in iMovie and interactive widgets involving images and Keynotes to navigate through content. This provided a way for my administrators to receive content in a way that I would present it to my students and to consider what students can create using iPads.
Consider using your proposal to showcase how the technology would transform your instruction.
Try to get some face time with your administrators to share your proposal.
After I had my proposal published I sat down with the director of technology and our assistant superintendent to share what I had prepared.
This step may be a little tricky to pull off, but it will be very powerful to share your proposal in person. This way you can communicate your passion and vision and show them first hand what is possible. If you are able, take one of the devices with you. I asked my technology department if I could borrow two iPads for my presentation. During my presentation I introduced my assistant superintendent to augmented reality with the app JigSpace. Her mind was completely blown and she bought in to what I was proposing.
If you don’t get the technology you are asking for the first time you ask for it, don’t give up. Stay passionate, stay persistent, keep fighting the good fight. Your students will love you for it and you’ll make the world a better place in the long run.