The purpose of this Primer is to provide basic guidance for schools and libraries in the preparation of technology plans meeting the minimum core requirements for E-rate approval and for submitting those plans for approval.
Although a general outline for a technology plan, incorporating all core E-rate requirements, is provided as Attachment 1, this Primer is not meant as treatise in technology planning. Numerous books, Internet resources, and consultants are available to assist with the development of a full and effective technology plan. One good starting point on the web is the U.S. Department of Education’s technology page listing resources available by state.
Specifically, this Primer is designed to address five points — the time frame covered by the plan and suggested approaches to meet the four core requirements.
The period of time covered is important for technology planning purposes. If too short, there is little that planning can accomplish. Practically, from an E-rate viewpoint, too short a plan would require more frequent plan approvals. Too long, on the other hand, suggests a plan that will become out-of-date as technology or needs change.
Although the SLD does not mandate a specific timeframe, there is a strong suggestion that it cover a three-year period. To quote again from the SLD web site:
Approved Technology Plans should cover a period of three years. Long-range planning is important for the effective use of information technology in schools and libraries. This may be particularly important in the case of some lease-purchase arrangements or very large capital investments that require extended commitments. However, in view of the rapid development cycle of new technologies and services, schools and libraries should approach long-term commitments with caution. To balance these concerns, a three year planning cycle is appropriate. All approved plans should include provisions for evaluating progress toward the plan's goals, and ideally these assessments should occur on an annual basis.