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Technology at Your Fingertips
Chapter 1: Knowing What to Do

What Is the Purpose of This Book?

Who Should Read This Book?

What is Presented in This Book?

What Process Should You Use for Making Technology Decisions?

Chapter 2: Knowing What You Need

Chapter 3: Knowing What You Have

Chapter 4: Knowing What to Get

Chapter 5: Knowing How to Implement Your Solution

Chapter 6: Knowing How to Train Users

Chapter 7: Knowing How to Support and Maintain Your Technology Solution
Chapter 1: Knowing What to Do

Careful planning can ensure that computer and networking technology supports both instructional and administrative needs.

What is Presented in This Book?
The world of technology is very broad. This publication does not attempt to cover all types of technology that can be used in education settings. The focus is on computer and networking technology - primarily software used to meet administrative and many instructional needs, and the hardware, networking and support required to make it function.

The world of technology is also fluid. Technical standards and specific products change constantly. This book contains generic questions that will help you with your decision making process both now and in the future. These are common-sense, experience-based ideas, rather than approaches tied to specific situations or products. These ideas are based on the authors' extensive experience with implementing technology within schools, districts, state education agencies, universities and libraries.

Technology @ Your Fingertips contains information about computer hardware, software, and networking, as well as budgetary and human resource concerns. This information relates to the use of computer and networking technology as a tool for:

  • Providing instruction to students (e.g., integrating technology into the curriculum, recording data from experiments, providing computer-based instructional activities, accessing the Internet).
  • Managing activities related to instruction (e.g., reporting grades and attendance, designing lessons, accessing information about students).
  • Automating and streamlining day-to-day operations (e.g., registering students, maintaining health records, scheduling classes, determining bus routes).
This book does not, however, offer recommendations for specific hardware, software, or networking services. While there are specific examples mentioned, they should not be interpreted as endorsements.

Included at the end of the book are electronic pointers to reference documents and other sources of information. These are meant to serve as examples, not as an exhaustive list of available references. The constant changes in technology make the life of many of these resources fairly brief. There are many resources listed that are available on the Internet because they tend to be most current. They have the advantage of being able to link you to additional resources. Many education resources and examples have not been published anywhere except on the Internet. If you do not currently have access to the Internet, you may want to find someone who does (e.g., someone at the public library, a colleague at another school, or a friend) and ask that person to help you find some of these useful resources.

Throughout this document, we will follow a hypothetical case study of a school district administrator and his friend from the local college who are both developing technology solutions to meet their organizations' requirements. In addition, there will be mini-case studies describing responses to specific issues. These case studies illustrate many of the key points being conveyed in each chapter.

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