Thursday, June 9, 2011

From chalk to stylus...

Integrating new technologies into the classroom could be a challenging task.  Six years ago our school was equipped with bulky Dell computers (Windows 2000) and Mac OS 9.  In their eyes, our staff and students were equipped and ready for success.  As an initiative from the county we received LCD projectors.  A year later, we received laptops.  Title I administration; evaluated the classrooms.  Trusting the amount of technology (computers), they decided to implement a new project; from chalk to stylus.

As part of this project, Interwrite boards were to be installed in all Title I classrooms.  Every classroom had installed an Interwrite board and trainings were offered to all teachers.   Everything seemed to be a piece of the puzzle.  One day, during winter break all boards were installed; without asking the teachers.  They planned the amount of boards and they assumed that our computers and projectors were all we needed.

Here is where the scope creep invades our innovative project. Dr. Stolovich shares with us the importance to identifying what are the prerequisites needed in order to have a successful project.  It is evident that this project did not consider it.  They wanted interactive boards but they didn’t analyze the existent technology.  None of our computers were able to run the software and also the teachers had no training on it.   After a few months with Interactive boards in the classroom and no use, the Stakeholders established a plan.  They created early starters groups to be trained and to train others, they updated all the software’s, and they added the writing tablets and clickers.  This interventions or changes cost additional money and wasted instructional time.  This changes meant more than a year, without using our equipment.  Not only not being able to use our technology (interactive boards) we had no space to write on since the new boards were mounted in top of the traditional chalkboards.

If I were the PM of this project, I would develop a timeline with specifications of each person involved. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”  Each detail should be considered.  They only thought about the equipment; they forgot the technical support, the training, the software, pc’s vs. mac’s and teachers technical expertise.  All of these aspects should be considered before the project starts.  Defining a scope should be done carefully, all details and aspects should be considered.  A timeline helps you to monitor the progress of your project and the budget gives you and idea of what is available and how it will be used.  Today, the boards are not still not being used to their maximum capabilities changes, old technologies, changes in staff and most of all changes in administration with wonderful ideas and no plans.


“Practitioner Voices: Overcoming ‘Scope Creep’” Walden University, 2010
“Project Management Concerns: ‘Scope Creep’” Walden University, 2010