Message from the Executive Director: Assisting agencies with Information Technology Planning – A new service from AlphaPlus

April 30th, 2014 by Monika Jankowska-Pacyna

toolsToday’s learning environment is increasingly affected by new and emerging technologies, leading to andragogical shifts in how instruction is designed and putting pressures on organizations delivering literacy training in the field.

More students have access to computers and mobile devices, and they often expect that programs and classes they attend will help them develop skills they need to function well within the digital world. To address these needs, programs and instructors try to integrate technology in the teaching and learning process, but it means that they, themselves, need to further their Information Technology (IT) knowledge and skills, and they need proper organizational infrastructure to provide the technology-rich learning to students.

The legacy and mission of AlphaPlus is to support agencies in managing the emerging technology reality, and we have carried that mission out for over 15 years. Building on agency consultations undertaken in 2013/14, and with the support of the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, this year AlphaPlus is launching an agency-level IT planning and coaching service designed to help programs create and manage their IT plans.

Programs have often made decisions about IT purchasing, PD training, IT policies and procedures, and reporting in response to opportunities, learner needs and available funding as best as they could, given the many demands on staff time, who sometimes are unsure if they make the right decisions. Managing the always-changing and technology-rich environment is a multi-faceted undertaking – one that many programs have indicated to AlphaPlus that they want or need help with.

IT planning looks at administration, instructor professional development, policies and procedures, purchasing of equipment and how these elements work together to create an environment for learners that is technology-rich and learning-positive. We believe that through our new service, by focusing on integrated and intentional IT planning, we can help organizations to better define and achieve their IT-related goals and desired outcomes.

This year, AlphaPlus staff will work directly with 16 already selected agencies to provide IT planning and coaching services. Other agencies will benefit as well, as AlphaPlus will share knowledge, tools and best practices emerging from our work. Also, the trends and data we gather will be presented as a snapshot of field conditions to the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities and might help guide the future decisions and resources that will be developed to help support the field. One resource available now is our Technology Planning Roadmap.

Many of AlphaPlus’ other services will continue as well, including webinars, professional development programs, research and knowledge sharing. But as our emphasis moves to looking at digital capacity issues from a holistic agency level, we hope to provide even more insight and value to the field.

If you would like to know more about this new service or have any questions, please contact me directly at [email protected] or at 1-800-7888-1120, Ext. 302.

Greg Gulas