Project Red Research Findings

This webpage provides the research findings from Project RED’s 2010 large-scale national study to identify and prioritize the factors that make some U.S. K-12 technology implementations perform dramatically better than others.  

School Technology Needs Assessment

STNA is intended to help school-level decision makers administrators, technology facilitators, media coordinators, or technology committee members – collect data to plan and improve uses of technology in teaching and learning activities.  

Project 24

Project 24 is a comprehensive district-level technology planning tool that has embedded advice, implementation ideas and tangible suggestions to support district-wide technology planning.

National Education Technology Plan 2010 (NETP)

Teaching: Prepare and Connect Chapter (39-50). This section of the NETP provides an overview of the need to provide on-going professional learning opportunities to both instructional and non-instructional staff members.

Shared Vision

Shared Vision

As district and school leaders initiate the planning process, a shared vision serves as a firm compass point for how technology will support teaching and learning goals. Unlike a consensus in which everyone agrees, developing a shared vision represents buy-in from all stakeholders and reflects efforts to involve the right people at the right times. One way to achieve a shared vision is to use clear language in all aspects of the process. Districts that have carefully defined target audiences, goals, methods, timelines, responsibilities and outcomes enjoy less confusion because of better communication.

Key Steps

  • Create a planning and leadership site-based decision making team representing a variety of education stakeholders from multiple programs and diverse backgrounds.
  • Establish an overview and a shared mission and/or vision statement that addresses what the district needs and what impact digital learning tools and resources are expected to have on learning.
  • Ensure that the vision/mission is communicated and that there is buy-in from educators, students, parents, business, and community.
  • Leverage existing partnerships and initiatives.
  • Research promising programs in your state and across the nation




Social MediaDigital learning is no longer a specialty area. Increasingly, leaders across state and district agencies in a variety of roles have shifted towards the use of technology as a primary tool for teaching and learning. Consequently, districts are moving away from technology planning as a stand-alone activity in favor of more comprehensive planning efforts that include technology tools and resources as one overarching component of achieving school-wide goals. In this integrated approach, districts carefully analyze all applications of technology across the entire school before making investments in devices, infrastructure, digital learning resources or professional development.
Comprehensive planning requires a collaborative leadership approach that starts with developing a shared vision on how digital learning tools and resources support learning; seeking input from a variety of internal and external stakeholders; communicating with all stakeholders to encourage buy-in; and using and understanding research and data to support plan goals and objectives. Other key areas to consider in the planning process include operational considerations, including budget, procurement, interoperability; student data privacy; infrastructure needs, including devices and connectivity; as well as professional development.

E-Rate Technology Planning Requirements

As part of E-rate Modernization, the FCC eliminated the program’s technology planning requirement. Technology planning is still expected, but submitting and certifying technology plans is no longer a mandate. This shift in E-Rate requirements does not minimize the importance of planning for technology infrastructure. E-rate Modernization order.

Technical Support

Technical Support

Rapid changes in the ways technology is used for learning require an approach to technology support that reduces downtime and provides a fast, consistent, reliable experience for administrators, educators and students. The most effective tech support models are constructed directly from a high quality technology planning process that integrates technology with other school-wide support goals.
Successful districts have found it valuable to think broadly about the best overall approach to meet support needs comprehensively before establishing specific details that define what support will be provided to whom and by whom. While no two districts provide exactly the same combination of tech support products and services to their users, all have defined core elements comprising “tech support” that contribute to successfully meeting their local needs. The following questions have helped districts define, plan for, and implement the core components of tech support.


Once the central components of tech support have been identified, districts can begin to define where tech support will be based, the ways that help tickets will flow through the service pathway, and how tech support will be staffed. Tech support typically begins with a help desk or service desk, but also can include service-level agreements with various providers, and both live and media-delivered face-to-face training and online support, school-based/school employees, student tech support teams, and tech support cooperatives. If there is a lot of demand, the “front line” may spend much of its time dispatching tickets to other people instead of trying to solve specific problems. If there is less demand and a highly skilled and knowledgeable person taking the first request, many of the requests may be able to be handled immediately. Regular monitoring of tech support implementation and impact can provide valuable insight about how teachers and students use technology, as well as barriers to use.

Help Desk

In House Support

Service Level agreements

Many schools and districts currently include some level of service plan with providers when completing their equipment purchasing contracts. Considerations related to level of support, costs and long-term sustainability should be reviewed when considering incorporating the service level agreements to equipment purchasing contracts.

Tech Support  Cooperatives

Key Questions

  • What are the goals of the tech support team? Are those goals, including priorities, defined and publicized for all users?
  • How will requests be initiated and what is the process for prioritization?
  • What are the business hours of tech support, and the policies for nights/weekends/summer?
  • How often will routine maintenance occur? How will you communicate this downtime to users?
  • How will you deploy tech support staff to different campuses?
  • What metrics and indicators for tech support success will the district use to help determine cost effectiveness and customer satisfaction with current and future setups?

From the Field

Kuna Middle School’s tier one support is provided by students. An initial cadre of students were trained and then they train other students to help provide technology support. Based on experiences at the local high school, educators have found this student support system to be effective in quickly addressing tech support issues and providing students the experience to support their peers.. Learn more.


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