South Carolina Department of Education: A Promising Practice in Developing an Educational Technology Plan

DO-IT Factsheet #1277

In 1998, the South Carolina Department of Education [1] released a new state educational technology plan. This five-year plan, which was scheduled for review and expansion in 2003, contained goals and benchmarks for implementing technology access to all South Carolina schools. In preparation for the 2003 review, the Department of Education worked with the SouthEast Initiatives Regional Technology in Education Consortium (SEIR*TEC) [2] to devise a five-year plan to direct South Carolina's strategic technology development from 2003 to 2008. In developing this five-year plan, the South Carolina Department of Education determined that enhanced accessibility to educational technology for students with disabilities was an important addition to the state's existing plan.

The final document, South Carolina State Technology Plan 2003–08: Realizing the Dream [3], contains guidelines for school districts to develop their own educational technology plans that include assistive technology and access for students with disabilities as integral components of the overall plan. The result of this effort is a goals-based, measurable plan that will assist districts in meeting technology goals for the twenty-first century as well as meeting the new federal No Child Left Behind [4] standards. The plan includes the following elements regarding assistive technology and accessible information technology for students with disabilities:

To disseminate information about the state technology plan and about how assistive technology can be used by students with disabilities, the South Carolina Department of Education created and distributed a CD-ROM to all school districts in South Carolina. The CD-ROM was developed in partnership with the South Carolina Assistive Technology Program (SCATP) [5] and South Carolina ETV [6], South Carolina's statewide public broadcasting network.

South Carolina's inclusion of information technology accessibility and assistive technology in its state education technology plan serves as a model for other states as they develop or update their own technology plans.