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Student How-To Guides

HOW-TO… Take action and share my ideas about technology.

In 2003 and 2004, NetDay surveyed students around the country about their technology use. Through multiple-choice and open-ended questions, 310,000 of you told us what you think about school technology. We learned one important thing: students have ideas about technology and they want to share those ideas with the people who make decisions at their schools and in their communities.

The other How-to Guides in this section focus on specific issues, such as How-to Start a Laptop Lending Program or How-to Plan a Student-Technology Showcase. Be sure to check the list for a How-to that works for you. Or, maybe you have your own ideas that are unique to your school. If that is the case, try out this How-Guide – it will help you take action on your best ideas.

This How-to Guide will help you develop a proposal to share your idea with your school or community. We’ve started some of the work for you, but you need to take it from here. Make it work for you!


Problem and Proposal
What is your problem? What is your proposal?

Some examples:


I would really like to use the technology at school but there’s not enough time in the day. 

Proposal: Start a laptop lending program at our school.
Problem: There are things I wish teachers knew about how I use technology.
Proposal: Plan a student showcase night where students show teachers their ideas for uses of technology for school use.

Internet filters are so frustrating! They keep students out of quality sites, don't always block inappropriate material, and disrupt our research.

Proposal: Set up an ongoing discussion about the pros and cons of Internet filters with students and adults in my community.

Print out this worksheet to collect your ideas and your research for your action proposal.



What reasons support your goal? Good examples might include:

  • Reasons that show how the proposal will improve student learning
  • Reasons that show how the proposal will improve student test scores
  • Reasons that show how the proposal makes more opportunities for more students
  • Reasons that show how the proposal helps teachers make better use of technology
  • Reasons that show how the proposal helps prepare students for college or the workforce

What is your school's technology plan?  Can you show how your idea supports your school or district’s plan for technology?

Read about school technology plans.


Find examples:

Are there any organizations that can help you? How have other schools approached this problem? Researching other schools' successes can give you new ideas and help you refine your own ideas.

Try browsing or searching for your topic in the Student Voices Resource Center:

Find news articles and Resources.

Browse the SVRC Success Stories for advice from the student community.

Collect data:

What data can you collect from your own student community to support your idea? If you can, organize a student and/or teacher poll to find out the strength of interest in your proposal.

Browse for Resources and articles about planning research projects.


What other issues do you need to consider? Have you thought about funding? Training? Maintenance?

Read about issues to consider when suggesting change.


Details of your proposal

What is your proposal? Now that you’ve identified your goals and completed your research, write a summary of your proposal. Write about any details you've figured out. Then write about any issues or obstacles even if you haven't figured out the solution yet.



Think about groups and individuals who would be willing to support your idea. Some examples may include individual teachers, student clubs, your school’s PTA, the student government, service clubs, and local business groups. Try to think of a group that would have an interest in volunteering some time to help you organize or support your proposal.

Share your research and your proposal and see if these groups are willing to support you as a volunteer, a mentor, or even just adding their word of support to your proposal.

7. Make a presentation

A successful presentation summarizes your proposal, your rationale, and your research. This is what you are going to use to convince the decision-makers to support you.

Review the worksheet of what should be in your action proposal.

See an example of an Action Proposal presentation.

8. Set up a meeting

Write a letter, make a phone call, or send an email to set up a meeting with decision-makers to present your idea. Your letter should include an introduction of your proposal and a polite request for a time when you can share your idea. Explain that you have a well-researched proposal and have a presentation to share with them.

Who makes decisions related to your proposal?

Read a who’s who of school decision makers.
8. Present Your Action Proposal: This is your chance you use your best manners. Remember, you want to be convincing and likeable. If you’ve followed the steps in this guide, you are prepared with good research and support for your ideas. Your job now is to present your proposal and gain support from decision-makers.

Have you had success with being involved in planning for new equipment at your school? Please submit your Success Story or email any feedback about this module to You are a star!

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