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Student How-To Guides

HOW-TO… Get newer better equipment at our school.

If you could see an overview of technology set-ups at schools around the country, you would see

  • Some schools with very old computers, very few computers, and no Internet connection.
  • Some schools with state-of-the-art computer labs and wireless laptop lending programs.
  • Some schools with advanced digital media and video production labs.

What we're hearing from you is that students have a lot to say about what they don't have available at their schools and what they want and what they need in order to be successful in school.

As you have realized, technology is changing so fast that it takes a lot of time and money to keep up with the latest trends and equipment. When you buy new hardware, sometimes you also need new software and you probably need new training on how to use it.

Whether you're hoping to get new keyboards that don't stick or digital cameras to add to your lab, this How-to Guide will help you develop a proposal to share your idea with your school community. We’ve started some of the work for you, but you need to take it from here. Make it work for your school!


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

Problem: I cannot use the equipment at school because the equipment is not good enough.
Proposal: Get newer better equipment at our school.

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



What reasons support your goal? Some examples might include:

  • Having access to up-to-date computers will help us more efficiently complete our schoolwork.
  • Having access to up-to-date computers will help us more efficiently prepare ourselves for college and the workforce.
  • Having the same access to technology as other schools is important so that we can be competitive in the workforce and not fall behind other students.
  • Having equipment that doesn't work takes precious time away from learning activities. There is already not enough time during school to finish all that we want to do.
  • Having advanced equipment offers students the opportunity to learn advanced skills and to express their creativity in new ways.

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: How have other schools approached this problem? Researching other school’s successes can give you new ideas and help you refine your own ideas.

For this proposal, your two biggest questions are going to be (1) "How can we prioritize our wants and needs?" and (2) "How can our school get the money for the additional equipment?" See if you can find ideas from reading about other schools that have made it work.

Research how other schools have approached this problem.

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 poll to find out your classmates' interest in new equipment at your school. Some polling questions might include:

  • How strongly do you feel about improvements to your school's technology? (not strongly, medium, very strongly)
  • Please rank the following new technologies from 1-10. 1 is most needed, 10 is wanted but not needed. (add 6 computers to the lab, replace broken keyboards, update our Windows operating system to XP, add a dozen laptops to the loan library, purchase 25 digital cameras, etc.)
  • Would you be willing to pay a yearly $10-$25 technology fee to pay for these updates? (yes, no)
  • Do you think other students would be responsible and respectful with the new equipment? (yes, no)

Find resources and articles about planning research projects.


What other issues do you need to consider?

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. Do you think your school should invest in a dozen new iMac G5s? Do you think your school should develop a fully-functional digital video lab? Do you have ideas about the software needs and maintenance needs that come along with such a plan? Write up the details as much as you’ve figured out.


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 the computer lab.

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 for getting newer or better equipment at your school.
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 done research and have a proposal to share with them regarding your school’s technology set-up.

Who makes decisions about school use of the computer lab?

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!

What YOU Said:

(Student Quotes from NetDay's 2004 Speak Up Day survey)

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