Today, educational success relies on good technology complementing good teaching practices. But, the tech teachers use today, could soon look very different. So, against a backdrop of enforced cost savings how can your school make the best use of its available budget?
Here are five practical steps to help you invest your IT budget wisely.
1. Conduct an audit
Start by assessing what you already have, and how it is working in your school. As part of this audit you should also:
- Identify any existing IT/Infrastructure issues and what you can do to overcome these
- Assess the compatibility of all your current tech
- Look at any existing warranties and identify what has/is about to run out
- Address any security concerns
- Identify where you can simplify your school’s technology management (e.g. device and software compatibility)
- Determine HOW your school could benefit from new IT and, once you know what you need it to do, establish WHAT new tech will help you to accomplish this.
2. Replace outdated tech & systems
Not only are legacy systems holding you back when it comes to getting the most out of your IT, but they can also leave you open to viruses and malware. However, consider the total cost of ownership before investing in any new edtech. A higher upfront cost could save you money in the long run if it requires less maintenance and comes with free software updates and a favourable warranty. For example, with IWB legacy stock failing and urgently requiring replacement, an ActivPanel could be a wiser long-term investment.
“46% of schools have either not upgraded their classroom display technology in the last five years, or do so ad-hoc as and when required.”
University of Huddersfield Study
3. Consider how best to use technology in your school
As well as looking at what equipment you need, modern technology demands a more flexible approach to usage. For example, classrooms need to be designed for success, with consideration given to the technology at your disposal and how it will be integrated into these different spaces. Find out more about how to design the perfect learning environments.
Likewise, the accessibility of technology outside of the classroom represents significant opportunities for flipped learning. So, to maximise your IT investment, look for technology that will help your pupils to learn, not only in different locations but also in different ways. Find out more about how to implement flipped-learning and blended classrooms.
Embracing mobile technology with a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy is one way to keep up with advancements in technology, while reducing the financial burden on your school.
4. Invest for growth
If your school struggles when it comes to finding the funds for ICT improvements year-on-year, look at how to maximise any investments you do make for long-term success.
- Consider cloud-based tools that don’t require annual upgrade costs
- Make sure anything you invest in delivers benefits when it comes to future-proofing (e.g. regular free updates, less need to invest in new hardware, etc.)
- Look at where it might be more cost-effective to replace rather than repair
- To invest wisely in ICT adopt new and emerging technologies (e.g. AR/VR, ActivPanel, Gamification, Micro:bits, Raspberry Pi, Social Media, 3D Printing, etc.)
- Established a phased approach implemented over a number of years. You don’t have to do everything at once.
5. Engage with your stakeholders
By engaging with your stakeholders in advance, you can maximise your investment from day one. So, when any new tech is deployed your teachers will already be on side and ready to use it to full advantage.
While the most common response from schools to a diminishing budget is a reduction of investment in equipment, there is a smarter way to deal with this challenge. In fact, by adopting a more strategic approach to ICT investment, as well as addressing your current budgetary challenges, you can make efficiency savings and maximise ROI.