For nearly a decade, government spending on education and education technology has been falling. In the UK, new figures show schoolchildren are “paying the price for austerity,” with funding slashed by more than £7bn since 2011. In the US, public investment in K-12 schools has also declined dramatically in many states. For the 2017/2018 school year, 12 states have cut funding by seven percent or more compared with 2008.
Schools that have succeeded over the years despite budget challenges and cutbacks have a commitment to a singular vision—giving students the best education. All education spending should be tracked back to this vision, especially classroom technology funding. With school budgets an ongoing issue, it’s critical to ensure that students benefit from every edtech investment. Follow these tips to determine if your school is making the best use of its technology funds.
Seek to Simplify
Teacher’s need tools that help streamline communication, make data collection quicker and increase their capacity to focus on individual students — all without additional effort. One significant benefit that technology gives teachers is the ability to personalize their lessons more easily. “Instead of carrying a group of students through the curriculum at the same speed, regardless of each individual student’s capacity, background, and engagement with each topic, new tools allow teachers to follow each student individually, and to approach lessons in a way that lets them help each one learn every topic in a comprehensive way,” writes Tomas Franceschein in Edu4.me.
Invest in Sustainable, Scalable and Durable Technology
Avoid additional expenses by choosing solutions that can grow and adapt along with technological innovation. For example, while charging solutions may account for a significant portion of a school’s technology budget, your school will save time and costs if you don’t need to replace your charging solutions every time you roll out new mobile devices. We call this concept, “future-proof charging.” Future-proof charging solutions combine universal charging, open-concept designs and durable products to save schools money.
Calculate the Hidden Time Savings
How much is your staff’s time worth? By eliminating repetitive or mundane day-to-day duties, your teachers will get more control over how they use their class time and the knowledge that their time is valued. Research by Scholastic, Inc. shows that teachers spend up to 95 minutes per week grading papers and preparing classes. Apps and assessment software can reduce that time by automating the process of grading assignments. Another time-saving tool is related to a solution for mobile device distribution. Baskets by LocknCharge allow teachers and students to quickly and safely distribute tablets or iPads, putting up to two weeks of class time back into the hands of teachers every year.
Don’t Neglect Your Infrastructure
To make the most out of your IT spend, work with technology service providers that will help guide the infrastructure needed to ensure a smooth technology deployment. Often infrastructure plays second fiddle to curriculum and budget, but in our experience, it plays a critical role in enabling a successful technology rollout.
Teach the Teachers
Studies reveal that teachers feel unprepared and want more training. An alarming 78% of US teachers surveyed by SAM Labs reported that they hadn’t received the training they need to teach with technology in the classroom.2 If we are going to give teachers extra responsibility for incorporating new technologies into their curriculum, we need to provide them with additional support.  Check out these three real-world ideas for effective practices to teach the teachers.
- EdTech recommends, “Rather than demonstrating technology at offsite training sessions, let teachers try it themselves in their own classrooms, with appropriate support where needed.”
- Superintendent Darryl Adams of California championed a first-of-its-kind technology bond to fund iPads for each of the district’s students. Not only was a portion of the budget set aside for teacher training, but Adams claims the key was training teachers before the students received their devices.
- “Show, don’t tell,” recommends instructional tech director Monique Flickinger. “Our technology tech trainers create three-minute video podcasts that show teachers in action using the new technology at the front of their classrooms. We also include pictures of the lesson plan, rubrics and students' work at the end and link it to the state standards so that new teachers can easily steal ideas.”
Whether your school or business is deploying five mobile devices or 50,000 mobile devices, LocknCharge can help guide your investment to make sure you’re making the best use of your technology funds. Get in touch today!