Benefits of Technology in Schools
There’s no point in learning how to maximize your budget without highlighting the benefits of technology in the classroom.
The most obvious is that it boosts student engagement because they can study subjects in a more immersive and creative way. For instance, a majority of language apps harness the power of gamified learning to teach essential vocabulary and verbs. As a result, students become more productive, and teachers have more free time to help students who are struggling.
In fact, many programs let students experience virtual field trips. This gives kids the chance to travel globally and open their minds to new information. For instance, art teachers could give students a virtual tour of the Louvre Museum in Paris, France.
Whether we like it or not, technology is here to stay, so it makes sense for students to grow with it. Because of its large role, students must understand the basics, such as using different types of devices and software.
Further, IT solutions encourage collaboration in the classroom. Many programs let students interact and learn with one another, which is a great way to facilitate discussion. It also lets your tech-savvy students help the rest of the class, therefore creating a more connected classroom.
How Schools Can Stretch Their Tech Budget
Once you’ve understood the power of tech in the classroom, it’s time to tackle your budget. Luckily, there are many ways you can do this. For example:
Audit Your Current IT Needs
Before you can invest in IT solutions, you must assess your current IT resources. Figure out how much you spend on everything from hardware to software to maximize funds.
Regarding devices, ask your IT department for a list of hardware to ensure that you’re not overspending on tablets or laptops. Your co-worker should also find out which software is essential and highlight any unnecessary subscriptions so you know where to put your budget.
Ideally, you want a comprehensive IT management service that meets your needs and helps boost productivity. The beauty is that this will reduce your current costs, making sure that technology is accessible to everyone.
Consider Your Bandwidth Use
Don’t make the mistake of overlooking your bandwidth needs. Because hundreds of devices use the same internet connection, figure out whether to expand. A great tip is to budget for potential upgrades so that your network always runs smoothly.
Set a Realistic Budget
Staff must learn to be realistic with their school budget. Make sure that your technology budget is separate to reduce the risk of overspending. Crunching the numbers also encourages teachers to be cost-effective when using technology in the classroom, such as using the right software.
Factor in Educational Value
You don’t want to spend a chunk of your budget on IT services; only to find that they don’t provide any educational value. Evaluate every piece of hardware or software, ask whether it will benefit the students and if it justifies the cost, especially if it’s a subscription. This simple strategy will give you a higher return on investment while adding value to your students, making it a win-win.
Choose Tech That Works Well With Others
Schools should get tech that’s compatible with the majority of software and hardware components. For instance, don’t invest in tablets that only use one type of charger because you’ll spend more. In a similar vein, choose educational software that works on an array of devices so that it’s flexible.
Create a Short-Term IT Plan
Discuss your short-term plans with managed IT services so they can accommodate you. A good rule of thumb is setting out a three to five-year plan, as it’ll reduce the risk of unnecessary spending. Instead, you’ll know when to update software, replace devices, or introduce new technology tools for learning.
Although you can’t foresee every element, creating a foundation will give you a clear understanding of where your IT budget should go.
Find Future-Proof Solutions
Technology moves at a breakneck speed, so finding future-proof IT solutions is crucial. The major benefit is that it’s cost-effective because you don’t need to keep replacing your current IT infrastructure. For instance, investing in cloud-based solutions is more financially feasible because it lets new hires and students join the network at no extra cost.
If you’re struggling, it’s wise to Google “IT services Tampa”, or wherever you reside, where you can ask the company for tips on finding scalable options.
Take Care of Your Current Equipment
We often get so excited about investing in new technology that we forget about our current equipment. A simple way to maximize your budget is to look at what you already have. Make sure that you are regularly updating and maintaining your technology, as it’ll save you a fortune in the long run.
Aside from costs, if your technology isn’t running properly, it’ll disrupt teaching and makes it difficult for students to focus on their work.
Share Resources Between Departments
An underrated way of saving money on IT solutions is sharing the load between departments. You may notice that a particular department rarely uses its 3D printer, so there’s no point in renting one out externally. If you find technology that works across multiple departments, create a booking request system instead of ordering new, expensive equipment.
You could even go further and connect with other schools, especially if they’re in a similar situation. Collaborating will help you learn from one another and gather resources so that you can invest in other areas. For instance, a local school may know a laptop supplier who offers a cheaper rate when you order in bulk.
Discover Free Resources
Teachers are often surprised to discover a wealth of free resources available to them. For instance, Microsoft offers schools and students their Office 365 Education bundle, complete with Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. You should also check whether it’s cheaper to buy individual products or a package from your current software supplier.
Monitor Current Software Contracts
Set notifications so you know when contracts are due to be renewed. These will likely happen automatically, which means schools must be organized with dates. When it’s close, contact the supplier and try to renegotiate contracts to reduce costs.
Factor in Professional Development
Don’t spend a huge chunk of your budget on technology if your team can’t implement it in the classroom. Make sure that your staff, from teachers to library personnel, understand how to effectively use devices to their best abilities. This ensures that students are confident using technology and can collaborate with others in their class.
If you haven’t already, schedule an afternoon or day of teacher training to make the most of their current resources. Having an in-depth understanding of current resources lets staff focus on other aspects of teaching instead.
Embrace Automation in Technology
Work with an IT management company to spot automation possibilities. One benefit of taking this step is that it reduces operational costs, so teachers can spend more time on implementing the technology in class or for admin purposes. For instance, staff can produce digital permission forms that parents can easily sign.
Ask Your Students
At the end of the day, your choice of IT solutions will impact your student’s learning abilities, so why not ask for their opinion?
Take advantage of their technology prowess and experience to make the right decision. It’ll also make the kids more engaged with the lessons and appreciate being part of the process.
Invest in Affordable IT Services for Schools Today
Hopefully, you now know how to find affordable IT services for schools.
There are many ways you can execute this, such as outlining your school’s needs and setting a realistic budget. Schools should also share resources between departments and regularly update or maintain current equipment to maximize their budget.
If your school is currently searching for IT solutions, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us today to learn more about our services.