Spending Technology Dollars Wisely

I recently presented a session at the ATCNE (Assistive Technology Conference of New England 2014). There I met many educators with responsibility for purchasing hardware and/or software. They explored the vendor’s technology offerings noting many tools that could benefit their students. How, they asked, could they make wise purchasing decisions in the face of limited financial resources?

Soon afterward, I read the article, The Teacher Report: 5 Smart Steps for Choosing Technology, which offers five key suggestions:

1. Ask your colleagues for recommendations. 

2. Look for teacher reviews online. 

3. Take it for a test drive. 

4. Brainstorm potential lessons. 

5. Explore available support.

Additional guidance related to budgeting and planning for effective implementation can be found in the Technology Implementation Practice Guide on PowerUp WHAT WORKS.

One of the six technology-implementation recommendations focuses on budgeting for technology (#4: Define Tech Budget). It guides a School Leadership Team to take action steps:

  • Review existing budget allocations for hardware and software
  • Determine costs for upgrading school’s infrastructure and purchasing new devices that support student learning
  • Identify funds (internal, community sponsored, grants) that can help to meet short- and long-term goals (including curriculum, instruction, and assessment goals related to preparing students to be college and career ready)
  • Develop a multiyear plan to support sustainability of technology costs over time as needs evolve
  • Review and refine budgets, as needed to meet emerging needs and current trends

Many additional resources on PowerUp support a Leadership Team’s technology planning.  For example, to determine staff needs—a critical step—use the Quick Teacher Technology Survey to assess what and how technology is being used by teachers for teaching and learning.

To support discussion at your School Leadership Teams meetings, use the action planning steps provided in the PowerUp module titled, Budgeting for Technology. These concrete steps help teams make initial and long-term technology purchases, plan for ongoing maintenance, and identify new potential streams of funding.  Explore all of the resources in PowerUp Your School to support and sustain technology implementation.

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