Krome Managing Director Rupert Mills shares his views with Tech & Learning UK on the wisest way for schools to invest in technology.
Tech & Learning UK report on how it is no longer an option for schools to invest in technology in education; it is a necessity. However, as is the case with the public sector as a whole, budgets are tight and it has become more important than ever for schools to be selective with the technology they invest in, Krome’s Rupert Mill’s shares his views below.
A 2015 BESA research report predicted that by 2017 pupils would use technology for 58% of learning time, up from 50% in 2014. With that in mind, in an ideal world you could expect schools to be flooded with the latest tech trends. It is easy for schools to get caught up in this, specifically the most exciting developments in areas such as virtual reality (VR).
The benefits of technology in education are endless; it allows teachers to cater to a diversity of learning styles, create more engaging classrooms and help students to become more independent.
It’s an ever-expanding sector and schools need to be on board, but how can you justify spending a year’s budget on new VR systems when there are still not enough computers to go around? You can’t, and particularly with public sector money, it becomes immoral.
“A well thought-out IT strategy is crucial, and schools must make sure they’re adopting a forward-looking approach to guarantee that new technology purchases offer real value for money and make learning as productive as possible. Ensure new solutions are scalable and have room for expansion, or costs could simply spiral in the long term.”
First and foremost, schools must prioritise deploying technology that the staff and students need. It is crucial that they actually use technology that supports their teaching and learning requirements as seamlessly as possible.
There are plenty of schemes and options available to reduce costs and free up budget for more innovative and exciting tech, but it’s important to get the balance right. Now that the cost of mobile devices is reducing with affordable devices such as Chromebooks, it is more acceptable to encourage students to provide their own devices and adopt BYOD schemes. In addition to this, vendors such as Microsoft offer a vast amount of special purchasing arrangements for schools, which can be utilised to maximise the volume of technology purchased.
A key point when trying to invest wisely is to implement solutions that are tailored to your school’s individual needs. Don’t choose a vendor because other schools have, but make sure that new technology is compatible with the school’s established technologies. Select products that offer optimal performance as well as being budget-friendly.
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