How to Invest Your School’s ICT Budget Wisely
Written by Davy De Rijbel on Aug 26, 2019 10:00:00 AM Theme Education, Return on Investment, Technology
With the persistent rise in technology, school education is beginning to take a different turn. Educational success now depends on the right technology, combined with excellent teaching practices. Although this new turn is very advantageous, it comes with some challenges.
Choosing effective technology at an affordable price can be a grave challenge for schools. Furthermore, one of the main challenges can be the lack of enough funds to acquire the best technology devices for ICT.
The technology world changes rapidly; some things that are relevant at this time may no longer be in the next few years. This could be an issue for the school's ICT because changing technology tools could be highly demanding on the school’s budget. How then can you make the best use of a tight budget for your school’s ICT?
Assess Your Current Technology State
First, you need to evaluate the technology that you have and figure out what’s working for your school and what’s not. You assess your technology by pinpointing the IT challenges that you currently face and figure out ways you can fix them. Then, gauge the compatibility of your existing tech tools with your school’s goals, budget, environment and other necessary factors.
Also, you need to tackle existing security matters, while assessing which technology has a warranty that will favour you.
Improving your school’s technology state can involve thinking of new ways of using your current technology. If you’re going to acquire new technology, you need to figure out the impact it will have on your school. When you have determined this, bring in your school administrators to help achieve it.
Replace Outdated Technology
Using and keeping outdated technology costs more than it saves. It brings on security risks, lack of customer confidence, extremely low productivity, increased maintenance costs, and a lot more disservices.
Before investing in new technology, consider the Total Cost of Ownership. In the end, investing in new technology has more advantages despite the higher initial cost. You can save money in the long run in the form of less maintenance, extended warranty and so on.
Replacing outdated technology can be expensive, but keeping old devices and software would do more harm than good, especially in a learning environment. You need to get the most out of your investment in your acquired ICT. Getting new technology allows you to get the tools that will not only help your students learn but also help them to do so in many different locations and ways.
Consider Future Needs
School policies and methods of achieving goals are most likely to change over time. Technology that is in use needs to be able to keep up with these changes smoothly. There are a couple of ways through which these future possibilities can be integrated into the current technology procurement plans.
One way of doing this is maximizing the BYOD policy. Although there’s a need for proper management among the students, it can be useful in building a digital culture in learners and helping them work at their convenience and according to their own style. It cuts cost for the school in some spheres and still encourages the use of current technology.
Also, technology tools that are scalable and easy to upgrade are essential to drive efficiency and cost-effectiveness for the school's ICT. Software-focused solutions are a better option because they are more flexible and easier to upgrade than hardware technology.
Taking out time to provide proper guidelines for ICT usage in school also helps cut down money spent on technology equipment. Every student knows how to use the systems when they need to, which indirectly increases the maintenance and lifespan of these tools.
You should make sure that all you invest in provides advantages when it comes to securing future possibilities. Consider the possibilities of fixing tools instead of replacing them. Considering future needs is a step ahead in making the best out of a tight budget for your school’s ICT.
Switch to the Cloud
Making use of the cloud in a school system not only saves costs, but it also improves productivity and storage life. With cloud-based tools, there will be no need to rely on expensive hardware that needs to be updated periodically. It reduces workstations costs as teachers and students can work remotely.
Hosting school tech systems in the cloud has a lot of benefits, particularly financially, for a school’s ICT system. Thus, it is advisable for schools to host their systems in a data centre because there’s the chance that your school has issues with finding the capital for improving your ICT system. That’s why you have to look for ways to maximize any investment you make to bring about lasting results, and switching to the cloud might definitely help you do just that.
Don’t Skimp on Training
There are a lot of benefits that come with making ICT training a priority in any organization. For schools that want to improve on their ICT facilities, it is important to provide avenues to train staff and students to be adequately equipped for operating technology systems.
Training sessions for new technology are necessary to maximize your investment from the onset. It helps improve the longevity of the tools because the users will be equipped with the skills needed to operate the new technology. When new technology is deployed, teachers will be ready to use it to make the most out of it and will, in turn, teach their students how to use them.
Investing in training is an indirect way of investing in a school’s ICT. Putting money in practical training can be a little challenging, but it's better than leaving new technology in the hands of those who don’t have the knowledge and capacity to operate them.
Technology procurement is a major cost for schools and is occasionally included in their budgets. For educational institutions, it is not unusual for budgets to be fixed and sometimes rigid. However, a tight budget doesn’t mean you can’t invest in technology for your school. With a strategic approach, you can make efficient savings and maximize your ROI.
Read more about maximizing your ROI with technology here.
•  Five ways to stretch your ICT budget. (2016). Retrieved 16 August 2019, from https://www.bettshow.com/bett-articles/five-ways-to-stretch-your-ict-budget
•  How to make the best use of your school's ICT budget. (2017). Retrieved 16 August 2019, from https://resourced.prometheanworld.com/best-use-schools-ict-budget/
•  Perisic, A. (2019). 4 tips to maximise the use of your University’s ICT budget. Retrieved 16 August 2019, from https://www.vevox.com/blog/2017/4-tips-to-maximise-your-universitys-ict-budget