Sustainable Funding for Educational Technology

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Sustainable Funding for Educational Technology

By Breanne Hobrla

What are we looking at here?

How others are funding the shift to digitial learning!

What's the problem?

Technology initiatives and plans are not proactive in considering and securing long-term needs to sustain and support the technology once it is in place.

How can we fix this?Schools need to secure multiple sources of funding and only purchase the hardware/software that the school can support.

Click to watch a video about Digital Wish.

According to Billig, Sherry, and Havelock (2005), a technology iniative will be sustainable in the following are in place: > Leadership over initiative remains strong,> Infrastructure surrounding intitiative remains strong and continually develops,> Support structures in place and highly accessible,> Incentives exist to pull in and encourage continual use of technology,> Technology is credible and accessible,> Development of strong partnerships and community, and > Mulitple sources in providing sufficient funds

According to the Sustainability Study (2012) completed by Digital Wish, schools who were most successful in sustaining their technology funding had major three characteristics in common:1. Schools used mulitple and different avenues in securing funding for their technology plans,2. Schools placed significant importance on providing teachers and students the training and suppport they need for the technology, and3. Schools had reached out to get their communites involved, including local businesses and corporations.

According to Barnett (2001), the technology budget, needs to be allocated properly and recommends the following formula: 40% for Hardware 20% for Software 20% for Professional Development + 20% for Upgrades and Updates 100% of the Funding Available**support expenses should be budgeted separately

Author note:

The proper allocation of funds has shown to be an essential piece in sustainable funding. If schools do not place significant importance in making sure the users get the training and support they need, then the return on student learning becomes minimal or non-existent. Thus, schools waste their money in purchasing ill-used technology. Schools cannot expect to place technology in the hands of every user and expect them to use it in a way that makes the purchase worth it. I have seen two schools spend a bunch of money on very different technologies, only to see teachers and students use it for very basic, processing-type of activiies, which does little to nothing in enhancing student learning.

Why does

this matter

"Curriculum directors indicate that they expect dollar expeditures for digital supplemental materials to triple over the next five years," (Key Technology, 2007, p. 6)''While educational technologies are becoming an ever increasing and integral component of our educational process, there are few avenues that represent a primary source of funding for those technologies. Unlike in the business arena, where providing appropriate funding for technology is never in question, learning organizations must create innovative strategies to secure reliable sources of funding within all major areas of educational technology,'' (Brown, 2007, para. 21)The most common place for schools to try and fund their technology budget is through their regular operating budget. But, these budgets are already strained to fit all the other costs of the institution. Pulling funds from this budget will lead to sacrafices in the purchasing needs of the eduactional technologies, like professional development or the appropriate support. Without consistent funds year-to-year, schools will continue to have trouble getting a worth-while return on investment in student learning from the technology purchases. The schools need to reach out to different avenues for funding and make sure all technology needs are being satified.

The most successful schools in creating sustainable funding for educational technology have reliable funds from multiple sources, have strong community engagement, and prioritize support and training for teachers. (Devaney, 2013)What will your school do to become sustainable in funding their educational technology?

Use the paper clip for References and Discussion Questions


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