News

5 steps to move technology purchasing into the 21st century

By John Carver
February 25th, 2015

Choosing and buying the right technology can be a daunting process, especially if you don’t know where to begin

technology-procurementWith marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay, Google Marketplace, AirBNB, and OpenTable, it’s quite conceivable to think purchasing educational technology for the 116,000 schools across the United States in a $12B market would be as easy as buying a toothbrush online. Point. Click. Buy.

Rather the opposite is true. Ed tech procurement is a very analog process in a very digital world. I have seen this as Superintendent of the Howard-Winneshiek Community School District (Howard-Winn) in rural northeast Iowa. Investments in ed tech companies reached historic levels rising to $2 billion in 2014. The choice and innovation is great, but finding and buying even simple things can tax our resources.

As Superintendent my goal, like that of my colleagues across the country, is to ensure we have the most up-to-date technology in the hands of learners—kids and adults. Historically, it’s been inefficient to discover the right products. There are many vendors and sales people. Deciphering the best solutions to even begin conversations can be daunting.

We believe it is critical that 21st century students have 21st century tools that will empower them to think, learn, and create. In that sense, it seems that current procurement practices within our industry are working against us.

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