School technology has big potential, but schools need even bigger funds to realize that potential
Technology is many things: Exciting. Innovative. Interesting. A time-killer. Students are drawn to it.
Without question, technology is the greatest learning tool since pen and paper. There is very little to criticize when it comes to the technological advancements we’ve all experienced in the last 15 years.
But with everything, there is usually a downside. For technology, the truth is, it’s expensive–very expensive.
As an individual, we each understand the costs associated with purchasing and updating iPhones, iPads, MacBooks, and various other non-Apple products. The larger your family, the larger the investment. The days of buying a $17 calculator as your child’s major tech purchase are long gone.
A single family may have four smart phones, three handheld devices, and a computer. And this is potentially on the low end of what some families have.
No one understands this financial impact better than school superintendents. When you take what an average person spends a year on technology (it’s a lot) and multiply it by thousands of students, you have costs that eat up a significant portion of a school budget.
This doesn’t take into account the amount of money that has to be budgeted for school websites, parent notification systems, student management programs, servers, interactive whiteboards, infrastructure, and technology personnel.
And that’s just the beginning of the story. Technology costs are never-ending. It just doesn’t last as long as a school desk, chalkboard, or textbook. These used to be the major, big-ticket items for schools. They were expensive, but they also had a life span. You could count on using them for a decade or more.
We are lucky if technology lasts a few short years.
As a comparison, a chalkboard could last for more than 50 years. An interactive whiteboard might be good for seven.