K-12 IT teams have many challenges unique to their environments, including typically locally-funded public schools, and very rarely do IT budgets increase. Despite this, changes in educational approaches, and also the demands of parents and tech-savvy students, mean that schools are hard-pressed to adopt cutting-edge new technologies.
The increase in device purchasing and implementation is so schools can achieve an ideal 1-to-1 student-to-computer ratio. This means IT teams are on the hook for securing, managing, and tracking all of these machines.
Shrinking IT Budgets Continue to Trend…
School budgets are generally tight, worldwide, and the US is no exception. According to The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), most US states offer less money per student than they did before the recession of 2008.
“Some states are still cutting eight years after the recession took hold. These cuts weaken schools’ capacity to develop the intelligence and creativity of the next generation of workers and entrepreneurs,” the Center found.
Meanwhile The Consortium for School Networking (COSN) released a study on school spending. Less than a third of schools polled, 30 percent, had a budget increase. However, over half, 54 percent, don’t have the resources to “meet overall expectations of the school board/district leaders.”
What’s more, 70 percent of schools are facing static or declining IT budgets.
…which is Bad because Tech Improves Education
The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) created Project RED to understand how technology is improving education.
Here are some of the key findings:
- Proper implementation of technology is directly linked to education success.
- Properly implemented technology saves money.
- 1-to-1 schools that properly implement technology outperform all other
schools, including all other 1-to-1 schools.
- A school principal’s ability to lead is critical to the success of an implementation effort.
- Technology-transformed intervention improves learning.
- Online collaboration increases learning productivity and student engagement.
- Daily use of technology delivers the best return on investment (ROI).
As you can imagine, it’s difficult to accomplish these achievements without full commitment and/or IT funding. “Ubiquitous technology programs face difficult financial and philosophical challenges in today’s economic climate, in which superintendents and school boards must often cut programs and lay off teachers. In an era of high-stakes test scores and teacher accountability, it can be difficult to motivate teachers and administrators to move to more student-centered learning. And because the benefits of a ubiquitous educational technology program are realized over several years, many schools opt for short-term fixes and stopgap measures,” Project RED argued.