5 steps to move technology purchasing into the 21st century

3. Think jets, not steam trains; think digital, not analog.

To get 21st century outcomes, we need think in 21st century terms. Leasing is a good example of this. Leasing our Apple products ensures we have the most recent hardware, updated every three years for students, while retaining the residual value of it. Marketplaces such as 3rd Quote can help reduce the noise and ensure schools can find and vet products quickly based on other schools’ reviews and efficacy. Additionally, it is a great platform to exchange information about providers and the effectiveness of products. This efficiency, in turn, allows the focus to be on students and learning.

4. Break down the silos.

Schools need to move away from silo-based kingdoms to working in collaboration on procurement with school districts in their local area. This can also lead to other forms of resource sharing. Reaching out to other districts has huge advantages with educational technology procurement. Area Educational Agencies (AEA)—like our local Keystone AEA—are great resources for procurement beyond the siloed kingdom.

5. Establish business partnerships.

Taking a look beyond the school campus to business and industry gives valuable insight into the skills and technologies needed to prepare students post graduation. Developing these partnerships early on in the decision-making process—to help guide procurement decisions—will yield huge dividends for learning and student success.

To new and even established superintendents, I offer these four additional tips:

  1. Reach out to me at Howard-Winneshiek for advice.
  2. Network with other superintendents.
  3. Discuss ed tech purchases with stakeholders especially students.
  4. Make decisions that serve children best.

There are myriad of vendors and options to match the needs of not just the district, but, most importantly, the students. As a champion of digital learning and student success, we are taking big strides in digitizing the procurement of educational technology.

John Carver is Superintendent of Howard-Winneshiek Community Schools in Cresco, Iowa. Follow him @johnccarver.

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