5 overlooked money-saving ideas for ed tech

5 ways to save money, spend smarter, and make better use of current resources

money-techAs the chief management analyst for the Fiscal Crisis & Management Assistance Team (FCMAT) in Bakersfield, Calif., Michelle Plumbtree has gotten up close and personal with a number of educational technology professionals and departments—many of which were struggling to balance classroom technology and infrastructure needs against limited institutional budgets.

And she says ed tech departments should consider rethinking a few things as technology becomes a larger part of school budgets.

“The area of technology is expanding too quickly, and it’s becoming more and more expensive to keep up with,” says Plumbtree, whose organization was created under AB1200, a California state law enacted after the bankruptcy of Richmond School District and the fiscal collapse of a few other California districts. And while Plumbtree says that many districts are “getting there” on the technology front, the financial aspect of that charge tends to trip up even the most financially savvy district.…Read More

‘Thinkfinity’ completes MarcoPolo’s long journey

MarcoPolo, the free, standards-based curriculum web site for teachers, has had quite a colorful history. Created by the MCI WorldCom Foundation in the late 1990s in conjunction with leading content experts such as National Geographic and the Kennedy Center, it was in danger of folding after WorldCom’s accounting scandal and subsequent bankruptcy filing in 2002–then, remarkably, WorldCom’s creditors and board of directors committed $6 million to save the program. With Verizon’s purchase of WorldCom–then known as MCI Inc.–early last year, the site became the property of the Verizon Foundation. Now, MarcoPolo has merged with the Verizon Literacy Network to become a single digital learning platform called “Thinkfinity,” which Verizon defines as “endless possibilities for learning and infinite intelligence.” The new Thinkfinity contains more than 47,000 educational resources, such as lesson plans and interactive student activities, across seven academic disciplines. Offered in partnership with eight educational organizations, Thinkfinity is commercial free and accessible from any internet-connected computer at no cost. With the help of its partners, Verizon says, it is working to make this resource available on other platforms, too, to support learning in the 21st century.