Making the most of your technology budget

Across the UK schools are finding it an ever increasing challenge to meet the demands and expectations for technology within the school with an ever decreasing pot of money.
In the last 5 years the consumer technology market has completely changed. The iPhone and iPad introduced us all to the use of touch technology and ease of use. The internet and ‘cloud’ services are commonplace and even our TV is now on demand.
Technology is now seamlessly integrated into our lives. We don’t recognise the activity as using ICT, we just happen to be using technology.
After years of under investment a lot of schools are now in the position that they have to start replacing their technology as quite often it no longer works. But their budgets are restricted and the huge variety of technology they can invest in can be overwhelming. Any teacher who visited BETT this year will tell you about the vast range of technologies being promoted into schools.
So where should schools start and what should they consider as their priority?

  • Technology is just a tool
  • Technology is just another tool in the box.small31
  • Making the most of your technology budget

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In the situations it excels it will help the students make fantastic progress. In the wrong situations it will just slow everything down.
Plan before you buy
Don’t focus on technology as the starting point but on what your school is trying to achieve for the students, parents, governors and of course Ofsted. By starting with these questions you can start to pull together a vision of where the school is heading and from this you will be able to understand technologies role.
Where are you now?
You know where you want to be but where are you now? Auditing your technology will help you understand what is in need of replacement, what is ok and where you have gaps between your provision and aspiration.
Plan ahead
Make a 3-5 year strategic technology plan. Don’t make your plan just on the classroom but look at the whole school. In particular take time to understand the infrastructure of your school.
Is your wireless capacity going to • cope?
Do you have enough broadband • access for all the new devices
Can your servers cope?•
Don’t forget Training!
Like all tools technology is only going to help with the right amount of training. This must be planned in with the budget of technology spending. The capabilities of interactive whiteboards and their software are often under used because the teachers have not been kept current with their training. Getting even Reception age students to create animations and even green screen movies is easy when the teachers know how.
Once the teachers have the tools, training and confidence to use the technology they will find ways of using it in every subject.
How about a news report on ‘Tudor TV’ or an animation? These activities pull in strands from every part of the curriculum from English for the scripts to music for the backing music.
Trinity ICT are a specialist technology consultancy for the education market. We specialise in advising schools and colleges on technology and how it can be used in the classroom as well as providing professional training courses so teachers can be confident in their use of technology.

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