Technology in education is very important and changing faster than many districts can keep up with it. Because of that, it is very tempting to dive in and purchase those laptops, tablets or other devices. However, this is really one area where taking time to learn about the market and studying what the future may offer will pay off. Learn more about why a hasty technology purchase could be one of the biggest mistakes you could make!
Technology Has a Learning Curve
Just because you purchase tablets, laptops or other devices for use in the classroom, if the administration and teachers don’t understand the best ways to utilize them, they won’t be used. Any technology purchase should have training and staff development in mind as a major consideration. After all, if the devices will not be used because the teachers do not understand the benefits, what is the point in purchasing them?
Technology is Always Changing
Obviously what is cutting edge today will be outdated even a year down the road. However, that cannot be a reason to put off a purchase--since it will always be the case to a degree. However, it does make an argument for putting more care into technology decisions. Think about what products are likely to retain long-term support and updates. These are the products that make sense to purchase. Additionally, technology items that can be upgraded may be a cost-efficient solution for this problem. Adding additional storage, memory or peripherals is often significantly cheaper than purchasing new core systems.
Don’t Let Trends Guide Decisions
Along the same lines, it is important to look beyond what is popular right now and look at what will be functional and useful in the future. While tablets are extremely useful and popular right now, completely overlooking keyboard products could be a big mistake. Not only is it important that students become comfortable using a keyboard, touchscreen products are notoriously easy to break and malfunction. Sometimes developing a plan that embraces both current trends and long-lasting standbys may be the right solution.
Learn From Other’s Mistakes
Over the past decade or two, school systems of all sizes have adopted new technology plans. Which ones have failed and which ones have succeeded. One notable example is Los Angeles’ iPad program. Only a small percentage of teachers favor continuing with the program. After all, these devices are essentially useless when rolled out in schools that are barely meeting the basic needs of the students. While no program will have a 100% success rate, discovering which have been the most successful can help you make an educated decision as to your technology purchase.
As you can see, it only makes sense to spend time researching devices, planning for implementation and educating yourself and others within your school or district about technology before you make a decision. If you are careful with your purchase, you will be able to get the most from your devices both now and in the future--instead of regretting your decision a few short months down the road.