Money Matters: Paying for Technology

By Glenn Cook

As a rule, educators are not early adopters of technology. Limited financial resources, lack of Internet access in rural areas, time constraints, and murky rules governing how it can be used in schools have hindered mass implementation nationwide.

As a result, some districts continue to push the envelope to ensure teachers and students have access to the latest tools, while others are frenetically playing catch-up. Fortunately for the latter, a variety of low-cost or free tools are now available and accessible online, providing districts and administrators with unprecedented opportunities for collaborative professional development.

For 30 years -- first with newspapers, then in school district communications, and then with ASBJ -- I have seen firsthand how money and resources influence almost every school leader’s decision. On almost any issue, we can discuss -- and perhaps agree to disagree -- whether that financial influence led to decisions at the board and administrative levels that resulted in improved student achievement.

For this column, let’s look at two technology efforts that potentially are moving the needle. One is a multiyear, multimillion- dollar, districtwide initiative that could have a far-reaching impact for more than 100,000 students. Another focuses on one of the free online tools I mentioned that, if used properly, can support improved instruction across multiple districts in multiple states.

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