This post is the first in a four-part series designed to help education leaders gather and use data to create optimal—and sustainable—digital learning environments.
The years 2020–2023 are proving to be unprecedented in the world of educational technology. Some say that the amount of available federal funding will be the most we will ever have in educational technology! (You can find a summary of funding available for the upcoming years through The Office of Educational Technology.)
With that amount of funding, many school districts can build up their technology fleet and infrastructure systems of support. Aside from the supply chain issues, there may not be a lot of difficulty in outfitting students, staff, and schools with the technology they need to be successful in learning.
That’s exciting, but what happens when the funding runs out?
Sustainability Planning Starts Now
As a former chief of technology for a large Wisconsin school district, I have been in charge of lifecycle management, budgeting, and technology purchasing for a school district. Right now, my biggest concern is not what will take place in the next few years in the field of technology purchasing but what will happen in the years 2024 and beyond when federal technology funding has ceased.
I recommend forward-thinking edtech leaders start building their sustainability plan right now, knowing that their funding will run out in a few years and they will be back to their pre-pandemic budget.
Consider what your purchasing cycle will look like then. By 2024, devices purchased with today’s funding will be wearing out, breaking, or deemed non-functional. What happens then?
You’ll need to make hard decisions about which hardware needs replacing, what software and digital resources need to be cut or kept, and what infrastructure pieces need to be replaced with eRate funding.
Putting ClassLink in place now—and using the rich analytics available in the platform—can assist school districts in answering a lot of the questions that will come up in your sustainability planning and prevent future funding and purchasing shortfalls.
Today’s Data Can Support Tomorrow’s Decisions
With this series, we look at how ClassLink can assist district leaders in understanding the current reality of digital learning in their school district. By collecting data on digital resources used, online access trends, and devices used, districts can begin to build profiles of their optimal learning environments.
With a collection of three years of data (or more if your district already has ClassLink), you can arm your district with the data you need to decide what needs to stay and what no longer can be supported when your budget dwindles in 2024.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- General access: What are the trends? Where do you want to be, and how do you maintain it?
- Making data work for you: Use data to determine future spending
- Using ClassLink to help you move to remote learning
I hope you will join us as we look at how to use ClassLink’s data analytics to help build a strong plan for sustainability so the year 2024 can be a little-noticed transition back to traditional technology funding.
Join us next week for our next post in the Planning for Sustainability series, where I’ll share how to use ClassLink to monitor digital access trends, achieve your access goals and then maintain them. Follow us on social media to stay up-to-date with new entries in this series, or subscribe using the form below.