education.govt.nz

Ask the Connected Learning Advisory

Issue: Volume 94, Number 18

Posted: 12 October 2015
Reference #: 1H9cuo

Considerations for procuring digital devices for your school

Children working on laptops

There are many reasons why you might want to increase access to digital devices in your school. A learner-centred curriculum that includes 1:1 digital devices supports greater flexibility in learning pathways, empowering students to learn in a more personalised way with increased control over their own learning.

Procuring digital technologies for a school can be challenging due to the high costs that can be involved. The advisory supports schools to make informed decisions about what devices are going to be most useful for learning and teaching based on the vision of the school and the needs of the learners.

Device options

Before making any purchases it is important to keep in mind what the learning purpose is for the devices. Below are key considerations to consider when choosing devices for learning.

  • What educational purposes are the devices expected to support?
  • How will the expected use of the devices meet the school’s goals and vision?
  • What do your teachers, community and students think they need?
  • What professional learning and infrastructure requirements will you need to support the introduction of the new devices?

There are many types, makes and models of devices which could suit your school including desktops, laptops, thin clients, chromebooks, and tablets. Having a range of devices might be a good option as it enables students to select a device suitable for the learning activity.

Before purchasing any devices we recommend that schools:

Connect with other schools: Talk with teachers in other schools that have similar devices to understand their experiences. You could visit other schools or participate online in the Enabling e-Learning Technologies group of the Virtual Learning Network(external link) 

Trial a variety of devices: Trial different devices in the classroom with groups of staff and students to ascertain which ones provide the best fit to teaching and learning. This needs to be a reasonable length of time (eg, a term) and could form part of some of your teachers’ professional inquiries.

Online reviews: Read online reviews of the devices being considered, including their use in schools, if possible.

Procurement considerations

New Zealand schools are eligible to join the All of Government (AoG) purchasing scheme(external link). Suppliers to AoG are contractually obliged to ensure that their products are not available at a cheaper price through any other channel.

Schools should also consider whether leasing or purchasing devices would be in their best interests.

Leasing

The two advantages of leasing are that they allow payment for the products over their lifetime rather than providing funding upfront and that they commit you to a replacement cycle, usually three years.

The cost of leasing is typically higher than purchasing outright and at the end of the lease period you would normally have to either send the goods back or pay extra money to keep them.

Leasing hardware does not typically provide any protection against issues such as theft, malfunction, and damage. You will still need to consider insurances and warranties.

Purchasing

Buying goods outright will usually be cheaper than leasing as you are paying only for the items themselves and not the finance or administrative costs of the finance company. You remain in control of the life cycle of the equipment so you can choose to replace equipment when it best suits your school. You can sell the items at the time you replace them which can help fund your next purchases.

Some items have life cycles much longer than three years. For instance, data projectors, screens, and wireless access points are all items that you might enjoy five or more years of use from if you owned them outright.

The following links may be useful for you to consider what is important for your teachers and students:

Contact the connected learning advisory:

The advisory is supporting hundreds for schools as they make strategic decisions related to learning with digital technologies.

If you have a query about integrating technology with teaching and learning, or you want to suggest a topic for this column, contact the Connected Learning Advisory on:

Phone: 0800 700 400

Online form: Te Ara Whitiki (external link)or Connected Learning Advisory(external link)

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero, reporter@edgazette.govt.nz

Posted: 12:47 pm, 12 October 2015

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