Modernization and Funding the Future

Persuading Funders to Support Your Technology Program

Part 6: Modernization and Funding the Future

–By Heather Chirtea and Eric Bird

Series blog –  6 of 6

mentoring 2In part 6, we will be addressing the necessity of using the phrase, “investing in the future,” in relation to modernization. Modernization allows for efficiency in the classroom, no longer do teachers need to exhaust themselves as the expert, now students can become experts by “googling” the answer.

Arguement 9:  Modernization – Technology provides school modernization AND more advanced teaching strategies.  As one principal stated, “Stop the glue and tape frenzy.  No more paper or closets full of pens and supplies.” By updating the school with modern technology and programs, the teachers can adopt new teaching paradigms that change the way students are taught.

●      The teacher is not the only expert anymore.  Every student has the opportunity to become an expert.

●      Students become mentors.  A culture of self-help will emerge where students become technology experts, guiding other students and teachers to fluidly adopt technology.  This, in turn, develops leadership skills and critical job skills that will help the students find employment.

●      Collaboration will increase.  The classroom is less like a lecture hall, and more like a village of collaborative learning and teaching.

Argument 10: This is an Investment. – The vocabulary of “investment” is much more powerful than asking for “donations” or “charity”. Stakeholders should understand that you aren’t trying to fund a technology program, rather you are ensuring the financial viability of your community by investing in youth.

●      Technology is an investment.  This is an investment for the school, for the students, for the town.  Stop treating it like an expense!

●      Property values will rise.  People want to live in communities with schools that are respected and progressive.  A strong technology program raises the perception of the quality of education at the school, which in turn keeps property value high.

●      There are cost savings to offset investment.  Do a cost analysis with computers vs. supplies and textbooks.  As other line items in the budget shrink (paper, ink, toner, writing utensils, and textbooks), the technology budget should grow.

●      Investment in the students – share stories.  It is much easier for a decision maker to fund a “human interest” story than a piece of equipment.  This works incredibly well with politicians.  If you ever get the opportunity to appeal to your school board or local legislator, don’t do the presentation yourself.  Rather, invite a few students to speak on your behalf.  Let the students explain why they need technological skills to prepare for college and get a job.  Remember, you are not trying to put technology in schools, rather you are preparing students for the future workforce in the global economy.  This is an investment in your children’s future!

●      Craft a financial argument.  Many rural states experience a “Brain Drain” where graduates leave the local region to attend college and don’t return. Check your population data to see if your region is shrinking. Consider the financial effect on the state’s tax base.  Each student who stays in the local area will get a job, raise a family, buy a house, and contribute to the local tax base (which in most states contributes directly to education funding).  Regardless of whether your state suffers from a “Brain Drain,” you can calculate the annual financial gain to the tax base and local economy based on average salary rates in your state for each student who decides to “stay local.”  Hard numbers are what decision makers need to justify re-allocating funds.  Remember, a savvy student can work from anywhere.

●      Calculate the percent of total spending.  Calculate the total education budget in your funding region (school, district, or state), then consider what percentage of that budget would be necessary to put a computer on every student’s desk.  It’s a sure bet that you will be able to craft a true and compelling statement such as, “Less than one half of 1% of the total education budget would put a computer on the desk of every single student in our district.”  You will quickly realize how small that percentage really is.

This is 6 of 6 parts, but don’t be alarmed more information on successful 1:1 computing initiative strategies are coming.

Check out the Research:

This article is based on a national survey of 242 educators and administrators, interviews with 27 technology leaders, and our own personal experience implementing 1:1 computing programs in 30 schools. For more information check out our research in education technology.

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Posted on March 12, 2014, in brighton, bristol, canaan, fisher, flip video, folsom, ludlow, mettawee, netbooks, podcasting, poultney, pownal, rumney, schools, sherburne, sunderland, technology, video, vision, web 2.0 and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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