I know. It’s frustrating. You’re expected to attract all these shiny new students with rusty old tech.
You know you can draw them in if you could invest in EdTech, but where are you supposed to get the funds from? Your budget’s stretched to the max and you can’t make any more money without new students. And you can’t attract new students without new software. And you can’t buy new software without money.
It’s a vicious circle.
But you can break out of it.
Here are 5 budget stretching tips that will help you invest in EdTech:
1. Work Out What You Can Get Rid Of
Chances are you’ve got about a million pieces of software, half a million of which your staff and students don’t even use.
A study carried out by GettingSmart found that one district was investing money in 70 different edtech programmes and only ⅓ of them were being used.
Think how much money that district, or rather, you, could save getting rid of all the software you don’t need.
Interview your staff and students and work out which ones you can bin without hurting anyone.
2. Save Money, Paper And Ink
You can save loads of money by going paperless.
Instead of printing all your resources, stick them on your LMS. You’ll create an immediate backup of everything and you can share it with whoever you want.
Think of all the paper and ink you’re wasting on a print syllabus. 100+ page ebooks, contracts and specs, class slides and notes, worksheets and cover letters can all be uploaded in a second.
That’s not to mention print communications. Cut down on receipts, forms and invoices by setting up online payments and class registration. While you’re at it, go paperless with your newsletters and student magazine!
The money you’re spending on a print syllabus may not seem like much, but trust me, it adds up. Take Yale, for example. They spent $680,000 in one year before going paperless.
You’re saving money, the planet and even your hair! Without the mountain of books and paper, you’ll avoid the stress of accidentally losing anything and the time wasted trying to find it.
3. Cut Down On Systems And Software Packages
Use an LMS that covers ALL your needs. This way, you won’t have to invest in a load of different systems that cater to different tasks and different people.
Get everything in one space that everyone can find and use. Again, you’re cutting down on time, confusion, stress and money. It also means that you don’t have to invest in a load of different software. You can even get an LMS like Blackboard, which has a vzaar video plugin that allows you to upload videos straight onto the same space.
On that note, go for a package you trust and which you know has awesome support so that you don’t waste time and money later repairing a broken system.
No mess, no stress and much less money spent on software.
4. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)
No need to keep updating college computers or train Windows users on Mac – always a painful process. Let your students bring their own devices. It takes away the risk and cost of a computer failing and will help you go paperless.
With their own devices, students can record their classes or access the material on their LMS to save them taking notes. Less ink. Less time. Less paper.
And if that isn’t enough to sway you, let me add that BYOD can increase student engagement. Menkhoff and Bengtsson found that students become more motivated learning with their own devices, because they feel more familiar to them, as they use them in everyday life.
This means the learning environment feels more accessible to them and they’re more likely to engage.
5. Refurbished Tech Vs. New Tech
If you’re still not sold on the whole BYOD thing and you want everyone to work from the same type of device and you’re panicking because your budget still needs to stretch a bit more, don’t worry.
There’s another way.
Skip the spending on new desktops and get refurbished tech instead.
Loads of people don’t like this idea at first. They’re picturing old, battered computers that whine at every click and crash if you try to download something.
Most of the time this isn’t the case. Rebecca Paddick from Education Technology writes that most refurbished computers are new returns and sometimes haven’t been taken out of the box. Plus, loads of these refurbs cost up to 80% less than their original models.
Just make sure you invest in tech from a reputable company and get a decent warranty. This way you’re safe if any of them play up.
EdTech Is Worth The Investment
If you make good use of the edtech you invest in, it will pay off. The University of Wisconsin Whitewater has extended their reach across the globe with online videos and courses. They now host thousands of lectures to international students they could never have attracted before.
The truth is, you need to meet your learners where they are and where their interests lie.
And guess where that is.
Of course it is! How could it not be? They’ve been born and raised in a society obsessed with tech. They’re constantly surrounded by it. It only makes sense for them to learn with it as well.
So incorporating simple things like social media, videos and games into your course and advertising strategy will attract and engage them. Which will boost your ROI.
What’s more, it’s easy. Why not start by uploading videos from your own devices to your LMS and website? In just a few clicks, you can advertise to new students and enhance class content at the same time.