Thanks to Dr. Evan Lieberman, I had the opportunity to be interviewed for this July/August 2016 piece, What’s trending in school technology spending?, for the Texas School Business journal:
|Source: Texas School Business – Read it online|
Some of my take-aways from this article include the following:
- Budgets for public school districts are shrinking while edtech costs are rising.
- A knee-jerk reaction is to reduce instructional technology budgets [and, if I may add, cut Instructional Technology specialists/facilitators out, putting them to pasture or forcing their well-roundedness into square holes aligned to yesteryear’s approach to curriculum].
- Some of the key topics in the article include:
- IT Budgeting – A shift in spending towards mobile devices such as Chromebooks.
- Chromebooks – Versatile devices that are easy to secure and support.
- Open Educational Resources (OER)
- Teacher Technology Training
- Network Infrastructure
- One of my favorite quotes :
Miguel Guhlin…cites testing as another reason districts are switching to Chromebooks. “These devices are flexible, and preparing (the devices) for high-stakes testing is an easy process that makes yesterday’s efforts for maintaining Windows devices a nightmare by comparison,” says Guhlin, a former school district technology director.”
- On OER, Miguel Guhlin says, OER are “awesome because they are updated frequently by both teachers and students and are frequently less expensive to acquire.”
- On teacher technology training, “effective technology training helps students and teachers understand that classroom learning isn’t solely about gaining theoretical knowledge but also finding expression in real-life application” (Source: Miguel Guhlin).
By acknowledging these trends, school districts can plan today to better serve our students of tomorrow.
Recently, Tim Holt (El Paso ISD) inquired about whether it was possible to use Texas Instructional Materials Allocation (IMA) for “creating textbooks.” A clarifying response from Jennifer Bergland, TCEA Advocacy, indicates that IMA funds can be used to pay the salary of an individual who writes textbooks, but not a stipend. Tim’s question makes me wonder, “Does this mean school districts–perhaps in collaboration with students and faculty–be able to create their own textbooks?”
If so, it’s a fascinating question. Another one is, “Who ‘certifies’ these teacher-generated textbooks for use in K-12 classrooms?” Perhaps, we will soon see textbook companies disintermediated altogether. That would be a lot of money. I predict if that were to happen that we would see textbook publishers partnering with school districts to author textbooks, not unlike what happened with Texas Virtual School Network (TxVSN) where districts started partnering up with K12,Inc and others for a hefty pay-off to both.