When it comes to selecting the right technology solutions for their districts, K–12 IT professionals and educators have countless options — not to mention some tough decisions.
For high-stakes technology investments, decision-makers can take meaningful cues from the concept of structured choice. This increasingly popular educational strategy is designed to provide students with learning options tailored to their specific strengths, interests and needs. And, just as there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for students, educators also have different needs and uses for classroom technology.
Taking a structured-choice approach to technology purchasing allows districts to make better technology investments while empowering teachers with tools that meet their unique needs. Educators can select from a narrow but comprehensive roster of products, each one chosen for its ability to meet the greatest range of user needs and yield the best possible outcomes.
How to Make Informed Purchasing Decisions
From the standpoint of IT teams, the most important variables to take into consideration when investing in new technologies are often the district’s current technology infrastructure, its current product investments and its budget. But for educators, the most critical considerations can vary greatly.
This is why the key to making informed purchasing decisions is to talk to educational strategists. Good decisions often start with a conversation that keeps in mind the school’s business objectives and its educational mission and goals.
With a structured-choice approach to IT purchasing, districts aren’t locked into a single product. Each school has its own roadmap of available, viable options to choose from, safe in the knowledge that whatever they choose from the list will meet their needs and integrate with the district’s existing infrastructure.
Product integration and interoperability is, in fact, one of the most vital factors to take into consideration when purchasing new technology solutions. Working with educators, school IT teams can offer an agnostic view of everything that currently exists on the market, plus new technology that’s hitting the market, and how these could work together based on a school’s goals.
Services Help Educators Get More Value from New Technology
A service that often goes hand in hand with structured-choice decision-making is last-mile integration. Product experts can aid school districts in the preconfiguration of technology solutions. With this integration, experts handle the delivery, unboxing and setup. New solutions are configured and ready to use when needed, without any hassle.
Many schools also request assistance with device lifecycle management. For example, if a school deploys 10,000 Chromebooks, the devices are not only delivered, installed and connected, they’re also managed over the three-year warranty period. If the device breaks during that time, it can be quickly replaced with a new device.
This combination of last-mile integration and in-warranty lifecycle management allows educators to make the most of the technology they purchase.
This article is part of the “ConnectIT: Bridging the Gap Between Education and Technology” series. Please join the discussion on Twitter by using the #ConnectIT hashtag.