How to reap the full benefit of edtech for your school

Chris Labrey, Managing Director UK & IRL, Econocom, talks digital transformation and the processes that can make adoption of tech easier for schools

No matter where we choose to look nowadays, we will no doubt witness technology making our lives easier in one way or another. Whether it’s self-service machines in a supermarket or video conferencing systems in an office, our daily lives are made easier and more convenient through the potential of constant technological innovations.

The same can be said for educational institutions. For students — almost all of whom will be ‘digital natives’ — the use of technology can vastly improve both engagement and interest in what they’re learning about, while staff can employ more creative methods of teaching to help deliver a more level playing field for all students. It really is a vital tool in modern-day education.

Although many institutions are indeed realising the advantages of technology within their classrooms — UK schools spend more than £900m on education technology each year — there are still those that are slow off the mark, or are faced with significant barriers to adoption. While the reasons may differ, each one is negatively impacting prospective students’ perceptions of these institutions. 

The simple truth is that, despite the best intentions of many institutions, they are struggling to adopt the technology assets they desire due to either financial or logistical reasons. Historically, many schools, colleges and universities have failed to find the budget necessary to invest in the technology they require, and this is still the case today due to recent severe budget cuts.  Another hurdle in the digital transformation journey is a lack of technical knowledge. Even in that rare instance that an institution has the budget necessary to purchase the technology they need, many of them don’t know what the best options are for achieving their goals. 

The simple truth is that, despite the best intentions of many institutions, they are struggling to adopt the technology assets they desire due to either financial or logistical reasons.

But there’s a solution that can help, and it’s a called a ‘payment-over-time’ model. This is a method that is much better suited to the modern-day landscape as the concept of ownership becomes less popular across a number of industries — just consider how many people now pay for their mobile phones or cars using the same kind of model. By identifying exactly what technology is required and then taking out a bespoke subscription from a digital services provider on a cost-per-device-per-month basis, the need for a significant capital expenditure investment is eliminated and institutions can realise the full value of technology.

The advantages of payment-over-time solutions are plentiful. Firstly, they make it easier to fund increasingly popular 1:1 schemes, whereby schools pay for and provide each pupil with an electronic device for educational purposes. This used to be unaffordable for many, but a monthly service subscription makes it instantly viable. This model also makes it easy for institutions to continually refresh their technology assets — an increasingly important requirement, as students do not want to be using equipment that is older than what they’re used to at home. 

Thanks to payment-over-time models, institutions can treat their technology assets as a rolling investment, adding, removing and upgrading devices over time to keep students and staff happy. However, as is often the case in education, there is the issue of compliance to contend with, which is why the Schools Leasing Framework (SLF) has proved so popular. The SLF offers a pre-qualified and fully IAS 17 compliant solution for adopting technology through payment-over-time solutions, instilling confidence in those looking to accelerate digital transformation. 

Through payment-over-time solutions, institutions of all sizes can quickly and easily acquire the technology assets they require in a way that suits them. This will not only benefit them financially, but also from a performance perspective, with teachers and student able to work in new and effective ways. 

Chris Labrey is Managing Director UK & IRL at Econocom.

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