Budget cuts to K-12 education could reach up to $2.5 billion this year according to estimates by the National Association of State Budget Officers.  Twenty-two states have slashed K-12 funding, which has led to increased class sizes, fewer tutoring programs, fewer days in the school year, fewer high school counselors, fewer college prep opportunities, and fewer teacher development resources.   Although this may paint a grim picture of K-12 education in the United States, many schools have found innovative ways to reduce costs using education technology:

  • Make curriculum guides digital to eliminate costs associated with   editing, printing and distributing curriculum binders.
  • Offer online professional development courses for teachers to remove associated travel expenses and substitute fees.
  • Shift toward online summer school classes that require fewer resources and eliminate the need for buses, facilities and electricity.
  • Put additional instructional resources online for students who may need a little extra help.
  • Allow employees to learn at their own pace, on their own desktop with online training to roll-out a new student information system, payroll system, or grading tool.

But how do schools and districts justify education technology investments to begin with?  In the past, a focus on increased learning opportunities and overall student success was enough.   Recently, the conversation has shifted.  According to new research by Project Tomorrow, now districts are more likely to substantiate education technology investments when they highlight opportunities for ROI and VOI.  More simply stated, they answer the question, “Why is this online learning project a good investment of our district’s time and resources and how will it provide value for my students?”

Visit the microsite to learn how districts are using technology to reduce costs and increase ROI, and to learn how to assert that education technology is an incisive response to decreased funding.  Within the microsite, be sure to check out the “The New Math for Justifying Online Learning” report, which includes a worksheet to help readers evaluate their own ed tech investments.

What are your district’s strategies for justifying ed tech investments?  How are you improving efficiency and reducing costs?  Please add comments and share your ideas – let’s keep the conversation going!

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