As we hear of more and more districts across the nation who are adding technology to their classrooms, it’s common to hear of budget cuts and lack of funding preventing educators from implementing the latest educational technologies as quickly as they would like.
In districts who have approved the implementation of educational technologies like tablets or personal laptops, budget concerns mean uneven integration across the district with some administrators even opting out of the approved educational technology programs for complete lack of funding.
At one school in Utah, students are powering on MacBook Air laptops and Skyping with teachers at Kaysville charter school Career Path High.
The new technology is partially funded by a state program that awards a tech overhaul to selected schools. But as digital projectors at Career Path High glow, students at other winning schools are still waiting for their promised devices.
And at some of those schools, administrators have yet to officially sign on because they aren’t sure they can afford their share of the bill.
This year’s Smart Schools program is “sort of all over themap still,” said Rick Gaisford, technology specialist at the Utah Office of Education (USOE). “Ideally, we would’ve loved to have all the schools up and running the first day of school.”
Carbon School District’s Helper Junior High is opting out of the program, Principal Mika Salas wrote in an email. And North Salt Lake’s Wasatch Peak Academy dropped out midsummer because its share of the cost, about $740 per student, proved too hefty. Other schools filled the open seats, but some still don’t know whether they can manage it.
Equipping schools with iPads for each student remains a new process, so state board school members expect the program to have a few glitches, said Associate Superintendent Brenda Hales. The cost is a big hit for most schools, but some say the comprehensive, all-at-once package makes it worthwhile.
“It’s not that it’s bad,” Hales said of the project in August. “It’s just expensive.”