In a recent study conducted by the Technology For Education Consortium, it was reported that school districts are overcharged by at least $3 billion on hardware and software each year. Much of this is due to a lack of transparency from education technology companies, but it begs another important question -- why are expensive education technology products so alluring, and what are you really paying for?
When technology directors look to purchase new technology, it can be easy to simply choose a product that is well-known among other educators. While this strategy is understandable, it can often lead to numerous unforeseen costs. Education technology companies that sell popular products can afford to charge higher prices for their products; they know that people will buy them due to a lack of awareness about other products on the market. Many of these products also experience a great deal of wear and tear over the years, and don’t measure up to high quality standards.
Interactive whiteboards can play a crucial role in student engagement and retention. However, many expensive interactive whiteboards that have been purchased within the last 6 or more years are continuously failing. For a product sold at such a high initial cost, and that have a number of additional annual costs, they should last for much longer than 6 years – but they don’t. What steps can educators take to find cost-effective alternatives to expensive products?
In our blog post “Finding the Right EdTech Product”, we discussed a few different ways to discover other education technology products on the market. In addition to attending education technology conferences and speaking with education product resellers, speaking with other educators can be a great way to discover new education technology. It is critical for educators to speak out about their experiences with education technology products, both good and bad. The Technology For Education Consortium found that, if educators communicated with one another regarding their education technology purchases, they would not be overcharged for education technology.
What are some ways to stay updated and share experiences about education technology? Social media is a great tool for checking out education technology conversations. The edtech and edtechchat hashtags are beneficial for finding updates and reviews on education technology products. Educators who are passionate about education technology may want to consider writing their own blog to share their experiences.
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