By Heather Chirtea
Executive Director, Digital Wish
It’s not always easy to find funding for your favorite technology products, but here
are a few ideas you may not have thought of.
Recycle Old Technology to Buy New Technology
The Recycle Forward program from Digital Wish allows you to earn money for new technology products by recycling your old cell phones, ink cartridges, and other technology items. Simply print signs, set up a drop-box, and print free shipping labels. Our local school raised $850 during a community drop day.
Your Training Budget Might Cover Hardware
Many schools have a surplus of training funds and a deficit of hardware funding. Talk to your hardware vendor and see if they will provide professional development together with the equipment you are purchasing. If so, you could ask your vendor to give you a quote on "training with hardware included.” Your technology purchases might suddenly qualify for training budgets. Be sure to check what is allowable with each grant or funding source.
Target the Copy Budget
Consider distributing your school newsletter by email to save money on copies.
Then, use the savings to purchase new technology. Also, calculate the cost
savings that will be made with a paperless system. The copy budget would
be dramatically reduced, in fact slashed, if all your students suddenly turned
in their work electronically. There's also a fantastic move to "go green,” save
trees, and reduce your school’s footprint by reducing your paper consumption.
Target the Textbook Budget
It would certainly take a major re-work of the school's curriculum to eliminate even a single textbook, but consider calculating the cost of textbook purchases versus computer purchases. You may be able to fund a computer for every student at a similar cost over a 4-year period. Computers have recently dropped dramatically in price.
If your school has "school-wide" designation for Title 1, then it may be possible to use Title 1 funding for school-wide computer purchases. These regulations may vary by state.
Have Students Bring Computers From Home
If you are planning a one-computer-per-child initiative, do a quick survey to find
out how many students have computers at home that might be used in school.
Your school’s IT Coordinator will need to equip these home systems with the
school’s virus protection and internet filtering, but the cost may be appreciably
less than purchasing a brand new computer for every student.
Consider Refurbished Computers
Again, for a school considering the purchase of one-computer-per-child, you can often get three times more refurbished equipment for the same price as new computers. If you go this route, be sure to purchase the maximum extended warranty.
Fundraise on Digital Wish
Have your teachers make technology wish lists at www.digitalwish.org, then invite parents and community members to donate! The site also offers special educator-only discounts and grants, like a 2-for-1 promotion on Flip video cameras. Contributors can purchase items directly from a teacher’s technology wish list, or make any contribution large or small.
You may republish this article and the images (together) in your newsletter, as long as you include the following credit:
By Heather Chirtea, Executive Director, Digital Wish, firstname.lastname@example.org
Digital Wish is on a mission to solve technology shortfalls in American classrooms. Invite your teachers to make their technology wish lists at www.digitalwish.org, then invite parents and community members to donate. Flip video cameras are available to US schools through a 2-for-1 matching program. Digital Wish has brought technology grants to over 22,000 classrooms and maintains a vibrant community of over 50,000 educators.