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With the evaporating school budgets, I was wondering how everyone is able to support technology ie: laptops (buying new ones, fixing old ones that have expired warranties, cracked screens), and replacement equipment for Smart Boards, and projectors. Our school was looking to ask for a technology donation as some teachers ask for "supplies" such as a ream paper and a box of tissues. We heard it can't be done but we could possibly ask the PTA. Any ideas?

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Grant writing is probably the best way to approach this. I know I am hoping to learn more about grant possibilities so I can replace the 5 year old eMacs that we currently use at our school.

This is a very difficult situation and I fear leads to more inequalities in the schools when the only choice id for parents to support the budget. PTA' s that can afford to subsidize the school budget means more opportunities for their students, whereas the poorer districts are again left with less. We share a building with a school who is planning on getting their PTA to raise funds for fiber optics into the building because the existing infrastructure is so slow that none of the schools in the building can use technology in a reliable or meaningful way in the classrooms. But where does that leave the schools who cannot afford that?

There seems to be a real divide between all this 21st century - web 2.0 stuff, and the reality of many of the schools out there. I would also like to hear from others who have solved some of these challenges.

thanks
Hi Michael,

Thanks for this question. I have some answers and I'm sure others here do too. First, this article has some useful information. COST EFFECTIVE WAYS TO PREPARE YOUR SCHOOL OR CLASSROOM FOR 21ST CE... . Next, take a look at the bottom right hand side of this site where you'll see information about funding opportunities.
We just got a whole load of printer paper from http://www.donorschoose.org/
...
We have a Partnership with Comp2Kids who donated refurbished desktop PCs we then had imaged to NYCDOE standards. Comp@Kids provided technology workshops to our families and then donated desktops to them as a gift for attending. http://www.perscholas.org/c2k/index.html
The principal/ teachers at our school as families for donations the first week of school. They receive tissues, soap, pencils, markers, reams of paper, etc........ treasure chest of items from Staples. This needs to be a school wide policy so no teacher is left out. If you do not receive a lot of items........ maybe one teacher receives a lot and another receives one or two, then all items received, should be divided equally amongst the classrooms (let staff know this from the beginning).
As far as technology........ you need to attend the monthly meeting and let us know that you are in need. Our school has given away our old technology an many occasions. I emailed our current give-a-way two months ago to all tech-liasons. And of course......... as the PTA for fundraising ideas!!!!!
Before becoming a teacher I worked in the tech sector for years (dotcom era). One thing I took from that time of my life is less is sometimes more.

In times of budget crunches think versatility. Smartboards are great, but a projector and a flat wall can do almost as much for thousand less. Buy the most powerful Mac computers you can afford now. The initial investment, while possibly tough to swallow, will ensure those machines will last for years and year. I have old blueberry iMacs, barely from this decade, that I've upgraded to 10.3.11. Macs have an extremely long lifespan from an operating system perspective. Your expendutire now could ave you thousands in hardware for years to come.

Limit your printing to black and white. My school has 1, yes 1, black and white printer. The rest are color, which cost a fortune to run. I took some money this year to buy 3 new black and white printers. Did we need new printers? Not necessarily, but could we afford the $800 per color printer for ink? Nope. I got 3 black and white laser printers for less than what it would cost to re-stock 3 olor printers (and the b&w get 20,000 pages per cartridge, color gets 5-7,000).

Do cost-analysis based on expected usage. You want computers in every room? Is it more cost effective to buy 2 desktops at $1,000 a piece for every room or 24 laptops and a mobile cart? If teachers are slow to warm to the idea of integrating technology 2 desktops per room might be the better option. My previous school has quite a few tech savvy teachers. We had over 100 laptops in 4 carts. Every cart got used at least once a day, if not 2-3 times. For us it was worth it to spend the money on the laptops since we knew they would be used.

Things like wikis, blogs, Ning, Google Apps, etc are good ways to collaborate and show student work without much expense at all. My school spent thousands last year on ink. We are using Google Apps a lot this year and expect to cut our printing costs in half, or more.

Grants, donations, etc are all great and we should always be seeking them out. In the time before the grant money comes in take stock of your inventory, develop a plan/vision for the school and see what you can upgrade in house to help get you closer to that vision. I've dealt with budget issues for years, I always clean out the garbage first, upgrade what I can, and then evaluate my need going forward...
... then it's all about playing the number in FAMIS with your budget specialist...
What monthly meeting? The only recent email I've gotten is the iSquad meeting and the Mouse Squad Conference. I've seen several emails from people getting rid of their equipment and I've emailed them asking for them, but I was too late :( I never received your email concerning give-a-ways.

Francine Cornelius said:
The principal/ teachers at our school as families for donations the first week of school. They receive tissues, soap, pencils, markers, reams of paper, etc........ treasure chest of items from Staples. This needs to be a school wide policy so no teacher is left out. If you do not receive a lot of items........ maybe one teacher receives a lot and another receives one or two, then all items received, should be divided equally amongst the classrooms (let staff know this from the beginning).
As far as technology........ you need to attend the monthly meeting and let us know that you are in need. Our school has given away our old technology an many occasions. I emailed our current give-a-way two months ago to all tech-liasons. And of course......... as the PTA for fundraising ideas!!!!!

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