Heavily investing in technology should be the next step forward for every school. Although the term ‘investing’ might sound like a financial drawback, technology actually helps schools save more money than anything else. The following 5 methods will not only reduce a school's operating costs, but will also improve the quality of education and the productivity of its staff and its students.
One of the biggest financial drawbacks for schools is the use of paper. In traditional schools, almost every education and staff-related aspect is provided on paper. However, eliminating paper and printing will reduce the school's costs. Studies show that an average school spends roughly £40,000 per year on paper, without accounting for the printing costs. The fact that paper can only be used once before it is either thrown away or recycled translates into big financial losses. Removing paper and moving to digital solutions could save the school thousands of dollars every month. Moreover, it will save storage space and make document look-ups faster and more efficient. The money saved on printing, paper, and other related supplies can be invested in hardware solutions for students and school staff alike.
Many schools have already embraced new technology solutions. Students and teachers alike are becoming more tech savvy with each passing day. Offering continuity between school hours and free time can not only decrease expenditures, but also increase the level of interaction between students and teachers. A complete tech infrastructure should be able to provide a school-wide interaction between all devices. Implementing such an infrastructure allows students and teachers to be continuously connected and have access to the latest information at all times.
Budget cuts are problematic for almost any school in the world. In the past years, education budget cuts have reduced school financing by more than 10%, with cuts reaching up to 30% in some cases. However, technology has been keeping its pace. Google now offers Chromebooks for schools. These are notebook computers that can be bought for as little as £200. Comparing this price to traditional desktop PCs, Chromebooks have become an increasingly popular product for schools. Furthermore, schools that are experiencing higher budget cuts but also want to replace their old computers can opt for refurbished units. These can be as much as 60% cheaper than brand new units.
Technology is also responsible for increasing the efficiency of school processes and systems. Implementing various tech solutions can reduce the operating costs of the schools, while also reducing the amount of money spent on efficiency analysts and specialists. Schools can use different services to efficiently streamline processes that would otherwise take a lot of time and money, such as payrolls, maintenance, student healthcare, and so on.
For decades, proprietary software was not the cheapest solution for schools. With the increasing interest in technology and the emerging popularity of education apps, software giants have turned towards a newer, more practical solution: subscription based licensing. Schools now have the option to subscribe to different software solutions, instead of buying expensive licenses. This process saves thousands of dollars. Moreover, open source software is now available on a larger scale, reducing software costs even further.
Some school reports show that the use of specialized applications for various logistical issues has reduced the overall spending. Digitally managing aspects such as classroom schedules, use of dorms, food services, and other utilities also reduces monthly expenditures. Furthermore, certain applications can also be used outside of the school building, such as providing GPS-location and arrival times for school buses. Schools have reported a decrease in expenses of up to 30% after switching to a digital platform.
Communication plays an important role in schools. Whether it's internal or external communication, traditional schools use phones to communicate. Regarding this aspect, technology advancement now provides schools with the possibility of unified communications. This includes both voice and text-based communication solutions readily available over the Internet. Voice-over-IP (VoIP) calls, video-conferences, e-mails, instant messaging, etc., are just a few examples.
While it is not a single product, unified communications combines multiple applications under one roof, providing a more user-friendly interface and experience for everyone. Reducing the number of telephone lines to a bare minimum can reduce the overall service costs by more than 65% per year.
The introduction of unified communications does not only decrease the operating costs of schools, but it also improves the overall productivity and communication of its staff members. The video-conferences that are made possible by technology can drastically reduce the costs of meetings and travelling as well.
Virtualization is the process of accessing all of the available data from a remote location. Software licenses and hardware maintenance can all be managed from the same computer. Because literally any PC or laptop has access to a web browser, moving all of the school's data to a cloud solution also allows schools to spend less money on buying new PCs. Furthermore, instead of spending thousands of dollars on expensive maintenance teams, cloud infrastructures offer managing solutions that can be handled by fewer staff members. Virtualization accounts for a maintenance cost reduction of approximately 75%.