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20 | ROUNDTABLE: TECHNOLOGY BUDGETS | PRIMARY AND SECONDARY Read a related story: click here Making money count in a digital age


As many educational institutions struggle to invest in the right technology while staying within budget, Rebecca Paddick asks some of the sector’s experts how you can best manage your spending in these austere times


GEMMA PLATT product marketing manager at Casio


Due to budget restraints, schools, colleges and universities have to be increasingly selective in their technology spending. So how can they best manage their budget?


JAMES RUTHERFORD learning environment manager at the London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London


GEMMA PLATT: With ICT budgets continuing to be tightened, education professionals are under increasing pressure to get more value for money from their IT spend. Unfortunately, and due to the nature of ‘quarterly budget review cycles’ teachers often focus – when allocating tech spend – on the upfront costs of equipment. When managing ICT budgets, teachers should in fact


be thinking about the ‘total cost of ownership’ (TCO), considering what the lifetime cost of items are. How does it compare to the initial cost and how will a low TCO help schools pull back budget in the long term?


JAMES RUTHERFORD: The London College of Fashion is one of six colleges within the University of the Arts London, which has a centrally managed IT service alongside local IT management. Over the last few years there has been strategic change in funding allocation for new devices. Each college has had a top slice applied to their budget which the University retained in order to build up a fund for what is known as the ‘Desktop Refresh’ programme. The University audited the entire estate, capturing


"IT HAS BECOME EVEN MORE SIGNIFICANT TO BE 'CREATIVE' IN TECHNOLOGY SPENDING."


data on all devices. Then adopting a phased schedule, any machine older than five years would be automatically replaced. The college identified a set of specifications based on local knowledge and the needs of the user and specific facilities. The budget is allocated on a priority basis with teaching rooms preceding IT open access and research spaces ahead of staff devices.


SHAUN MARKLEW: When looking at new technology the school must consider a number of factors including energy management and, ultimately, cost of ownership. The Clevertouch interactive screen is energy efficient, but also, compared to traditional interactive whiteboard and projectors, has a much lower cost of ownership. The ability of new and exciting technology to atract new students shouldn’t be overlooked.


PAUL CROFT: Since the recession, budgets have been tight for all education institutions. It has become even more significant to be ‘creative’ in technology spending. This can be best achieved by choosing products that represent great value and not being lured into false economies of cheaper, less reliable products. Looking for open source technology solutions is a cost- effective strategy, for example, using Ultimaker’s free open source software allows everybody to be involved


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