Technology is intrinsic to schooling: from streamlining processes to increasing student engagement, there are countless benefits to leveraging ed-tech in your classroom.
With this being said, investing in new education technology can be tricky. Getting senior leaders on board with your plans can be challenging enough, and that’s without considering budgetary constraints.
To help you maximise your school’s budget and student progress, we explore how to upgrade your classroom on a budget. Here, you’ll find tips on how to save money when buying new tech tools, and we explore why the Promethean ActivPanel LX offers excellent value for money.
But first, let’s see what each classroom should be kitted out with.
What technology should a classroom have?
A well-equipped classroom will integrate various technologies to cater to different learning styles and keep students engaged. Here are the essential technologies that all classrooms should include:
The interactive whiteboard has revolutionised teaching, transforming traditional teaching methods and helping teachers create dynamic presentations, utilise interactive exercises and build virtual classrooms to enable students to access education from anywhere.
This technology now plays an integral role in the classroom, encouraging active participation and helping to create an immersive, inclusive learning environment.
Educational software and tools
Educational software and applications help to make lessons more effective and engage students. From educational games that make learning feel more fun to enabling you to monitor and track student progress easily, installing the right software on your devices is critical.
Explore and download Promethean resources on our website to find software and tools for your interactive whiteboard or associated devices.
Laptops and tablets
Equipping classrooms with laptops or tablets allows students to access educational resources, collaborate on projects, and develop transferable skills, preparing them for work and later life. These devices facilitate individualised learning and encourage students to explore and research topics outside of lessons.
Furthermore, laptops and tablets are crucial for making lessons more inclusive and ensuring younger students and children with SEND can access the curriculum.
Audio-visual equipment, including projectors and speakers, supplements the learning experience by allowing teachers to incorporate multimedia aids into lessons. Visual aids, videos, and presentations can help explain complex concepts, making classes more accessible to students with varying learning preferences.
A high-speed internet connection
A reliable high-speed internet connection is crucial for all educational institutions to ensure all technology tools work seamlessly. Robust services help to connect students and teachers alike with the vast, diverse information on the internet, which enriches the curriculum and enables students to undertake further research.
As well as this technology, it’s essential that your school has stringent security systems and data protection measures in place. Your school’s security and data protection approach should be outlined in full in policies and risk assessments.
The benefits of using technology in the classroom
The benefits of using technology in the classroom are plentiful. Using multimedia tools to create presentations will increase student engagement and help you appeal to auditory and visual learners.
Meanwhile, ‘gamifying’ tasks and making them competitive will motivate students to engage with learning materials actively. You can even use the data to assess students and identify areas needing more focus in future lessons.
Using technology makes the learning experience more well-rouned, engaging and satisfying for students.
Additionally, as technology becomes more deeply ingrained in our everyday lives, you must embrace technology to ensure future students can access an education that excites them and adequately prepares them for life outside of school.
Read the Benefits of Technology in Education for a comprehensive guide to the advantages of ed-tech.
Seven tips on how to upgrade classroom tech on a budget
1. Assess your current setup and prioritise essentials
The first thing you need to do is take stock of your current technology tools and identify outdated equipment, prioritising the devices that need upgrading. This approach ensures efficiency and cost-effectiveness, maximising the money you have to spend.
When investing, choose versatile technologies that can help you cater to multiple learning styles. Interactive whiteboards, for instance, merge traditional teaching methods with interactive digital elements, offering a multifaceted learning experience.
2. Explore free alternatives
Unlock a world of possibilities without the hefty price tag by exploring open-source software. From educational platforms to productivity tools, the open-source community provides many options. Platforms like Moodle and LibreOffice can seamlessly integrate into your classroom, enhancing collaboration and productivity.
Refreshing lessons with new programs and software encourages students to engage with course content. But, paying for computer software can be expensive, so to reduce costs, seek free alternatives. Free versions of educational platforms and productivity tools are available to help you save time and enrich the curriculum.
3. Consider refurbished devices
Maximise your budget by considering refurbished devices. Reputable sellers offer certified refurbished laptops, tablets, and interactive displays at a fraction of the cost of new equipment. This sustainable option saves you money and contributes to reducing electronic waste.
4. Implement a bring your own device (BYOD) policy
Harness the power of students’ personal devices by implementing a bring your own device policy. This encourages students to use their laptops or tablets, fostering a collaborative learning environment while alleviating the burden on your budget.
For many teachers, students using devices during lessons is a big problem. Still, by incorporating personal devices into lesson plans (such as through researching tasks or interactive games), you can turn this negative into a positive.
If you take this approach, ensure a secure network connection is available and establish clear guidelines to maintain a structured approach.
5. Invest in CPD
Equipping yourself (or your teaching staff, if you’re a headteacher or senior leader) with the skills and knowledge to maximise existing technology’s potential helps reduce the need for new technology. Plus, ensuring you’re up to speed on all the features means you can get the most out of classroom technologies, as certain functions may otherwise go unused.
Having a strong working knowledge of educational technology will also make it far easier to integrate solutions into lessons seamlessly, thus enhancing learning experiences for students and reducing pressure for teachers.
6. Work with the IT department
Work with your school’s IT department to streamline the upgrade process and help them identify devices that may need to be replaced. Their expertise can guide you in selecting the most suitable technologies and troubleshooting potential issues. Collaborating with IT specialists ensures a smooth transition, minimising disruptions to learning.
7. Seek grants and funding
Explore grant opportunities to supplement your budget. Many organisations run initiatives to provide funding for ed-tech upgrades. Research available grants and tailor your proposals to align with the specific objectives of these funding opportunities to maximise your school’s chances of being accepted.
Cost-effective ed-tech solutions from Promethean
As we have outlined in this guide, the interactive whiteboard is one of the most versatile tools in a teacher’s arsenal. As a teacher, it’s essential equipment to help motivate and engage students and streamline processes and feedback.
Our ActivPanel LX is super-easy to use and, most importantly, affordable. So you can upgrade your classroom technology without making too much of a dent in your school’s budget.