New and Emerging Technology Purchase Considerations

New and Emerging Technology Purchase Considerations

James Douglas Belk (Pascagoula (MS) School District, USA)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2656-0.ch017


Periodic waves of new challenges almost always await those who are or seek to become school system technology directors. None are more apparent than when school or district personnel decide to purchase technology hardware or educational software for which no one is prepared, or at best, ill-prepared. In other words, there is sometimes an overwhelming tendency to “buy technology stuff now, then catch up later.” The chapter discusses issues that technology leaders in the school system may face when making technology purchasing decisions. The narrative account addresses some relevant considerations that this particular technology director had to confront in terms of technology acquisition. The author hopes that the narrative will enlighten future technology directors and coordinators on the mechanics and ramifications of technology purchases.
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Narrative Focus

This narrative encompasses some school and system purchasing events in which this chapter’s author is employed: the Pascagoula (MS) School District (PSD). The account is intended to demonstrate the issues and considerations that must be given by the author to short-term and long-range decision-making, and this is always a work in progress. However, the narrative also enlists purchase consideration dilemmas faced and mentioned, via several technology listservs, by the many schools and school systems in the state of Mississippi as well as the region; if not all across the nation and other countries.

The model for discussion in this section will be mobile computing. Because mobile computing is so new to schools at the time of this writing, its effects and the decisions after its rollout are still being measured. There will be references to past experiences with other technologies to illustrate the point that proper planning and executing those plans is necessary for successful implementation of new technologies. Schools or school systems, by virtue of their receipt of E-Rate funds, must have a three-year technology plan written and approved by its state board of education or another approved state entity. The plan should be reviewed and updated on an annual basis and can provide some remedy when coming to impulse or unplanned technology purchases.

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