The benefits of integrating technology in the classroom are apparent. Technology in the classroom helps students concentrate and retain information, allows teachers to focus on individualized learning, and makes teaching more flexible and inclusive.

How­ev­er, accord­ing to a Pew Research Cen­ter report, only 50% of teach­ers work­ing in low-income areas feel their school does a “good job” at pro­vid­ing them with the resources and sup­port need­ed to inte­grate tech­nol­o­gy in the class­room, com­pared with 70% of teach­ers work­ing in high-income areas. Even though tech­nol­o­gy is present near­ly every­where in every­day life, at many schools it’s still con­sid­ered an unaf­ford­able lux­u­ry.

Here are some ways educational technology providers can help schools close the affordability gap and improve access to technology for underserved students.

1. Offer prod­ucts that work with exist­ing infra­struc­ture.
Often schools are required to pur­chase not only new hard­ware, but com­plete­ly new soft­ware and a load of oth­er devices that hap­pen to be the only thing com­pat­i­ble with the new hard­ware. This prac­tice needs to stop. Every­day tech con­sumers don’t want prod­ucts that require them to scrap every­thing they already have to make them work, and nei­ther do teachers.It’s impor­tant to offer flex­i­ble, cus­tomiz­able prod­ucts that offer pre­loaded soft­ware so they can work out of the box, and can be used with near­ly any mobile device, appli­ca­tion, or IT infra­struc­ture already in use.

2. Pro­vide cus­tomiz­able prod­uct bun­dles at a vari­ety of price points.
One size fits all doesn’t always work for stu­dents, and it doesn’t work for schools, either. That’s why they should be able to mix-and-match prod­ucts that meet their par­tic­u­lar needs with­in their budget—and still get great results.While some schools might be well-matched with an inter­ac­tive pan­el, oth­ers may only have room in the bud­get for a doc­u­ment cam­era and laser pro­jec­tor bun­dle or an inter­ac­tive white­board for their class­rooms. The small­est class­rooms might only need a small inter­ac­tive pan­el for col­lab­o­ra­tive work.

3. Include sup­port in the price tag.
On top of the stick­er price of a new inter­ac­tive dis­play, schools have to con­sid­er the cost of train­ing teach­ers how to use them and get­ting tech sup­port when they don’t work. The obsta­cle of prepar­ing teach­ers to inte­grate tech­nol­o­gy in the class­room can be enough to turn schools off of edu­ca­tion­al tech­nol­o­gy alto­geth­er.

That’s why the relationship between educational technology providers and schools can’t just end after the purchase is complete.

Tech­nol­o­gy providers should be part­ners who are just as ded­i­cat­ed to the end results of inte­grat­ing tech­nol­o­gy in the class­room as stu­dents and teach­ers. They should be avail­able to pro­vide train­ing, con­sult­ing, and sup­port as need­ed.

Improv­ing access to tech­nol­o­gy in the class­room shouldn’t just be left up to schools. QOMO is ded­i­cat­ed to meet­ing them halfway to bridge the afford­abil­i­ty gap.

Want to hear more of our thoughts or have a dis­cus­sion about your edu­ca­tion­al tech­nol­o­gy needs? Get in touch with our team today to get to know us a lit­tle bet­ter.

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