Hardware for learning includes:
Hardware is an essential part of supporting learning with digital technologies. It often requires a significant budget.
Select hardware that supports your intended learning vision; consider its lifespan and functionality.
Answer these three key questions when choosing and purchasing hardware for learning,
With so many possibilities, it can be difficult to decide what hardware you need. It is easy to be sold the latest gadget. Promises of spectacular learning outcomes or functionalities you didn’t realise were possible are alluring. How can you avoid finding the hardware left unused or falling short of the sales pitch?
Use a team approach. Each individual's knowledge and skills combine to build a strengths-based approach to decision making and alleviate risk.
Start by considering your "end users" (teachers and students) and their needs.
The purchase cost of hardware is only part of the overall cost. Integrating digital technologies takes a lot of time. Time costs include:
The various costs in people’s time are usually greater than the initial purchase cost.
Your school's relationship with a service provider and their ability to respond to technical issues is critical to support the use of technology in teaching and learning. Ensure that your service provider can support the technologies you are procuring. Any good service provider should be able to support a range of digital technologies but don’t assume that a particular provider will be able to offer the support you need; it is always best to check.
Determine the overall costs during the lifetime of the hardware. Technology that costs more up-front may:
Once you are clear about your hardware needs, consider how to procure it.
Try to get at least three quotes when procuring hardware for learning. Your Board of Trustees may insist on this. This will ensure you pay a fair price as well as surfacing alternative solutions.
When getting the quotes:
Schools can save time, effort, and money by making use of all-of-government procurement processes for hardware. The government uses the power of collective purchasing to secure good deals.
All New Zealand Schools are eligible to join the All of Government (AoG) purchasing scheme. Schools are encouraged to consider the AoG scheme because suppliers are contractually obliged to ensure that their products are not available at a cheaper price through any other channel.
A technology vendor (manufacturer) may be able to sell directly to the school, often via an online store, at a reduced price for the school. Typically, vendors prefer to channel things via a network of resellers who are trained in using the product or have partnership qualifications to resell the vendor’s product.
A good reseller should understand your environment and needs then provide useful advice about your procurement options. This will help ensure you are purchasing the technology that best meets your requirements. The reseller may also provide the services needed to get the technology properly set up.
There is an attractive up-front cost-saving to purchasing second hand. Consider costs if you need to:
With donationed hardware, consider:
Leveraging the purchasing-power across a number of schools may enable you to negotiate a lower price.
The Department of Internal Affairs keeps an index of NZ Societies that make grants.
Overseas online websites can provide cheaper alternatives to procuring from a local reseller.
Commerce Commission tips for buying online
Leasing ICT hardware involves renting it or paying it off over a period of time. The total cost of leasing is typically higher than purchasing outright. At the end of the lease period you either keep the goods, send the goods back, or pay extra money to keep them, depending on the type of lease arranged.
Leasing ICT hardware does not typically automatically provide protection against theft, malfunction, or damage. You need to consider insurance and warranties.
Some items have life cycles that are not well suited to the three years often associated with leasing. For instance, data projectors, screens, wireless access points are all items that give five or more years of use.
The Lease vs. Buy decision is not always straightforward; it requires analysis to determine the best outcome for your school. Contact your local School Finance Advisor if you require any advice or support to complete your analysis.
|Potential advantages of leasing||Potential disadvantages of leasing|
|Obtaining Quality Assets in a Cash flow Friendly way that may have been unaffordable otherwise, as the cost of a lease is spread over several year and therefore a significant cash outlay is not required.||Regular lease expense: lease payments are treated as expenses rather than as equity payments towards an asset. Short term lower lease costs, as opposed to a buy now decision, are likely to result in a higher overall cost in the long run|
|Guaranteed service: many leases have built in levels of service so if something goes wrong you can have it repaired and operational again quickly.||Increasing of debt within the school: leases are considered to be debt and you may risk exceeding the 10% borrowing threshold.|
|No risk of obsolescence: where there is a high risk of technology becoming obsolete, leasing can save a school from the risk of investing in a technology that might soon become out-dated.||No ownership at the end of the leasing period: you do not end up becoming the owner of the asset, even though you have paid more than the value of the asset in many cases.|
|Flexibility: leases are especially useful when you want to purchase a piece of equipment that you’re not 100 percent certain you will need long term.||Asset maintenance: like all assets you are still required to meet the maintenance requirements to keep the asset in good working order|
Source: Lease vs. Buy Tool[XLSM, 99 KB]
Procurement should be thought of as an on-going, long-term process, rather than a series of one-off events.
Planning ahead is a critical part of the procurement process.
Review your plan annually and include:
Be clear about the intended vision and desired approaches to learning.
Ensure you are able to justify your procurement in terms of how it will support and improve learning for your students.
How will the hardware be:
Identify the support needed for teachers and students to use the hardware for learning and how to provide that support. Include:
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DP, Billy Merchant describes how the senior leadership team operates using distributed leadership model at Pakuranga College. Decisions are always based on improving student learning.
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Ministry of Education school finance information including how to prepare your school’s financial statements and general financial management information.
The All-of-Government IT hardware contract covers a wide range of products including desktops, laptops, tablets, thin clients, monitors, peripherals, other IT hardware (for example, Chromebooks), mobile phones and associated services.
The-Learning Planning Framework (eLPF) and supporting information and resources helps you identify and plan for developing digital fluency.
Use this online guide to plan strategically for the effective use of digital technologies.