O.k. -- so I've been obsessed with this lately, but it's something I really do worry about. How do we fund School 2.0 (Sorry, Steve, I'm a principal, I've got to look at it from the school level...) when we're barely funding School 1.0 in our cities?

Views: 24

Comment by nlowell on March 26, 2007 at 5:35pm
It's not going to be an issue if NCLB runs to its logical conclusion. The states will be running the schools, and students will all be staying home.
Comment by Barbara on March 26, 2007 at 8:49pm
Chris, I am an administrator also though I work in the private sector. Financial stability is always an issue on my plate. I work in a Pre-k to 8 parochial school where 63% of the students are on free or reduce priced lunch.
I believe that School 2.0 / classroom 2.0 are moral imperatives and that budgeting is about student learning. I understand I have more autonomy than many but we all need to build a case for our budgets that is driven by student learning and student needs. Resources will always be limited so where do we "borrow" the funds?
Recently on my blog I have been in a conversation about textbooks. In many cases the cost is disproportionate to their value. In the end the question I think is how do we force a fresh look at what is funded and at what level.
Comment by Chris Lehmann on March 26, 2007 at 8:53pm
I agree... we've already abandoned the textbook, and that's one way we try to finance the laptops. But the School District of Philadelphia faced down $73 million in cuts this past year, and faces a *minimum* of $100 million in cuts next year. I sat in a room today with one principal who is losing four teachers. Another teacher is cutting an AP and all but one non-teaching assistant. None of us have more than $12,000 in books and supplies for next year (not counting my laptops, which are hopefully grant funded for another year...)

How do I, in this environment, justify a $200,000 expense for laptops for all my students? I'm not sure except to say that even in times of financial crisis, this district needs model schools, and we are that model.
Comment by Carolyn Foote on March 26, 2007 at 9:03pm
Well, one positive thing about web 2.0 is that so many tools are free. Unlike in the past when we had to pay for, and wait for software to be installed, now we can allow students to use tools that can be immediately implemented. Whether there is one computer in the classroom with a projector, or a lab, or a computer in every students hands, that is a huge cost savings.

On the other hand, the long term sustainable cost for all these items is so difficult for schools. We are also facing the issue of "supplies" for these tools, like the cost of toner, the cost of projector bulbs....not to mention replacement costs for computers, or the actual computer purchase.

We need a national model for how to do these purchases, especially if we truly want access across the board and across socio-economic lines.
Comment by nlowell on March 27, 2007 at 7:39am
That's a good point about sustainability, Carolyn.

The other side of that is that projectors last a lot longer if you don't use them to lecture with all the time. If everybody has a computer and a connection, you don't need to project anything. :)

I'm not sure of the relative expense of toner over ink because -- frankly -- I don't print anything.

With new desktop units in the sub-$400 range (including the monitors), the purchase prices have come done a lot, but the problem is-- and I hate to say it again -- the people with the credentials don't have the knowledge to make this work and the people with the knowledge don't have the credentials.
Comment by Susan Brooks-Young on March 27, 2007 at 10:41am
Our current funding models are as antiquated as our approach to curriculum and instruction. I think that before we worry about how to pay for something, we need to get a better handle on what's really best for our students and teachers. Until we change our thinking about how schools need to be structured and function, we'll restrict our thinking about money to past practice. I'm saying this as a former principal.
Comment by Chris Lehmann on March 27, 2007 at 11:03am
Susan -- I agree with you. But for our early adopters... for a school like mine... that has changed many of the ways we look at schooling, we're in a tough, tough place. We have 21st Century practice and 20th Century funding.

Fun, fun, fun 'til daddy takes the laptop away...
Comment by Bill on March 28, 2007 at 2:53pm
RE: "one positive thing about web 2.0 is that so many tools are free."

Not really -- see all the ads down the sidebar? That's the cost of this site.

Open source software that is freely available? Created by people who believe in a model, but who have real needs that at times require money.

Funding priorities are just that: priorities. Teacher training needs to become a funding priority. Student/teacher ratios need to become a funding priority. Equal access to current tools (between urban, suburban, and rural communities, and across socioeconomic lines) needs to become a funding priority.
Comment by Mr. Parisi on June 29, 2007 at 10:01pm
I know when I really, really want something I find a way. Here are a few ideas: Start writing technology grants, write letters to large corporations in the area asking for their support, run PTA fund raising events and perhaps lease the equipment over several years which will reduce your upfront costs. I'm not an administrator but how about cutting 5% from every department for a technology fund. It's much easier to just write a check but it sounds like you're going to need creative ideas to get the funding needed to create the classroom 2.0 environment you are envisioning. I guess before any of these ideas are implemented you would want to take an inventory of what you have and then go from there. Laptops are nice but there are issues with battery life, breakage, having wireless points in your building, etc. It makes much more sense to have dedicated labs with powerful desktops. This would be my first priority if you don't have this now. You may also need to update what you have. XP has many cool apps for free too; such as a video editing program ) as well as a sound recorder. On the Internet there are many apps that are free so your district could start producing pod casts and Skype for not a lot of money. Smartboards would be my second investment after a solid lab. However, it's my belief that to get this all to work requires computer teachers so they can train teachers as they work together to teach technology to your children and a new outlet so they can express themselves in new and interesting ways.
Comment by Chuck Serventi on January 28, 2008 at 7:07am
I think the bigger question is "How do you NOT fund web 2.0"
We as educators need to show our students that the ability to contribute to the web is important. The opportunity to just get a degree from High School is no longer a true rite of passage as it was even 10 years ago. Y2K outsourced many of our jobs to China and India (Read "The World is Flat" by Thomas Freedman) and you will see that we need to empower our youth to have a say in this world. Darren Draper is a great resource and a classroom 2.0 member. His Blog called "Pay Attention" really impacted me.
Chuck

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