In recent years, technology has been changing at a rapid pace. As this happens, older technologies are being phased out and new ones are coming in to replace them.
Unfortunately for schools, they often don’t have the money to update their entire system every time there is a change in technology. It can be difficult for schools to keep up with all of these changes without spending an exorbitant amount of money on updates that will eventually be outdated again in just a few short years.
However, it doesn’t need to be this way and schools can stay current and still save money by following some simple steps when replacing old tech items like computers or printers.
What to Consider Before Retiring Outdated Tech
Determine the Problems Technology Is Solving for Teachers and Students
The first step schools should take before retiring an old device is to determine how it’s being used. What problems are being solved by keeping the older technology? When determining if something needs replacing, look at how much longer the current system will last if properly maintained.
For example, a school might consider getting rid of its computers that are over seven years old because they won’t be able to run new programs or perform basic maintenance tasks needed for everyday use without crashing. If each computer costs $2,000 (or USD) and they only need to replace them every five years, spending $5 per student on outdated systems doesn’t make sense compared with spending about $30 per year on newer systems.
Upgrade When Necessary, Not Just Because It’s New
When schools are deciding what type of device to purchase or replace, they shouldn’t just buy the latest one on the market. These types of purchases don’t always make sense because there isn’t much difference between older models and newer ones that have only been out for less than 12 months.
Some people suggest phasing out technology every five years so that it will match the development cycle of students who are getting new technologies at home. However, this can be expensive without providing better service to students and teachers compared with replacing devices when needed instead of being replaced by default five years later.
Look for Efficiency and Convenience
When choosing what to replace old technology with, schools should look for efficiency and convenience when shopping around. If a device isn’t going to make things easier or save time while still providing adequate functionality, it probably doesn’t deserve a spot on the education budget.
For example, some school districts run their entire district off of mobile devices like laptops and tablets that can be used anywhere instead of just stationary computers that require Wi-Fi connections at all times. This makes technology more accessible without sacrificing too much portability or power.
Another option is purchasing new hardware such as smart boards that can take notes for teachers who need extra help during their lessons. This cuts down on the amount of physical paper being used and can save a school quite a bit of money in the long term.
Remember to Replace, Not Just Upgrade!
Schools should also consider how much a replacement device will cost over time by looking at their maintenance contracts. If schools purchase costly new devices that spread out costs over several years, it may end up costing more than updating technology every few years to keep up with consumer demands for better products all the time.
Some schools choose to upgrade hardware instead of replacing it because they only need to update certain parts or features while still using an older model overall. Buying cheap laptops and tablets for students for one year instead of expensive laptops for the entire school every few years is a much cheaper option, even though it doesn’t feel as advanced at first glance.
Our Suggestions for Replacing Old Tech
When replacing an older computer, the first thing to do is make sure it has enough processing power to support the programs you need to run. For most schools this will mean finding a computer with at least 4 GB of RAM and a multicore processor.
The next aspect of upgrading your old technology that you’ll want to think about is whether or not you can use cloud storage instead of on-site network resources for things like word processing documents and spreadsheets. This way, you are only using up space on your computers once, rather than leaving multiple copies behind.
TIP: You can attach external hard drives or flash drives to any computer in order to save information there temporarily in case you can’t access the cloud in an emergency.
When it comes to printers, most schools are surprised by how much they can save when they set up their students for success by buying a printer that does two-sided printing or one that has double-sided scanning/copying functions.
However, the real money saver here is that many of these types of printers can also print wirelessly, meaning you don’t need separate wireless printers anymore. This will dramatically reduce costs over time.
Of course, this isn’t feasible for every school or student but if your school is wired with Ethernet cable and your students have laptops with built-in WiFi cards there are options available
Along with the older computer and printer technology, many schools still use floppy disks to save information. These small, outdated pieces of plastic can easily get lost or damaged and they don’t hold enough data to be effective anymore either.
By upgrading your old tech items like scanners and printers with newer technologies like USB drives you can help protect your school’s most valuable information and ensure that students always have the latest updates when working on projects.