EdTech Case Study: Creating a 21st Century Classroom

Using Technology Refresh to enable a 21st century classroom: Case Study Overview

In this study we will discuss a case in which a school district found itself in a technology rut. In order to break the mold this school district partners with IFS to enable a modern approach for providing classroom technology. In this case a 3-year technology refresh cycle creates predictable and sustainable budget for keeping all classroom equipment up to date.

The historical school district approach to providing classroom technology is to purchase equipment and use it until obsolescence and beyond end of life. While many districts still operate this way, one forward thinking executive director of technology recognized that in order to create a 21st century classroom district-wide, the original approach would no longer suffice and that the district must begin to do things differently. He understood that flexible leasing solutions make it possible to refresh and swap out technology equipment every three years, protecting against the risk of equipment failures and obsolescence.

“Seasoned technology directors are often aware of the strategic benefits that come with the right financing solution,” said Colleen O’Donnell, Vice President and Regional Director, IFS. “The challenge comes when other district decision makers are not aligned or up to speed. In this case, the executive technology director did an excellent job of educating the business team, superintendent and board on how leasing technology equipment is vital to achieving the 21st century classroom. We worked very closely with the entire team to customize a leasing solution that enabled the district to obtain all the technology it needed now, rather than over time.”

The Situation: A Traditional Technology Approach

The school district’s technology, including teacher devices, student computers, and display equipment, was old and obsolete. Traditionally the district viewed IT equipment as a capital expense that would be used for as long as it would continue to operate. The executive technology director knew that leasing rather than buying technology would provide the flexibility and opportunity to obtain all new equipment in a timely manner, while creating a sustainable and predictable budget for all classroom technology.

“In our school district, our refresh plan was purchase until it dies. Buy and die,” explained the district’s executive technology director. “Now, we’ll be leasing all of our equipment, and our administrators, teachers and students understand that technology has changed so much in the last 10 years that in order to stay current with technology we have to have a better plan.”

The challenge was to help the superintendent and business office understand the new approach that would give them the ability to get new technology in the hands of all students while remaining flexible for the future. The executive technology director needed a partner to support the new approach and enable the district to refresh all classroom equipment as soon as possible.

The Solution: A 21st Century Classroom Approach

Insight Financial Services (IFS) engaged with the district’s executive technology director to support the internal efforts around making the shift to a leasing strategy that would result in a complete, near-term technology refresh with future refreshes planned ahead on regular intervals. IFS worked closely with the team to understand the details of its technology needs and budget parameters.

Upon full district support for the new financing strategy, IFS provided custom leasing contracts for the refresh. To acquire all new teacher MacBooks, student Chromebooks, as well as Apple TV and flat screen TVs, IFS created terms that aligned with the useful life of the equipment and staggered leasing contracts
so the technology refresh would occur conveniently over the summer when school was not in session.

IFS also utilized its asset management tool, AMOS, to keep track of all equipment and lifecycles. This system, which includes all equipment serial numbers, allows the technology team immediate access to updated and specific information on which equipment needs to be replaced.

The Results: Successful 21st Century Classroom Integration

Having successfully made the shift to the new technology leasing strategy and with the contracts in place, IFS helped the executive technology director to achieve the 21st century classroom across all 15 schools district-wide.

Additionally, to keep the district current going forward, the financing model created a level, sustainable budget, allowing it to continually refresh IT equipment on a regular basis. Ultimately, IFS made it possible for the district to acquire the right technology at the right time.

“Our dedicated team of professionals has extensive experience working with school districts that are navigating the challenges of acquiring today’s technology with limited budgets. We appreciate the value of being a long-term partner for these districts, and the find great reward in the opportunity to provide the teachers and IT teams with access to the educational tools that enhance learning,” concluded O’Donnell.

Insight Financial Services (IFS), a division of Insight Investments, LLC, delivers financially transparent technology leasing solutions for businesses acquiring hardware, software and associated services. Its Asset Management Online System (AMOS) provides anywhere, anytime asset management. An ISO 9001:2008 certified organization, IFS serves more than 400 active customers with a managed portfolio in excess of $750 million. For more information, visit www.ifsleasing.com.

Sarah Masters
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