Connecting Knowledge: How Schools Can Keep Up With The Latest Technological Advances

 Today’s pupils are more connected than ever before. According to research from Ofcom, 39% of 8-11 year olds have a mobile phone in their pocket and 52% have their own tablet. This rises to 83% and 55% for 12-15 year olds. An always-on existence is all that they know. It is somewhat a case of “if you can’t beat them, join them” for schools wanting to present lessons to pupils in a way that will engage and excite.

Engaging lessons

Technology can play a significant role in increasing engagement within the classroom. While students should, of course, be the primary beneficiaries of any investment in technology, the use of certain equipment can also hold several advantages for teachers as well. Not least, the opportunity to tailor teaching to each individual student and better monitor progress.

The flipside for schools is that not staying on top of classroom technology has been found to negatively impact students. Without access to laptops, tablets and other devices, pupils are unable to learn fundamental digital skills that could prove vital for the future.

Lessons to be learnt

Keeping up with the latest technological advances is a constant struggle for schools. Almost as soon as they’ve taken the plunge and invested in a certain technology, something bigger and better inevitably comes along to take its place. This can be a frustrating experience. Not only does it leave schools and colleges in a never-ending race to keep on top of the latest innovations, but it also results in inefficient spending, with large amounts of money being wasted on devices that quickly become obsolete.

Lessons are still to be learned. Investment in educational technology continues to rise, with schools now spending in excess of £900 million every single year. Combine this with the fact that the global population of students is expected to increase to 2.7 billion by the year 2025, and it’s easy to understand that money will continue to be invested unwisely on outdated technology unless the purchasing process fundamentally changes.

It should no longer be a case of plugging the gaps. Far better that schools and colleges change to an approach that allows them to take advantage of the latest technological developments on a continuous basis. Today, technology is moving at such a rapid pace that education establishments need to remain agile enough to be able to continually update their technology estate. Therefore, they won’t be left with a costly technological millstone around their neck at the end of the school year.

The fear factor remains

Schools have been burnt before. While the scale of the advantages on offer through educational technology is clear, the fact remains: investing in the technology can be expensive business. This problem is exacerbated by the fact that, as we are all too aware, educational institutions are experiencing major cuts to funding and being asked to do more with less. There is a fear factor that remains, especially with smaller schools, for whom it is simply not financially viable to continually invest in technology through significant one-off payments.

The key to unlocking the latest technology to make lessons relevant to today’s generation of students is to use a payment-over-time subscription model, with staggered payments being made over numerous years. By evenly spreading the cost of the technology, schools aren’t subjected to budget-sapping one-off capital expenditure payments, and so can regularly refresh and update their technology estate without breaking the bank. This, in turn, means more cash can be put aside for capital projects and student-focused innovation.

Tailored solutions

Payment-over-time subscription models can prove real worth to embattled schools and colleges who are struggling to compete in the digital era. They provide an ideal solution for modern, ambitious educational institutions who want both their students and teachers to take advantage of the most up-to-date technology in their classrooms, without negatively impacting their ever-tightening capital expenditure budgets. What’s more, by working with a trusted digital services provider, these subscription models can be tailored to individual business needs, ensuring you get the very most out of your investment.

By evenly spreading the cost of technology over several years rather than making one expensive capital expenditure payment, schools can start to regularly refresh and update their digital assets without breaking the bank. This, in turn, means more cash can be pumped into capital projects and student-focused innovation.

Because these are subscription-based models, schools can be much quicker in reacting to the latest technological developments and stay ahead of the competition. Instead of waiting until they can afford a new device or platform, it’s easy to simply add the desired technology onto the existing contract and reap the rewards instantly.

Becoming technological trailblazers

The future for schools is digital. Tablets, smartphones, interactive white boards and video-projectors can all enhance the learning environment of the 21st century. Introducing such a digital learning experience from an early age both stimulates students’ enthusiasm and reduces drop-out rates. However, the sheer cost of change has been a barrier for many schools wishing to take advantage of the latest technology advancements.

Having a subscription in place allows schools to update, tweak and refresh their technology more regularly. This agility makes it easier to react to the latest technological developments and keep learning fresh and exciting. Payment-over-time subscription models are an ideal solution to one of the biggest problems facing schools today. In a world where flexibility is the key to success in many industries, these models can enable educational institutions of all sizes to achieve their business goals and become technological trailblazers.


Chris Labrey has been with Econocom for 19 years, having joined the company as a Manchester-based junior account manager back in 1998. He has been Managing Director of the UK & Irish business since 2012.


Before Econocom, Chris spent some years working in the IBM reseller channel and before that he was managing the new business strategy for a Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) software vendor. During his career, Chris has seen digital technology jump from the computer room into all aspects of business and personal life. 

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