How Long Is Too Long? - Tech Learning

How Long Is Too Long?

A sensible replacement cycle can save your district money.The life span of technology equipment is about three to five years. Many districts struggle with decisions about how long to keep equipment, what to do with old equipment, and how to establish a realistic replacement cycle. Of course, the issue of cost is
Author:
Publish date:

A sensible replacement cycle can save your district money.

The life span of technology equipment is about three to five years. Many districts struggle with decisions about how long to keep equipment, what to do with old equipment, and how to establish a realistic replacement cycle. Of course, the issue of cost is always a factor; aging equipment can be expensive to maintain. Here are a few examples of how some districts are addressing these issues.

How long should districts keep equipment?

Many districts postpone the inevitable by stretching the replacement cycle to five or six years through equipment rotation. New equipment is placed in labs or secondary classrooms and then rotated down through grade levels until the technology is obsolete. Although this strategy ensures that labs are up-to-date and that older students have access to new equipment, it may have a negative impact on how technology is used with younger students. One possible solution is to place newer equipment in classrooms and use older machines as workstations in thin client labs.

What do you do with old equipment?

Making old equipment available to the public for little or no cost is one option. Under the right circumstances, it can benefit families that might not be able to afford to purchase a computer. However, it can also become a community-relations nightmare. Equipment released for sale should still be useable and maintainable. The district must be certain that all sensitive data has been completely removed from hard drives. A few districts even sweeten the pie by installing free open-source applications on the hard drives.

How do you establish a realistic replacement cycle?

Districts routinely lease copiers but shy away from leasing computers. However, leases can be structured so that the equipment is replaced on a predetermined cycle. For example, with a three-year cycle, one-third of the leased equipment is replaced each year. That practice extends the life of the lease, but it also means that the district has an established program that ensures that all equipment is replaced on a regular basis. When you consider the price of being stuck with a district full of obsolete equipment, leasing begins to make sense!

Susan Brooks-Young is an educational consultant and writer.

Featured

Related

How Fast Is Fast Enough?

from Technology & Learning The question of adequate bandwidth is increasingly the issue of the day. Just how much bandwidth does the average student in the United States have access to today, and how much will he or she need in the future? That depends…is the answer from district CTOs, state technology

Equipment Replacement Cycles

I just read about an elementary student who organized a walk-a-thon in an effort to raise money to replace aging computers at his school. When I review our inventories, I see that most of the equipment we have is more than four years old. What is a reasonable time span for a replacement cycle in

Is More Testing the Answer?

from Technology & Learning What are experienced districts saying about the keys to successful differentiated instruction? The answers may surprise you. Testing students once a year, with data reported many months later, is like using an autopsy to determine how to help a patient, says Cindy Ambrose, chief

Never Too Young

To assist early elementary school children in learning about community, teachers can visit important places in their town or city, videotape the facilities, show what people do there, and conduct short interviews with the workers. After editing the video, the teacher can show the students these places using a medium

Get It Done Online

Web 2.0 collaboration tools can help smooth out funding efforts. Your district needs to write or update a plan for categorical funding. The guidelines mandate evidence of collaborative writing. A committee is formed, but scheduling multiple face-to-face meetings to accomplish this task is proving difficult. How can

Tips from the Bottom Line(2)

from Technology & Learning A T&L columnist shares dollarwise highlights from the past year. Revisit Past Funding Practices Stymied by how to manage anticipated funding decreases and spiraling costs? Bleak funding projections can result in significant reductions or elimination of programs, regardless of their

Forward the Foundation

from Technology & Learning Local education foundations offer an alternative source for school funding. February's column ("Going Corporate") discussed ideas for approaching private foundations for funding. Some districts take this idea several steps further by partnering with the community and local businesses