Weighing Your Spending Options

In "Does Technology Pay?," the example Michael Simkins gives of a school making the decision to replace its blackboards with whiteboards and finding itself worse off made me chuckle. Not that blowing your precious technology dollars on a bad investment is funny, but we've all been there.

Yes, over the years it's been hard to resist being awed by new technologies, whether or not they're appropriate for our needs. Simkins takes a look at smart technology investing in this month's cover feature. From classroom examples of smart and not-so-smart computer usage to the realities of weighing technology purchases against transportation costs and new band instruments, he deconstructs the decision-making process and shares calculations and tools you're sure to find helpful.

In the same ROI vein, but with a slightly different focus, Assistant Editor Susie Meserve highlights five key areas for districts to consider when planning for technology upgrades (see "Technology Refresh").

Technology & Learning also reports on two new products this month: Jamie Keller took LeapFrog's Fly pentop computer for a test drive, while Richard Hoffman updates you on a long-time favorite in his FileMaker 8 review. Other topics in this issue of T&L include the burgeoning fields of digital video and interactive videoconferencing, both in our quarterly Digital Video in the Classroom article and in Web Tour.

T&L editors also report on new products, trends, and technologies seen at MacWorld in January, here in San Francisco. See News and Trends for that update.

Lastly, a great way to kick off the new year is to round up your key tech personnel and join us for a rich day of presentations and networking at San Diego Tech Forum on February 23. For details, visit www.techlearning.com/events/techforum/sd06/. We hope to see you there.