The 2011 Technology Grant is now closed to submissions. The grant budget for the year is around $45,000 dollars. Around a quarter of that goes to lab and teacher desktop refurbishment cycle as agreed to in the 2010-2011 school year. Most of those dollars go to purchasing equipment from Computers for Schools British Columbia, or other commercial refurbishers. We usually purchase refurbished computers as it enables us to cycle our desktop computers every four years compared to around 22 years!
$22,500 is available for the general grant. Administrators submit their requests through a shared google doc. Each school is asked to report on what they have in three items and what they would like as well. The process is meant to make the school administrators aware of what other schools have in comparison to their own. This year there are $83960.80 in requests. Schools have offered $10750 in their own funds to help with purchases.
This year the items were Digital Projectors, Smart Document Cameras, and mounted Smartboards (64″). Some of our schools via their own funds, external grants, and PACs have quite a few of these. Looking at the sheet, there is a significant gap apparent where other schools have not been able to access external sources or have needed to use their internal funds on other items. Our small schools cannot always afford to purchase any one of the three grant items without external funds.
There is also holdback for wiring and unexpected costs (extra electrical, cables etc). If there is money left over at the end of the year it generally goes to purchase something that was requested for a school in the grant.
With this in mind I will be looking at gaps between schools. I will also be speaking with administrators to ask who the technology is targeted at. Staff that have some previous training on Smartboards or who are continuing with training via online, pro-d, or our Technology mentor teacher will be given preference for a Smartboard installation.
While equity is not possible via the tech grant I would like to make sure whatever is put out to schools and classrooms is best used. As usual your thoughts and comments are appreciated and help guide practice.