What are the hidden costs of technology?

Friday, December 10th, 2010 | technology

When you decide to bring technology into your classroom some of the potential costs are concealed – nobody told you about them and you couldn’t have imagined them in your wildest dreams.  These nasty surprises are called hidden costs and when they pop up unexpectedly they hurt your budget.

Forewarned is forearmed.  Try to uncover the hidden costs right from the start so that you can plan to meet them.  Talk to other teachers who have already brought the technology you’re contemplating into their classrooms and enquire about costs that may not be apparent to you.

Be aware of the following potential hidden costs:

Perhaps you are told: “This technology is very simple to use.”  It may be true that it is easy to perform various functions – learning where to press the buttons may be painless.  But you also need to learn how to integrate the use of the technology with your normal lesson activities and how to persuade your students to interact with your lesson.  Is such advanced training included in the purchase price of the device or devices?  If it’s not, and you’re not aware of the extent of the training you may need, training courses become a hidden cost.

Time is money.  One of the greatest hidden costs of technology is the amount of time you are bound to spend on learning how to use the tools properly.  You must decide up front that you’ll leave enough time in your schedule to learn how to use the technology and then to practise your skills.

You may buy your technology tools with a bundle of software and a promise that it will serve all your classroom needs.  However, when you start unpacking the bundle it will be disastrous if you discover that the programs are limited – they may not meet the particular needs of your class.  The purchase of additional appropriate software is an unanticipated expense.  You can avoid this hidden cost by being clear in your own mind how you will use the technology you are bringing into your classroom and what software you require to meet your needs.

Look out for the hidden costs! Costs are only hidden if you’re ignorant about their existence.  Do your homework before you bring technology into your classroom.

For more technology tips for teachers click here.

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