How do we manage resources effectively in these times of diminishing funding?
Summary of Session
I greatly enjoyed being part of #ukdchat tonight – there were so many creative ideas from people who are working within the constraints of diminishing budgets. There were some useful links and suggestions for resources, which can be found at the end of this post. There were some useful suggestions for saving and making money – freecycling, e-bay for unused printer cartridges, growing and selling vegetables.
Printing was an obvious concern for costs – with photocopiers often proving a cheaper alternative when used as part of network for printing. Shopping around and ensuring best value – taking into consideration the TOTAL cost – was hugely important, though there were mixed experiences about outsourcing for e.g. printing – a reminder about the debacle about outsourcing maths tutoring to India at a very high cost, as recently reported, suggested we need to think carefully about this approach.
There were two opposing schools of thought about ways of saving money – tech-free days or photocopied worksheet-free days, which seem to me to contradict each other!!! There’s some people who are experiencing paper allowances of a ream per term. Some schools have stopped buying teachers laptops; other teachers prefer to use their own higher-spec equipment (though some are advised that certain data/evidence is best kept on school equipment eg photos/film).
There are pros and cons about using pupils’ own tech equipment though this seems an increasingly attractive prospect in these times of reduced budgets. CPD is expensive but just improving communications between colleagues about what does/doesn’t work can improve our own understanding (and, of course, twitter, #ukedchat, teachmeets continue to be valuable free cpd resources!) Using online tools and freeware may not have the same technical support as paid-for resources, though a personal learning network (PLN) through twitter may help answer our questions! But sometimes paying for a service/software can be very worthwhile for learning experiences and managing resources effectively.
However, we need to make the most of the resources we have and use them to their full potential – even if that means re-visiting a tool as part of staff training. I picked two tweets for the tweet of the week because I think they are fundamental to the future of managing our resources effectively – we need to be able to use tools and resources that will save time for teachers, supporting a work-life balance (and that may be the tools that enable networking, idea sharing, crowd sourcing, creative commons resources and mutual support – those that prevent us re-inventing wheels that have already been invented!). We also need to be able to harness the tools that our students will be bringing to school – whether it is their mobile phone, smartphone or itouch, psp/ds, their own laptop/netbook. (And that will bring a lot of questions about network security, e-safety, wireless access, parity of opportunity and lots more, I’m sure!)
@missbrownswordmy kids went to a school that grew veggies and sold them to local pub for sunday lunches, made money for school & kept pub open! #ukedchat