Few research projects have looked at revenue positive results (increased tax revenues) that can be attributed to education technologies. Project RED research showed that the budget benefits of using technologies in schools is seldom examined. Education leaders largely view technology as expensive and out of reach. Project RED showed that there IS enough money in the coffers, especially at a macro level, to effectively implement technology and reap strong financial and student achievement benefits.
The cost of technology implementations can vary widely. For example, the reported cost for 1:1 implementations range from $250 per student per year to over $1,000 per student per year, measured on a four-year refresh cycle. Many factors drive costs This information and more details can be found in the full Project RED research document – Chapter 9.
A few of the larger items are: • Type of hardware- The cost delta between a netbook or handheld versus full featured laptop can be significant. • Refresh cycles – These range from three years to six years or longer. • Professional development – Districts report a range of $1 to $100 per student per year. • Amount of software – Annualized software costs range from $25 per student per year to over $100 per student per year.
Many districts have found ways to cut costs while maintaining program quality. An example is a district which self-insures and uses student technicians to do first-level tech support and to repair laptops as a for credit course.
The following table (and more detail in Chapter 9 of Project RED) is a good overview of costs and possibilities when schools move to successful technology implementation