ICT Funding – would you take a punt? December 15, 2009Posted by IaninSheffield in Management, TELIC.
Tags: funding, ict, impact, innovation, risk, sustainability
How would you describe the level of funding for ICT in your school? Massive? Manageable? Miniscule? How do your figures compare with the research from BESA or Kable? Are you enjoying enhanced funding as part of the BSF programme? And how are those funds deployed within school? Equitably? Sustainably? Transparently?
I think we enjoy a good level of funding from our parent organisation. We’ve spent a great deal of effort in recent years ensuring that ICT expenditure is intelligent, sustainable, accountable, targeted and as effective as possible. Our self review and life-cycle management processes have helped us provide a flexible, well-supported ICT estate which fulfills our current needs. As a partnership, we’re on a quest to ensure fiscal efficiency and that ICT expenditure produces a measurable and sustainable impact on teaching and learning. As a Yorkshireman, born of a Scot, being careful with one’s finances has a certain . . . appeal. So I get it. I’m ‘on message.’ I’m ‘with the programme.’ And you can probably see this coming, BUT . . .
I have a worry; a nagging concern and it’s about ‘wiggle room.’ We now have our finances pretty well tied down, driven by our vision for ICT, linked closely with school, departmental and ICT development plans . . . as indeed they should be. My concern though is that by accounting for every penny, we’ve not left ourselves any innovation room. By that I mean funds we can allocate to explore the potential arising from bright ideas, light bulb moments, inspiration. We can liken these to what Gartner refer to as ‘Technical Triggers’ in their Hype Cycle. However whereas the Hype Cycle describes the stages leading to an ultimately successful outcome, innovation can be rather more fickle and certainly less predictable. So allocating funds this way incurs an element of risk. So what do we do about the innovative teacher who has a brilliant idea for using an emerging technology in an exciting new way? Do we deny them the funds because we hadn’t planned for it in our budget? Or do we set aside a proportion of our budget for just such eventualities, knowing full well that those ideas won’t all bear fruit, but the potential gains from those that do, pay back dividends.
In these times of economic instability, would you take a punt?
Or can you afford not to?