How Data Analytics Helps Measure Technology Spending

Education Technology Insights | Monday, March 29, 2021

Data analytics is helping school leaders justify their technology spending.

FREMONT, CA: The COVID-inspired rush to distance learning changes already-strained IT budgets in school districts nationwide as educators strive to offer students with required devices and online tools. That comes on top of the $13 billion districts already spend on education technology tools each year. Over the last five years, K–12 technology spending grew more than 8.6 percent a year. IT leaders require to justify the return on investment for their initiatives — in ordinary times and particularly during the present flurry of unanticipated expenses.

A thoughtful method to IT deployments, combined with digital analysis tools, can help IT leaders better track and explain their technology spending. To decide ROI, he and other education technology leaders say, it is vital to first establish that baseline inventory. From there, projects must be scrutinized on an individual basis for their financial viability.

Research from the EdTech Genome Project, an effort of more than 100 education research and advocacy firms, recently identified ten factors that appear to influence educational technology deployment's success or failure. Winning projects usually have a clear adoption plan, laying out systematic operations and resources used to vet solutions, along with effective pilot trials. On the flip side, districts can get into the issue when they have many technology initiatives in play or when tech and nontech initiatives must compete for resources.

Not every IT implementation represents a financial win. According to a K12 survey, 67 percent of software licenses are going unused, and in some cases, the number is as high as 90 percent. A data analytics platform can offer school leaders insight into how well their tech investments are running. The dashboard view allows leadership to view application utilization across a district. This, in turn, lets the district to right-size its licensing and ed technology investment. Visualization tools make it possible to see the cost of ed-tech applications across the district, parsed by the school and by the user.

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