Plan, purchase, and prepare the devices necessary to bring digital learning to your school or district.
After the needs assessment is completed and the project leadership team has identified the district or school’s device and software needs, the purchasing phase begins. Purchasing equipment can be challenging because there are often state and district purchasing restrictions, rules, and approvals. For example, purchases over a certain cost frequently require approval by a district’s board of education, and in some states, only items on an approved list can be purchased. The project leaders will need to work closely with their IT department and operations team, including school finance and procurement officers, to ensure compliance. Most importantly, schools will need to determine what funds are available to purchase devices and support the project.
Based on the needs assessment (see “Conducting a Needs Assessment”), districts and schools will identify whether they require additional devices and the specifications and quantity of new devices needed. In addition to the devices currently needed, districts and schools should maintain additional devices (at least five percent) to use as spares while main devices are repaired.
A typical procurement process includes the following steps:
A digital learning program needs an efficient system to track device assignments to students and teachers. Several options include shared spreadsheets, the library book circulation system, and the IT help desk system. These records, which should be managed by assigned staff, need to be accessible and updated when device assignments change. Devices are typically assigned a unique number on a scannable asset tag for easy identification.
During this planning process, determine the amount of administrative control that will be given to students so they can complete their work while using devices safely. The amount of control given to students could vary depending on where and how devices are used.
Devices need to be prepared to distribute to users. Some schools have their personnel do this work, while others have this done by a service provider and the devices arrive ready to be distributed (a third-party provider may charge $15–20 per device for this work). Device preparation includes receiving, unboxing, inspecting and testing for damage, adding asset tags, adding cases (if tablets), and installing the management system, selected apps, software, and updates. Other factors to consider for device preparation include:
Budgeting and Funding
Storing and Distributing Devices