As schools continue to adapt to the ever-evolving landscape of education, it’s becoming increasingly important for educators to utilize the resources available to them. One such resource is the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funding, which provides schools with funds to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on education. One of the ways schools can use this funding is by investing in classroom technology purchases. With education constantly evolving and learning trends always changing to meet the needs of students and teachers, it’s important to understand and utilize the classroom technology that helps to support and drive the latest learning trends in the classroom.
In this blog post, we’ll explore the benefits of investing in classroom technology, eligible classroom technology and how to utilize ESSER funding for these purchases.
The Benefits of Classroom Technology
Classroom technology has become an essential tool for modern educators. With the right technology in place, teachers can engage students, personalize learning, and help students develop the skills they need for success in the 21st century. Here are just a few of the many benefits of classroom technology:
- Enhances Learning: Technology can make learning more interactive, engaging, and personalized, allowing students to learn at their own pace and in their own style.
- Boosts Collaboration: Technology can facilitate collaboration among students and teachers, whether in-person or remotely.
- Increases Access: Technology can expand access to educational resources, allowing students to explore new topics and ideas beyond the confines of traditional textbooks.
- Prepares Students for the Future: Technology skills are essential for success in many careers, and investing in classroom technology helps prepare students for the jobs of the future.
ESSER Funds and Eligible Classroom Technology
The Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds are federal funding provided to states and school districts to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on education. The ESSER funds were established under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which was signed into law by President Trump in March 2020, and have since been expanded and extended by subsequent federal legislation, including the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act of 2021.
K-12 districts across the country are able to request additional time (14 months) beyond the previously outlined deadline for spending of ESSER funds. K-12 schools have until this September (2023) to “obligate” ESSER II funds, or commit them to specific purposes, and until September 2024 to utilize ESSER III funds.1
ESSER funds are intended to provide schools with the resources they need to respond to the pandemic and help students recover from the disruptions to their education. The funds can be used to support a wide range of activities related to the pandemic, including purchasing educational and classroom technology.
So what types of classroom technology are eligible for purchase through ESSER funds?
- Devices such as laptops, tablets, and Chromebooks that can be used by students and teachers to access digital resources, complete assignments, and communicate with one another.
- Interactive whiteboards for education and other display technologies that allow teachers to display and interact with digital content.
- Learning management systems (LMS) that provide a centralized platform for teachers to manage course content, assignments, grades, and communication with students and parents.
- Educational software and applications that provide access to interactive and engaging learning experiences in different subject areas.
- Classroom response systems that allow teachers to conduct formative assessments and receive immediate feedback on student understanding.
- Assistive technology tools that support the learning needs of students with disabilities, such as text-to-speech software and speech recognition tools.
- Video conferencing tools that enable remote or hybrid learning, allowing students and teachers to connect and collaborate from anywhere.
It’s worth noting that the specific classroom technology tools that can be purchased using ESSER funding may vary depending on the school district and state requirements. It’s important to review the guidelines and regulations governing ESSER funding to determine which technology tools are eligible for purchase.
Utilizing ESSER Funding for Classroom Technology Purchases
Now that we’ve explored the benefits of classroom technology and some examples of classroom technology tools that can be purchased using ESSER funding, let’s take a look at how to utilize ESSER funding for these purchases.
- Assess Your School’s Needs: Before making any purchases, it’s important to assess your school’s technology needs. Identify the areas where technology can make the most significant impact, and prioritize purchases accordingly.
- Research Your Options: With so many different types of technology available, it’s important to research your options and select the technology that best meets your school’s needs. Look for technology that is easy to use, reliable, and scalable.
- Purchase from Reputable Vendors: When making purchases with ESSER funds, it’s important to work with reputable vendors who can provide high-quality technology and support. Look for vendors, such as Parmetech, who have experience working with schools and can provide references and case studies.
- Plan for Implementation: Implementing new technology can be challenging, so it’s important to have a plan in place. Consider providing professional development for teachers, creating a support team to troubleshoot issues, and developing a plan for ongoing maintenance and upgrades.
- Track Your Spending: Finally, it’s important to track your spending and ensure that you are utilizing ESSER funds appropriately. Keep detailed records of all purchases and be prepared to provide documentation if audited.
In conclusion, investing in classroom technology is a smart way to utilize ESSER funding and improve education outcomes for students. By assessing your school’s needs, researching your options, purchasing from reputable vendors, planning for implementation, and tracking your spending, you can make the most of this valuable funding resource.
If you’re interested in implementing or upgrading current educational or classroom technology, get in touch with us! Parmetech works with K-12 districts and schools across the country on their EdTech and classroom technology needs and we’d love to learn more about your current or upcoming needs and how we can partner together! Give us a call today at (800) 727-6383, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or connect with us online!
You can also download our Ultimate Guide to Educational Technology here!