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Sources of Funding for Blended Learning Solutions

Instructor: Della McGuire

Della has been teaching secondary and adult education for over 20 years. She holds a BS in Sociology, MEd in Reading, and is ABD on the MComm in Storytelling.

In this lesson, we will look at the various sources and strategies schools can use to increase funding allocated to blended learning options in the classroom.

Cost of Blended Learning

Joshua has always been kind of a techie, and he grew up to become a middle school teacher. His students love him because he knows about Minecraft and all the other fun games the kids like to play, even some of the old school games from his generation, like Oregon Trail. Joshua knows that integrating technology into his classroom can help students understand how to use technology to participate in modern society. He also knows that he is in a low-income school district and technology is expensive, so he struggles with thinking of ways to cover these costs.

He brainstorms several strategies to raise money from different sources for a blended-learning classroom so that his students can reap the benefits and to help his school offset the cost. Strategies and sources of funding for blended learning solutions can include reallocating existing funds, generating new funds, and recognizing ways blended learning can make the most of existing funds.

Gradual Phasing

By gradually phasing in new changes in technology, the transition to a blended learning environment can be more manageable and more affordable. Joshua proposes gradually adding technology that can be included in the supplies budget for each term. For example, budgeting for one new computer to coincide with seasonal clearance sales can help increase the number of computers in the classroom gradually and at a lower cost.

Balancing the Cost

Another strategy to illustrate that technology can be affordable is to emphasize savings from instructional materials and teacher shortages. Often, a teaching program or student enrichment activity on the computer is more cost effective than hiring more teaching assistants. By outlining the cost of program that can occupy students and comparing them to the salary of a teaching assistant, Joshua shows school administrators that the cost of technology can be balanced out by the savings in materials and instructors.

Streamline Software

Many of the programs that require monthly or annual subscription fees can be eliminated based on a review of which software is being utilized and which is redundant. For instance, many programs that charge a fee may have similar programs available for free download. By investigating the current subscriptions the school is paying for and eliminating those unnecessary costs, Joshua frees up a little money to invest in new hardware updates.

Implementing Fees

One way to offset the cost is by implementing user fees for technology the school has purchased. Because Joshua is in a low-income district, this is not the most ideal situation if the user fees would be paid for by students and their families. There may be members of the community who would like to sponsor a student and their family in order to have access to the school's technology. One example of implementing fees could be a subscription to the school's library database.

Title I

One possible source of funding for technology in a blended classroom could be through Title I funding. Title I is a federal legislation that provides for equality in education within low-income districts. Joshua can investigate grant funding opportunities through Title I to get money into his district for new hardware and software in order to increase equity of access to technology in low-income schools.

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