Convenience, accessibility to resources, increased efficiency: these are a few of the benefits education systems get from adopting innovation and technology, often in the form of laptops, smart boards, and Chromebooks.
Students today are surrounded by devices and apps that permeate their entire life as a window to the world, from social communication to their families to where they are going in life. In this fast-moving and connected world we live in, the advantages of the latest classroom technology are indisputable.
But the inception of technology in education is not shy of risk. Technology is expensive, and assets that never leave campus are difficult to track. What does it say about laptops and devices students take with them? These students are not held entirely responsible for lost and damaged equipment, meaning manual tracking is no longer sufficient to manage these assets.
A far more robust solution can control budgets better, improve accountability, reduce audit time and reporting, and track the use and maintenance of these assets.
Prior to COVID-19, Education Technology (Edtech) costs were expected to reach $56 billion in 2021. During the pandemic, the global market for Edtech and Smart Classrooms estimated at $84 Billion in the year 2020, is projected to reach a revised size of US$207.3 Billion by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 16.3% over the analysis period.
According to another article, “We have no clue how much the U.S. spends on edtech. But it’s at least 2x what many of us thought.”
Let’s face it, technology in schools comes at a high costs.
Each student incurs a technological asset cost of about $400 every year. From experience, most students and institutions are not intentional about adequately tracking and maintaining school-issued equipment enough to avoid losses.
For instance, in 2013, a school audit in Philadelphia determined that 67% of inventory could not be found. In another incident, the LA unified school district’s computer audit determined that 230 devices were either missing or stolen. This was a $200,000 loss in assets.
This means that educational institutions are losing money because of poor tracking and maintenance practices using excel spreadsheets. Let’s not forget that technological tools like Chromebook also pay Google a maintenance fee of $30 for every student.
The total maintenance cost amounts to about $33 million for a public school that requires tens of thousands of Chromebooks. As such, tracking assets is vital for educational systems because it:
The reliance on clunky and time-consuming manual asset tracking processes like the use of Excel is costing schools a significant chunk of investment since it has the following disadvantages:
Many schools are under scrutiny over lost equipment and investments, forcing institution heads to question whether they can pass annual local and state audits, perform required maintenance, and track asset location and use over time.
Such a huge investment requires an equally effective solution to help control the loss of these technological assets in schools. The need becomes greater as schools depend on technology while fiscal resources are increasingly reducing.
An asset tracking solution typically has RFID or barcode-based data entry process for automatically adding, moving, assigning, and auditing assets. As a result, human error is eliminated from the data entry process of managing school technology assets.
This system also ensures that all the information about the assets is stored in a centralized database. Therefore, any manipulation or changes made to asset data is recorded in the database. When individuals with access to the data complete their tasks, they do so without any redundancy or duplication.
Centralizing updated data in real-time also provides easy accessibility to every asset’s location, status, and movement in an institution. If there is a need for change, immediate feedback is also provided, making it easier to manage and update the assets. These capabilities offer educational institutions the following advantages:
A modern asset tracking management solution logs each student and school asset at the beginning of the year. Incidences like sharing devices between students or asset returns are also recorded just in time.
As a result, teachers can track students personally responsible for all the assets during their duration of use. If any device is lost or stolen, the school has a record of the responsible party, making it easier to account for the loss or get a replacement.
Tracking student accountability with the devices also incentivizes them to take care of each assigned item until their duration of use is over. This also gives the students a sense of responsibility and accountability, and teachers have the peace of mind that assets will not disappear without a trace.
Knowing where all your assets are at all times reduces asset management costs and tracking challenges. This overall visibility into the asset data makes it easier for teachers to identify issues like depreciating assets. Keeping track of depreciating assets is important because it makes it easier to replace them on time, thus, avoiding a shortage of assets. It also helps keep track of insurance costs and write-offs for taxation purposes.
An effective asset management system is also bound to enhance the accuracy of internal audits, time management, and accountability. The use of technology in schools will only increase over time because of its convenience, accessibility to resources, and increased efficiency. It’s also what asset tracking brings to schools with an added bonus: peace of mind
Every educational institution must move from manual tracking of these expensive assets to a cloud-based management solution that reduces management costs and tracking efforts.
Technology makes work more efficient for students and teachers because resources are readily available on mobile devices, making it easier to learn and practice what is taught in classrooms. It also exposes students to versatile topics, which expands their learning.
A manual tracking system is prone to errors, slow processing data, and requires high labor costs. All these issues can be avoided using a cloud-based asset tracking management system.
With asset tracking, both students and teachers find it easier to identify an asset’s status, location, and movement. Teachers can also keep students accountable for their assigned assets and use the asset database to keep track of issues like asset maintenance or replacement.