Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Using Technology Advertising to Reduce Educational Costs

By Sean Scarpiello

Across the United States, the idea of letting businesses advertised in schools has been brought up again and again. For the most part, this would mean allowing companies to buy space on a school bus or billboards in the cafeteria, where they can advertise their products. Although many educational professionals have faced this idea with resistance in the past, we could begin to implement this idea now with regards to technology. This would not only allow students to gain access to technological resources to use in school, but also allow educators to provide these learning tools in an inexpensive manner.

Essentially, large technology companies could donate or sell their products at reduced costs to schools. Then the schools would be able to give these products, ideally laptops or tablets, to each of their students to use. If students are impressed with these pieces of technology, the students or their families may be more likely to buy products made by these companies in the future. In addition to this, the companies can advertise their other products on the donated laptops or tablets. One way to do this is to refer students to their website for updates in the applications and programs students are using in class. Companies could even have student tutorials or help guides available on their websites made just for students. This would again allow the companies to advertise to a growing demographic, while affording students the benefits of utilizing technology in class.

One current method that I have read about where companies have been implementing this idea is in the Lake Tahoe Unified School District. Here, students are given a laptop by the school in the beginning of the school year. As part of an advertising scheme, the school uses AT&T to give the students mobile broadband internet connectivity. The students attending school in this district are relatively poor; therefore, the students highly benefit from having the WiFi capabilities provided by AT&T. In the future, these students may go on to buy even more products where they can use AT&T as a service provider. Furthermore, AT&T also has an increased ability to market to these students. While this may seem bad for the students, it pays off in the long run because it lowers education costs for schools, while providing students with a higher quality of education.

In light of all of this, this type of advertising does not need to rest solely on the shoulders of big companies such as Apple, HP, AT&T, and Verizon. Any company, even smaller local businesses, can donate resources to schools. They may also work out a deal with the school to raise public awareness of this incentive to bring in more educational resources. Fundraisers held by local businesses may help to raise money for these programs, while also advertising their businesses to the community.

Overall, it is easy to overlook an idea such as in-school advertising, because some claim that it may interfere with the learning process. In reality, students see hundreds of advertisements each day, so a few more in school won’t hurt. Plus, these advertisements will benefit schools in that they bring new technologies into the classroom at lower cost which also benefits students. By utilizing the latest software and interactive programs available to them on laptops and tablets, students can begin to challenge themselves more through the learning process and have fun doing it.

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