Nothing can bring out a teacher’s giddy grin like getting a stipend or budget to do some shopping for the classroom. Sometimes those giddy grins can even come from the excitement that accompanies using personal funds to procure the perfect supplement that will enhance student growth. No matter who’s banking the purchase, there are a few guidelines teachers should use when determining which item(s) will have the most lasting impact on the learning environment and the overall educational experiences of their students. When buying for the classroom is on the agenda, be sure to ask these questions and ensure a sound purchasing choice is made.
- Does the product have relevancy that will allow it to be used over an extended period of time?
- Will the product still be usable following the next tech upgrade?
- Is the product durable enough to withstand extended student usage?
- Will the product be applicable if a change in subject or grade level occurs (especially important when using personal funds)?
- Does the product have a singular usage or can it be adapted for multiple functions/scenarios?
- Can the product be used with students of varying ability levels?
- Is there a cost for upkeep and/or consumable replacement parts?
- Is there significant savings for buying in bulk (time to round up some fellow consumers)?
- Does the vendor match competitor’s pricing or have an upcoming sale?
- Has the product been vetted in real classrooms?
- Are there reviews from fellow teachers that have used the product?
- Does the product hold our seal of endorsement or another trusted program?
Whether district dollars or personal funds are backing a purchase for the classroom, it’s important that teaches make sound choices when it comes to adding new materials to the learning environment. When only particular vendors can be used, there may be a limit to the choices, but that shouldn’t create a limit to quality or relevancy. By asking questions and taking note of the longevity, adaptability, pricing, and approval of products, teachers will be better prepared to make sound purchasing choices that make the most sense for their classrooms.