Controling interests (project update)

My project has reached its fourth school, or rather it has returned to its second school.

It is telling how much an invoice for a new iPod (even discounted) can scare people into changing their plans and expectations. A year ago there was no fear about iPods being lost over the long summer hols as the students were very reliable. A week into the project and £130 vanished down the drain.

Now the school is keeping eBooks firmly within the classroom. It will be interesting to see if reading a class text is any different on screen to in print, but I can’t help feeling that it misses the point that they’ll still need a print copy to study at home.

More positive though is that the school is going to use the multimedia functions of the iPod throughout all lessons, the results of which will be interesting to see, even though they are restricting themselves to a zero budget (so free apps only).

I can’t grumble about keeping costs down, but there are implications here for any library service running a project such as this. Costs can spiral upwards, and schools will not see those costs as an investment when they are only borrowing the eReaders, and the next school in line will reap the benefits of anything purchased by previous users.

It may be necessary to take the project in a different direction. To operate as consultants setting up schools with their own eBooks and helping them manage them, or we loan additional hardware, and the schools own the accounts synchronised to them, so they do keep sole use of their investment in the software and books.

At least that would mean I could drop all of the financial wrangling…