As Educational Technology continues to shape the way our teachers teach and our students learn, we must not neglect how this technology impacts society, our communities and the environment. Research shows there is 80% more computers, projection devices and other forms of instructional technology tools in schools than 2 years ago, and that rate is continuing to grow. This being the case, there are two things our school leaders must review on an annual basis: 1. how much energy are these devices using and are we efficiently using that energy? 2. how do we dispose of discarded technology?
There is evidence showing that in most modern data centers approximately 45% is energy use, while the other 55% is power and cooling. This same evidence shows that most IT systems only use 20% of their system, while the other 80% is not being utilized. Consolidation and virtualization are one way to eliminate and reduce power consumption in data centers. By reducing the number of physical devices - an IT department can significantly save on energy and power utilities.
Disposing of discarded technology is another key element. Simply letting your computers and other devices be placed in dumpsters, auctions or other forms of removal is not sufficient any more. Research shows that by the year 2010 nearly 1 billion computers will be potential scrap. 1 billion? Wow. The scary part is less than 50% of companies have an eco-friendly disposal plan.
Most major computer manufacturers are now partnering with local companies to provide this service once you purchase their product. I encourage all school leaders and IT leaders to investigate their disposal plan and take the necessary steps to improve it, if necessary.
So as we move forward as a society, school leaders and IT leaders - let's remember our environment. Let's remember that the technology in our classrooms today can be the waste problems of tomorrow if we do not act responsibly.
JDS | CIO