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How can we solve education’s technology challenges and modernize for the future?

Education technology plays an important role in today’s learning experiences. Over the last couple of years, sales of EdTech tools have skyrocketed, thanks in large part to the global pandemic.

Everything from computers, laptops, tablets, AI, video conferencing, and the latest collaboration tools have been used to enhance the overall education experience. And since technology is becoming so widely used, the massive improvements in quality and accessibility in education have been remarkable.

When appropriately implemented, digital education can bring many benefits to the classroom, such as greater flexibility, personalized learning, access to unlimited resources, increased collaboration, and portability.

A pre-pandemic Gallup showed just how important EdTech was then, revealing that:

  • 89% of students used digital learning tools at least a few times a week (or more) while learning at school
  • 71% reported using them for homework and communication as often outside of school.
  • 34% of those students would prefer to use them more often outside of school 
  • 42% wanted to use EdTech tools more often at school
  • 50% said they’re satisfied with how often they’re using them now 
  • 8% want to use digital tools less often

But these stats and features don’t come without challenges. Some teachers and administrators are encountering challenges that prevent them from using education technology at its fullest. 

Problems such as insufficient training and support, poor infrastructure, lack of digital tools, budget restraints, and other negating factors can affect the adoption and integration of technology at all levels within the school system. 

It’s clear that the future of education will be heavily reliant on technology, but now we’re at a crossroads. Until education really addresses the underlying problems with technology, progress will be limited or fragmented. 

This is where integration can come into play. 

Read on to learn more about the challenges your teachers and administrators are facing and what your district can do to overcome them as you work towards creating a successful staff and student experience.

Challenges in the School System

Some teachers may still question the importance of using technology in the classroom, so it’s important for them to understand all its benefits. Integrating EdTech tools in the classroom can enhance learning, provide collaboration for teachers and students, and offer new and exciting ways for students to connect with information—if everyone is set up for success right from the start. 

Some districts are facing challenges with poor infrastructure, inadequate technology, lack of professional development, and teacher perceptions. You can’t expect a cloud-based EdTech platform to run like a well-oiled machine if these problems aren’t addressed before diving in.  

Let’s look at some of the most common challenges school districts are facing with implementing technology in the classroom.

When Should You Consider an Upgrade?

The ongoing pandemic forced modern education to switch to remote learning virtually overnight, greatly accelerating the need to use digital tools and software. The results were fairly mixed, with some classrooms struggling to get everything running.

This scenario is exactly what you’re trying to address when you’re upgrading the SIS. While the current one might get you where you need to go today, can it take you to where you want to go tomorrow? Think about how new features and improvements can help and check with the market for education-focused ERP solutions for the answers.

But first, here are the questions to ask yourself to evaluate your current SIS deployment.

Poor IT Infrastructure

As education becomes more student-focused rather than the traditional “arrange your desks so everyone can focus on the teacher” method, schools need to do more than just arrange furniture to adapt. 

The new era of classroom learning has shifted to a stronger focus on mobile learning. But for this convenient, flexible option to be successful, it requires a solid foundation in technology. Especially network infrastructure. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) issued the U.S’ public school infrastructure a D+ grade claiming that 53% of schools need to make improvements to get to “good” condition, while 24% were said to be in “fair” or “poor” condition. 

With that being said, as many schools work toward making significant investments in their physical infrastructure, they should also include technological upgrades to enhance the modern learning experience—computers, laptops, tablets, integrated software, electrical upgrades to support multiple digital devices, and reliable high-speed internet. 

A new survey by Pearson shows that Wi-Fi connections at school are lagging behind what’s being offered at home. 96% of students in grades 4 to 12 reported having Wi-Fi connection at home while only 68% said they have Wi-Fi connection at school. Focusing on the right digital tools for network management, like an all-in-one education platform designed with schools in mind, paired with enhanced security features from a good provider, will prepare school districts for the long-term partnership with technology.

Inadequate Technology

Integrating digital tools in the classroom can improve the student learning experience. While the list of benefits is endless, here are just 15 ways using the right technology can offer the best possible education experience for your students:

  • Provides insight into individualized learning
  • Reflection and collaboration
  • Builds technological skills essential for the future
  • Develops accountability
  • Access to unlimited resources
  • Connected learning experiences
  • Produces a more engaging and fun learning environment
  • Builds sociocultural perspectives
  • Constructivism
  • Learning flexibility
  • Ease of accessibility
  • Enhance learning and cognitive skills
  • Better support for students with disabilities
  • Improves communication between parents, students, teachers and administrators

As the world continues to trend toward digital transformation, there’s an obvious need to prepare your students for the future. A recent study shows 9 in 10 teachers agree that education should prepare students for the digital future.

We know that 75% of teachers believe that technology should be used across the curriculum to enhance literacy. But, because of limited funding and constricting budgets, many schools don’t have the resources to supply adequate technology. Or so they think.

EdTech tools can easily be incorporated into any district’s budget if there’s an understanding of how updated technology can actually cut costs, reduce wasted administrative hours, and boost productivity.

Solution #1: Move to the Cloud

Making smart financial investments for the future involves moving to the cloud now. After making the switch, your schools will start seeing immediate benefits:

  • Printed textbooks quickly become outdated and are expensive to purchase. See substantial savings by going digital—content is easily updated and always accessible
  • Moving to the cloud eliminates the need for costly hardware, like servers that take up a lot of precious space and require ongoing maintenance and expensive cooling costs
  • Save time and money by avoiding the copy machine all together. Making copies is time-consuming and requires constantly replacing toner and paper. Going digital reduces your district’s carbon footprint and allows more room in your budget

Solution #2: Replace Old Devices

Administrators and teachers waste a lot of time dealing with slow computers, unreliable networks, and finicky printers. This leads to lost time and productivity. Upgrading to new computers, laptops, or tablets, and investing in developing a proper lifecycle management strategy for devices, as well as using integrative platforms allows teachers and administrators to spend that extra time creating valuable learning opportunities and experiences for their students. And when students learn how to use cloud-based technology from a young age, you’re setting them up with valuable skills for their future.

Solution #3: Upgrade Your Network

After upgrading your digital tools, determine if your current Wi-Fi connection is good enough for teachers and students to stay on top of their day. If your network is outdated, everyone in your district will waste time waiting for pages and apps to load. For students, this could mean spending more time on waiting than learning. 

Also consider security and student privacy regulations. Using outdated technology and not updating critical network apps can leave your district vulnerable to data breaches and hackers, creating a compliance nightmare for your district.

Lack of Professional Development

In an era filled with technology, different perspectives, and endless opportunities for both students and educational leaders, professional development has become an asset. 

Prior to going digital, education had become stagnant. It had always been about maintaining certain rules and curriculums, with the focus solely being on the teacher. 

There are 3 key components in professional development—access, training, and support. Together, these components are integral in modern education for building sustainability and longevity. To maximize the use of digital tools and software, the 3 components in professional development are essential. Yet, only 5% of today’s teachers feel supported in their training. 

For today’s teachers and administrators to be successful, they must stay up-to-date with the latest teaching strategies—putting students front and center using digital tools to implement remote and hybrid learning, creating individualized learning plans, and adapting to the “learn on the go” mindset, all while upholding curriculum standards. That being said, teachers require adequate training and support to enhance their strategies for keeping students engaged in learning. This is where data-driven instruction comes into play.

Professional development can increase the skill sets throughout your district, allowing an easier transition to all-in-one education platforms. There are a few ways you can encourage professional development in your schools:

  • Online training courses
  • Professional conferences
  • Graduate education programs
  • Internal training through cohorts
  • Staff support groups with dedicated meetings to share tips, tricks, and advice

Just like with students, training your teachers and administrative staff should be an individualized process tailored to their specific needs and proficiency level. Staying ahead of professional development is essential for keeping learning relevant, adding knowledge to current curriculums, optimizing the student experience, managing individualized learning plans, and creating leaders. Without technological growth, your teachers will be less equipped to do their jobs well, and the attention and level of education your students receive will be greatly impacted.

Why Teacher Perception Matters When It Comes to Technology

Many teachers are facing barriers that make using EdTech tools challenging, burdensome, and overwhelming, rather than being rewarding. This can lead to inconsistent implementation of digital tools and an unwillingness to give them the chance they deserve. 

However, when you equip teachers and administrators with the right training and proper support, their perception of these tools can be drastically different and EdTech tools will become more accessible in the classroom. With a good support system in place, your educational leaders will become less resistant to the entirely unified experience as they gain confidence in their abilities to use integrated EdTech tools. Teacher buy-in is key to making your transition to digital education a successful one. 

There are a few ways you can make it easier for your teachers and administration staff to buy-in to digital technology:

1. Prepare Them

Before committing to any EdTech platform, hold a staff meeting to let your team know that a transition is in the works. Encourage communication. Let them know that their concerns and opinions matter, and ask them for their input on which features they’d like to see in an all-in-one education platform. This makes for a good icebreaker when introducing the transition to digital learning.

2. Reassure Them

Expect some resistance. You’re sure to have teachers who’ve used the same teaching methods for years now, and let’s face it—not many people like change. Reassure your team that they’ll have full training and support before, during, and after the transition. 

3. Identify Current Challenges

One way to gain buy-in is to address the problems your teachers and admin staff are currently facing. It can be anything from scheduling and grading to not having enough time in a day and feeling overwhelmed. Then address how transitioning to a digital platform can overcome those challenges and make their lives easier. 

Take it one step further and use these challenges when deciding on your EdTech platform. Not all digital tools are created equal, nor will they all have the capability of addressing current issues. A challenge for many teachers is not being able to easily manage or track student data. Connect Ed from Edsembli can track attendance, grade work, update courses, assign homework, create report cards, share links, and more—all within the platform. 

4. Talk About What’s In It for Them

Earlier, we talked about the benefits of using EdTech tools for students. It’s always good to remind your teachers about student benefits, but equally important is letting them know what’s in it for them. Here are 15 perks to get you started:

  • Detailed student data
  • Improved collaboration
  • Targets different learning styles
  • Dynamic progress tracking
  • Student engagement
  • Paperless grading
  • Immersive learning
  • Accessibility
  • Flexibility
  • Easily analyze data
  • Keeps teachers connected with students and parents
  • Unlimited resources
  • Improved student achievement
  • Better manage individualized education plans
  • Quickly identify areas where students are struggling 

5. Involve Your Change Champions

Request a demo for any software that appears to meet your needs. Give access to your change champions so you can get their input. Remember: excitement is contagious, but allow the trial period at least a few months before getting your administration team involved. This will allow you time to gather enough data before jumping ahead.

Looking Toward the Future

At Edsembli, we know the challenges that technology can pose in—and out—of the classroom. Inspired by school districts, our education platform was designed to overcome sector-specific challenges while transitioning schools to the cloud as seamlessly as possible. As we move toward a future heavily reliant on technology, we’re ready to guide and fully support you with your move to cloud-based technology.

Book a demo with us today to see the features, benefits, and value we can bring to your district.

Book your demo with an Edsembli education specialist today

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