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How to build a solid foundation for digital education

Making changes to your institution’s technological infrastructure can be daunting and exciting at the same time. Successfully implementing the right technology can do wonders for unifying and empowering your staff and students—creating the ideal environment for digital education. Still, for many school districts, execution is the real challenge. 

There’s no denying the high level of change brought about by the ongoing pandemic. We’ve all seen the rapid transition to virtual learning that has taken place over the past year. And while there are many lessons to learn from that rollout—one thing is clear: digital education isn’t going anywhere.

Future-proofing education will require school districts all throughout North America to build the right ecosystem to enable virtual learning. 

So, what options do school districts have? And are the initial systems rolled out throughout 2020 and 2021 enough?

We’ve outlined a few of the key measures you can take to ensure your institution is ready to embrace virtual learning.

1. Equip Your Faculty With the Right Devices


The goal of replacing old classroom technology is partially to provide a better teaching experience, but it’s also to reduce the wasted time and money spent on maintenance requests.

Too often, school districts end up with incompatible devices that are at different stages in their life cycle. This makes it almost impossible for IT teams to solve issues fast. This happens largely due to shying away from larger expenses.

Instead of waiting for each laptop to stop working, which results in downtime and IT requests, we advise replacing your device fleet at regular intervals:

  • Laptops replaced every four to five years, which is based on the standard rate of wear and tear
  • Desktops replaced every six to seven years to keep up with Windows releases
  • Tablets replaced every three years due to a lack of manufacturer support

To successfully execute replacing each of these devices, your institution will need a robust inventory management system that tracks any asset owned by students, educators, and administrators.

2. Ensure a Baseline Experience for Staff


If every teacher is using a different device and applications, IT cannot keep their solutions running smoothly easily. It will require a significant time investment to keep things operating. This difficulty will almost certainly drive some teachers back to pen and paper.

When it comes to new technology, we advise creating a standard set of devices and applications that all staff and students should be using. This eliminates the use of random third-party applications that most likely will not be compatible with your IT solutions.

3. Select the Right Technology


The right technology will empower administrators, IT specialists, teachers, and students to effectively carry out their roles. Below are a few key factors to keep in mind when deciding on a digital education management platform:

  • Functionality and useability: A platform that is tailored to the precise needs of your school will allow faculty to address the real day-to-day challenges that they face, which creates a phenomenal user experience. 
  • Visibility: An education management platform should provide administrators and IT specialists with privileged information that they can use to make meaningful decisions, such as how teachers are using a new app. This type of visibility will help generate comprehensive insights across all of your core processes.
  • Data security: Security should be at the forefront of any IT decision that you make. Look past marketing material and examine the vendor’s privacy policy. What measures are in place to keep your team’s data secure?

4. Embrace the Power of the Cloud


Transitioning to a cloud environment eliminates the need for on-premises infrastructure and ensures that your systems are always using the best technology. Individual schools will no longer need to maintain a physical infrastructure, which directly means lower operating costs.

Some fear that transitioning to a cloud environment will mean losing control over data. In reality, it means regular backups and higher guaranteed uptime. Additionally, database snapshots and API access will allow any system or department access to the data that they need.

Moving to the cloud means positioning your institution to better adapt to future change as well. It will be easier to deploy new devices and apps across the entire organization.

5. Take an Integration-Friendly Approach


Integrations allow your technology solutions to constantly grow and evolve. You’ll be able to quickly adopt new third-party apps that expand the functionality of your entire system. You won’t have to rely on one app to fulfill all the needs of all departments, but instead, you can grow and expand as new apps are integrated.

Additionally, integrations will guarantee that all critical data is consistently visible across all departments and teams that need it. Requests for information can be automated or require simple approval instead of outdated methods.

6. Deploy New Solutions With a Focus on Employee Buy-In


Implementing new software requires commitment from everyone who will be using it. One of the best ways to spark change amongst all members of your organization is to be completely transparent from the beginning. Discuss your gaps, create performance goals, and allow the staff time to appreciate the benefits of the new solution. 

Showcasing the benefits of a new solution is an ideal way to catalyze employee buy-in. You might highlight better visibility, streamlined processes, or easier compliance reporting. Show them that the new solution may require learning a new app, but the benefits far outweigh the effort.

Make sure that senior management is actively using the new solution. Seeing that all levels are taking part in a new change will inspire everyone else to adopt the new solution.

7. Keep Accessibility In Mind


Providing equal access to education to all students is vital. Every student should be able to use the right devices and systems that they require to learn. Ensure that any solution that your institution considers has built-in accessibility for anyone who needs it. 

Equal access will mean that several moving parts need to be in place. This includes the design of educational material, devices used, all digital tools, and the need for high-speed internet access.

Your Schools Deserves The Right Foundation


Start building the foundation for your digital education now to create a strong starting point. The right solutions will allow your team to expand and grow as your schools need it. 

While there may be a difficult transition for some team members, it will bring countless benefits to your students, teachers, and administrators.

Are you interested in learning more about how to achieve success in digital education? Download our guide to digital education today to learn more.

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