technology index

IT leaders expect steady increase in digital materials

Despite an influx in technology-based learning resources, IT leaders have staffing concerns.

Technology leaders at the K-12 and higher ed levels said they expect more digital learning tools in their schools and on their campuses, but they also expressed concerns over having enough manpower to handle increased technology demands.

The information comes from a new report, the Education Operations Health Index, based on two decades of SchoolDude data and survey results, and it offers a glimpse at the state of technology, school facilities and operations nationwide. The report covers technology management, preventive maintenance, deferred maintenance, community use of facilities and energy conservation.

Positives in the index include an increase in schools moving to digital curriculum, schools more capable of supporting an array of devices, and IT departments being set up well to handle cybersecurity concerns.

Negatives include budget constraints, which ranked as a top challenge, and not having enough time or staff to address challenges.

(Next page: How much do technology leaders expect digital materials to increase?)

Schools are increasingly looking for ways to leverage technology assets and 58 percent of respondents say they have more assets to deploy this year compared to last year.

Nearly 90 percent of respondents expect their instructional materials to be at least 50 percent digital within the next three years.

Getting connected is easier due to better device access, smartphone popularity and cheaper broadband internet. But with more assets to keep track of, plus data security concerns, IT teams say they feel they face an uphill battle without enough resources.

Citing CoSN’s IT Leadership Survey, the SchoolDude data points to IT leaders’ growing concerns over privacy and security of student data. In fact, 64 percent said it is more important than last year.

According to SchoolDude’s survey data, managing new assets, addressing cybersecurity threats and optimizing digital learning environments have resulted in more responsibilities.

But those responsibilities are not matched by the number of IT personnel–just 13 percent of IT leaders said their staffing matches their needs, and 52 percent of CTOs spend more time problem-solving technical issues than working in proactive mode.

More than 200 education operations professionals at K-12 and private schools, four-year universities and two-year colleges answered the 2017 survey.

The score for the 2017 Education Operations Health Index is 55.6 on a scale of 1-100, with one being the most pessimistic outlook on the state of school operations and 100 being the most optimistic outlook and indicator of success in operations.

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Laura Ascione
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