How to strengthen school IT for continued hybrid learning

With school out and summer break here, administrators are planning for the fall – but much still remains up in the air. Despite rising vaccinations, it seems inevitable that just like hybrid enterprises, hybrid schooling will continue to be the new normal. So how can district IT teams continue to handle the infrastructure impact that hybrid environments create?

In 2020, COVID-19 forced much of the K-12 world to adapt to a remote-first learning environment. With the nation re-opening amid rising vaccinations, hybrid models for workplaces are now becoming the new norm. Looking forward to back-to-school season, it is quite likely that we will see the same option continue for students for the foreseeable future.

These virtual models, though, have directly impacted school IT infrastructure in unanticipated ways. To ensure operational longevity and prevent any child from falling behind, it’s never been more critical for schools to reevaluate their IT infrastructure.…Read More

School’s offline for summer: 3 tips for easy device reclamation

Across the country, millions of students have been learning remotely since March 2020. According to the US Census, nearly 93 percent of people in households reported their children engaged in some form of distance learning this year. With that in mind, as another school year ends, device reclamation is more distributed than ever.

For school IT teams, this means a chaotic time when the district’s computers–especially those the students use for learning–must be accounted for and inspected for usability ahead of the next school year. Device collection is always challenging, but never more so than this past year that saw education institutions rapidly scaling 1:1 programs to enable remote learning.

Whether you’re approaching the device reclamation period or are looking for ways to improve it next year, there are a variety of decisions and steps that IT teams can take to ensure that end-of-year device reclamation is as painless as possible.…Read More

How IT leaders can thrive in the post-COVID era

This school year is unlike any other. More than 90 percent of households with school-age children are engaged in some form of distance learning from home, while college students are navigating a variety of hybrid remote learning environments. These new learning environments present challenges for educators and school IT leaders alike.

Related content: How COVID put a spotlight on equity

As educational institutions of all sizes are weighing how to keep students engaged while also ensuring their safety, IT departments are faced with a difficult task – how to keep operations running regardless of the learning environment.…Read More

This is how your infrastructure should look before your next tech rollout

Follow these guidelines to create a technology infrastructure that support teachers and students

Most educational organizations want the classroom to change; to improve teaching and learning by leveraging technology. The terms blended and flipped learning are touted extensively as useful educational goals.

However, to increase the probability of long term success and to reduce teacher/instructor frustration, organizations need to ensure that the broader fundamentals are in place before asking teachers to change. This is true whether the organization is a large university or school district, an eLearning business, or a small school of a few hundred students. (Note that I am not talking about the success of the “lone experimenters;” the innovators and early adopters who will implement change no matter what the environment is like. I am talking about organization wide long term success.)

Fundamentals fall into a number of categories. I will consider one (infrastructure) in this article and others in companion articles.
If teachers walk into a lesson and the technology regularly fails, even for just a few minutes, they lose confidence. They become frustrated and lose commitment (and who could blame them?).…Read More

Survey finds gender gaps in school IT leadership

Data from CoSN’s 2014 ‘K-12 IT Leadership Survey’ raise important questions about gender equity in the school technology field

Forty-eight percent of men in school IT leadership positions earn $100,000 or more, compared with 36 percent of women.

While women who occupy leadership positions in school technology are better educated and have more experience, on average, than their male colleagues, men in the school information technology (IT) field generally earn more money and hold more prestigious job titles: This is the main takeaway from an analysis of IT leadership in K-12 education by gender.

The findings are based on a sampling of data from the Consortium for School Networking’s 2014 “K-12 IT Leadership Survey.” They raise important questions about fairness, compensation, and leadership for women in school IT.…Read More

School IT staff must do more with less

“You have to use tech to manage the tech,” Sexsmith explained.

Mobile devices, automated help desks, personalized learning resources, software virtualization, and cloud-based services are becoming the norm for K-12 schools around the country. But with shrinking budgets and staff reductions, school IT departments say it’s getting harder to juggle so many moving parts.

“The problem of three years ago—how to do more with less—is still here today, it’s just becoming even more of a problem for schools and IT officials,” said David Castro, director of public and private-sector marketing for Kaseya, a company that provides IT systems management software for some 500 schools and districts in the U.S.…Read More