There is a wealth of technology available to schools – apps, software for lesson planning, software for communicating with parents, hardware: iPads, smartphones, Interactive Flat Panel Displays, laptops, PCs – with so many options available, it can be an overwhelming task when faced with streamlining IT infrastructures.
There are many reasons for a school to consider reorganising its IT infrastructure, from having a full system refurb, upgrading some existing devices, or introducing new tech into the mix, e.g. tablets. For whichever reason, simplifying IT systems ensures that the technology is more likely to be used to its full potential, with both teachers and students benefiting from a reorganisation.
Here are some tips on how schools can create a more efficient IT infrastructure, with existing or new systems in place:
Using cloud-based software where everything is stored online is a simple way to connect everyone. It provides teachers with easy access to lesson plans, the ability to deliver lessons, notes etc., and in turn, students have their own personal logins to access content from school or home, enabling them to continue their learning outside of the traditional classroom space. It also reduces the need for having to store information on CDs or USBs, which can be easily lost, potentially compromising security. In fact, information stored on cloud-based software requires authentication; it’s not easily accessible by just anyone and is therefore a safer option.
Cybersecurity is paramount in schools, especially when they now rely on Wi-Fi connections, online data storage, accessing emails, and entrusting students to use handheld devices in the classroom. Schools need to have in place an online security policy and ownership of that this needs to be from a senior level – including Governors – and fed down the line so that students understand the limitations and why they are in place. Ensuring that the security systems in place are device agnostic is paramount, which leads us on nicely to…
- Hardware – keep it compatible!
With many technology options available today, schools may feel overwhelmed by the choice. While it could be tempting to buy the very latest in education technology, it’s important to first remember that the technology must enable more efficient lesson delivery and better outcomes, not replace the role of the teacher. When making purchasing decisions, schools should be offered advice on which hardware (and software) is compatible with existing technologies and that with any new edtech, educators are able to switch from one device to another seamlessly, with minimal disruption.
- Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL)
These is a set of practices for IT service management which meets the needs of the end user, and should mean that there is a central point of contact for IT-users in the school should any problems arise. When developing an ITIL it’s important that schools consider which problems they are trying to solve and how an ITIL will support this. For example, it might be that a school is having a complete IT system refurb, so an ITIL would be helpful in considering options and making sure they align with the needs and demands of the school and its students.
- Maintenance and future-proofing
As students’ needs change throughout the academic years, schools need to ensure the technology in their classroom is interoperable, so it evolves with the students and continues to meet their demands. As schools don’t have the budget to be purchasing new systems every few years, when investing in technology, educators should be advised about what technology will continue to meet the demands of the school and evolve so it will still be compatible with student’s personal devices as they change and develop too.
For more information on the subject, read this handy article on resourced.classflow.co.uk