In the next five years almost 70% of the workforce will work remotely at least five days per month1. Given that change is inevitable in our new normal, is your school prepared to transition to online learning and prepare its students for this new mode of teaching?
In recent months, we’ve seen the use of technology advance like never before. K-12 education is trying to modernize by incorporating newer technologies to improve students’ learning experiences from anywhere. Because of this, online teaching now poses new challenges for educators. Having the right IT and security in place are major concerns for educators in Canada today.
The good news is that today’s technology allows teachers and students to easily connect virtually, but managing all the different factors involved in online schooling can be overwhelming for teachers, administrations and their IT departments.
What are the biggest remote learning challenges for elementary and high schools?
Having enough (and the right) laptops and tablet computers
While only 1% of households with children do not have access to the internet at home, the figure is much higher (4.5%2 ) for households in the bottom 25% of the income distribution. As a result, students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds may lack the necessary hardware to participate in online schooling. Schools which have limited inventories of computers and without the ability to lend laptops or tablet computers to students will leave the most vulnerable students disconnected from their peers and education.
Unreliable IT networking and internet connectivity
The technology available to students and teachers in class must be as reliable as a traditional pen and a notebook. A slow internet connection in the class and network failures can be disruptive to the learning process, especially during online examinations. Moreover, teachers not familiar with the technology or struggling with persistent IT problems won’t be able to cover all of their class materials in time or provide the optimal learning experience their students deserve.
Security and privacy risks for students
The risks involving security increase exponentially when children are involved. Keeping students safe from malicious content and cyberattacks is part of a school’s responsibility. Security breaches can cause serious disruption and damage to data on your school’s network. School IT departments often lack up-to-date software and tools to safeguard their information.
Scaling up or down based on changing enrollment
For some smaller schools, admitting new students can cause a heavy burden on limited server space and network usage. Organizations need to maintain IT infrastructure that can easily be scaled upward or downward and adapt rapidly as their student population changes.
Leverage school technology grants more effectively for the new normal
Many schools are applying for government grants that help them fund the technology and people needed for online learning. Although this additional budget can be used to hire new IT managers in-house, it is often more cost effective and efficient to contract an outsourced team of experts. Outsourcing provides the deep experience and fast response times that elementary and high schools need when fixing IT problems that can impact their students’ learning experience.
How outsourced IT provides better support for online learning
The shift to online learning comes with its own learning curve. Teachers and administrators already have a lot of responsibilities and small IT departments often need external support for a smooth transition. Employing an experienced, outsourced IT team can help relieve many of the challenges schools face and lift this weight off their shoulders.
Provide additional laptops and tablet computers
Many outsourced IT service providers offer schools the option to lease IT hardware at discounted prices. From computers to software to servers, IT service providers have you covered. In addition, to get you up and running quickly, the hardware comes pre-loaded with essential software for remote learning such as Zoom, Microsoft, Google Classroom and more. All without having to deal with lengthy procurement cycles that many schools have to deal with.
Protect your school and students from threats with strong security
Using tools such as Microsoft Advanced Defender, IT service providers defend your business against malware, malicious websites, spam, viruses, hacking attacks, unauthorized applications and other threats that could jeopardize your school’s learning experience. Whether you run Windows PC, Mac, Android or iOS with iPads, this ensures you’re always up to date with the latest security software to keep your students and faculty safe.
Keep learning uninterrupted with a reliable network
Downtime in the classroom causes disruptions and wastes precious teaching time. An IT service provider can utilize the latest technology and provide a stable network which ensures that your educational environment reaches its highest level of security, productivity and efficiency.
Receive fast and reliable help desk support from experts, anytime
Students and administrators looking for immediate technical support are often faced with hurdles. Long hold times and poor technical support can cause students to fall behind quickly and delay test taking. This makes classes harder to conduct and hinders the learning experience for students. Many IT service providers feature accessible help desk support that supports IT departments and schools, whether through online chat, phone or email.
Prevent IT issues before they happen with proactive monitoring
More productive. More reliable. More learning. Ensure that your school’s technology systems and networks continue to operate normally, recognize potential issues ahead of time, and ultimately, avoid downtime. IT experts will proactively fix and prevent common IT issues before they become a problem for your school and students.
About OnPoint ONE
OnPoint ONE has extensive experience with BC’s education sector and has worked with Langara College, UBC, Douglas College, Vancouver Community College, Cambrian College and Kwantlen Polytechnic University. OnPoint offers a full suite of managed services and is the only MSP that provides enterprise-level IT solutions with an accessible and predictable monthly plan.