4 Questions to Consider Before Introducing New Classroom Tech
You did it! After two years of learning disruptions and global health difficulties, your school has fully embraced the power of educational technology. Now it’s time to align your strategic vision with the tools needed to tackle the future’s biggest challenges.
That starts with picking impactful classroom technology.
Educators know that more than 65% of learners will work in jobs that don’t even exist today. But before they can solve real world issues, they need real world problem-solving skills and basic digital competencies.
Asking these questions can help schools select education solutions that satisfy those digital skills while supporting teachers, too.
What are the Primary Needs for the Year?
No one expects you to predict the future. But if the last few semesters are any indication, schools need to expect the unexpected – especially when it comes to hybrid learning.
Get staff involved to brainstorm and anticipate your needs for the next year – and what tech can help meet them.
Putting together a light tech audit can help structure these conversations, ensuring there aren’t any gaps in planning.
Start by gathering feedback about:
- Tech tools that can support your overall mission and school values
- The specific needs of key staff and different departments
- Teacher concerns within and outside the classroom
- Your level of disaster preparedness
- Apps and resources used most and least
- Cybersecurity and data retention policies and procedures
- Training needs for staff, students and teachers (more on that later)
Do Your Teachers Understand the Tech?
After the tech your school needs begins to come into focus, the next step is to make sure that teachers understand how to use it.
Increasing their comfort level with new tools is critical to getting them fully integrated. Otherwise, those programs or devices are likely to go underutilized, if not completely ignored.
Start by asking instructors to self-report their understanding of and exposure to certain technologies. From there, you can use the results to draft an effective development plan. Having this data makes it easier to prioritize knowledge gaps, so the information you share isn’t redundant. It can also help administrators create an appropriate timeline for teachers to familiarize themselves with the new tech.
Focus on crafting a continuous professional-development plan, so educators can stay current as school technologies evolve.
Do You Have Training Materials Prepared for Students and Teachers?
Most new technologies will have a learning curve. Once teachers are onboard, begin gathering training materials that students and educators can refer back to.
Tools like Google Workspace for Education make it easy to create an online repository of resources that are searchable and accessible wherever learning happens.
You may also consider hosting IT training sessions for individual classrooms or hiring technology coaches from outside the district to work with the whole school for a set amount of time.
Do You Have a Plan for Disruptions?
You can’t prepare for everything, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Create a school-wide plan for what you’ll do in case of major malfunctions. That includes everything from global health events to data breaches.
Protecting student and teacher privacy should top the list. Preparing for escalating threats to users, devices, and data now is the best way to preempt a future attack.
At minimum, ensure your school’s security solutions offer the visibility and control needed to address:
- Hacks and data loss prevention
- Vulnerabilities in your IT stack and infrastructure
- Data ownership and accessibility
- Identity and access management
- Compliance and regional security standards
- Device, usage, and data issues
The past two years have sent school IT spending estimates soaring. Asking the right questions now can ensure you get the most out of the purchases you do make, while helping teachers and students excel.