Digital transformation — the rapid evolution of technology used to connect people, things and information — has been a trend in business for years now. This means that upon graduating, many high school students will enter a workforce where employees often spend more than six hours a day using digital tools to communicate.
And, in order to prepare students to thrive in these digital environments, elementary schools through high schools are starting to undergo their own digital transformation, passing on benefits to administrators, staffers and parents as well. Amid this transformation, schools have a number of considerations of how digital transformation is altering the educational experience. Here we look at the top 6 education technology trends your school should prepare for.
1. Parents are interacting more and more with teachers and administrators.
Parents often have meetings several nights a week with teachers and administrators, and from parent-teacher conferences to back-to-school nights and everything in between, there is more back-and-forth than ever before. But even beyond meeting in person, parents look to digital mediums for important contact from teachers and administrators.
So when a parent receives 300 or more emails from teachers in a year, important messages can get lost. Instead, team collaboration tools can help parents, teachers and administrators better communicate in one location using one app for messaging, to-do lists and even submitting homework.
2. Students expect more out of their education.
You could even say they demand more of it. The world is becoming increasingly digital, and many school-aged children have known nothing but digital. Even college-aged students can be considered digital natives. And, if the technology in the traditional classroom isn’t there to facilitate their learning, they have STEM school, charter school and private school options that will afford them the technology they need.
So whether it’s offering your on-campus students the technology they need to learn and succeed or providing the technology for massive online open courses (MOOCs) and distance learning, a phone system that can support these tools is essential.
3. Staffers can utilize more resources.
District staff are more often looking for open educational resources and trying to accommodate new curriculum such as common core. Teachers now often turn to Pinterest, Google and other online tools for help.
But they also need more from their communications or PBX systems than “hello, goodbye” functionality, and voicemail being the main application. Today’s communications systems are more evolved than ever, including capabilities like automatic call distribution, hot desking, twinning, reporting and a range of unified communications applications. Ultimately, teachers have a right to expect that their PBX system will have a wide range of functionality.
4. Legislation demands changes.
More oversight by state and federal government often has school districts scrambling to find the money and resources to comply – and that even applies to communications.
It’s a common requirement for your communications system to be able to tell 9-1-1 responders exactly where an emergency phone call is coming from within the building. If it doesn’t, the school district could be liable.
New laws regarding education for children with special needs also require time-sensitive communications, as well as hours of meetings and collaboration. Teachers, therapists, principals and students need communications tools that are equipped to handle these laws and requirements to do their jobs.
5. IT directors face new challenges.
IT professionals have long dealt with an environment that is rapidly changing. But only recently have those changes made their way into the classroom. Many classes now use Chromebooks, Macs, PCs, Smartboards and a Wi-Fi infrastructure that allows them to access cloud software, like the G Suite.
They are also expected to provide functional and updated communications software for their respective districts. But with E-Rate shrinking and eventually going away, administrators and elected officials are looking to do more with less when it comes to technology and communications. But just as there are grants for student technology, there is also help for IT directors in the form of NJPA, a government agency that streamlines the purchasing process while meeting RFP guidelines and providing competitively solicited purchasing contracts.
6. People need to be notified on a large scale.
Never before has society had the communications tools we have today. Notifications are expected, on everything from our email to the latest Words with Friends activity.
Schools are also expected to communicate both minor and major announcements to large swaths of parents, students and staff. Emergency alerts, weather alerts and even schedule reminders or changes can now be communicated from one central district location to any combination of groups that deal with the district. Whether parents need to fill out prom paperwork or students need to know the next football game has been rescheduled, mass notification is important in today’s society.
Digital transformation is changing the way students, parents, teachers and administrators interact. Find out how Raytown Quality Schools improved the district’s communications experience.