Digital transformation — the rapid evolution of technology to connect people, things, and information — has been a business trend for years. Upon graduating, many high school students will enter a workforce where employees spend more than six hours daily using digital tools to communicate.

To prepare students to thrive in these digital environments, elementary and high schools must embrace digital transformation, passing on benefits to administrators, staffers, and parents. Amid this transformation, schools have several considerations about how digital transformation is altering the educational experience. Here we look at the top six education technology trends your school should prepare for.

parents interacting more with teachers and administrators

1. Increased parent interaction 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. But even beyond meeting in person, parents look to digital mediums for important contact from teachers and administrators.

So important messages can get lost when a parent receives 300 or more emails from teachers in a year. Instead, collaboration and communication tools can help parents, teachers, and administrators better communicate in one location using one app for messaging, to-do lists, and even submitting homework.

students with teacher being educated

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. If the technology in the traditional classroom isn’t there to facilitate their learning, they have STEM, charter, and private school options that will afford them the technology they need.

Whether 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.

school staff utilizing video chat resource for school

3. Staffers can utilize more resources.

District staff often looks for open educational resources and tries to accommodate new curricula like common core. Teachers now turn to YouTube, 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.

school board legislation group listening

4. Legislation demands changes.

More oversight by state and federal governments 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 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 and hours of meetings and collaboration. Teachers, therapists, principals, and students need communications tools equipped to handle these laws and requirements to do their jobs.

IT director facing digital challenges

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 districts. But with E-Rate shrinking and eventually going away, administrators and elected officials are looking to do more with less regarding technology and communications. But just as there are grants for student technology, there is also help for IT directors in the form of Sourcewell, which takes the burden of RFPs off of government, education, and nonprofits.

large group of people being notified

6. People need to be notified on a large scale.

Never has society had the communications tools we have today. Notifications are expected on everything from our email to the latest Wordle activity.

Schools are also expected to communicate minor and significant 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 essential today.

Digital transformation is changing how students, parents, teachers, and administrators interact. Find out how Raytown Quality Schools improved the district’s communications experience.

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