Sep 03 - 4min readBack to School: Getting Ahead of the Curve Through TechBy Jennifer Green
With children in the UK back to school this week, eyes are on the education sector in the UK. Across many sectors, digital transformation is revolutionising the workplace of today, specifically during the global pandemic. Data analytics, automation, smart devices and cloud computing are assisting professionals get their work done more efficiently which alleviates the burden of repetitive tasks and enabling them to focus on more valuable activities. However, the education sector remains far behind the curve.
While some UK schools are taking steps to embrace new technology, from virtual classrooms to digital assignments, such changes only scratch the surface of what’s possible. To ensure the UK’s education system remains competitive, and to ease teachers’ growing workload, there’s a pressing need for schools to embrace a deeper digital transformation. For example, rebuilding processes and working practices for a more efficient, engaging environment – for both students and for staff.
Modernise Underlying Tech
First off, it is important to ensure the existing tech infrastructure of schools can support increasingly sophisticated digital processes. Cloud computing can provide cost-effective computer resources, as well as superior flexibility and agility to incorporate new capabilities and services. For example, clod-based services such as ‘Moodle Cloud’ enable remote access to educational resources, so students can benefit from the tech they use in the classroom when studying on their own devices at home.
Schools are no strangers to data, especially when it comes to handling sensitive data daily. With the introduction of GDPR a few years ago, the education sector needs to be comprehensive in their oversight of how sensitive data is processed and stored.
Data is a valuable resource. Schools can apply more advanced tools to their data to streamline planning and decision-making processes. For example, it could be possible to create alerts that could signal a potential drop in academic performance though the monitoring of this data which could assist staff in allocating additional support to students. Consolidating the underlying data infrastructure, eliminating information siloes and using cloud-based data management will be essential to address compliance concerns, and to provide the foundation for useful analytics-based tools.
A comprehensive data-management infrastructure will pave the way for automation frameworks that can take away the burden of repetitive tasks such as information distribution, student communications and evaluation.
Automating these tasks will help teachers gain a greater oversight into student performance at scale, while also saving them time and allowing them to work on more important tasks, such as creating new, interactive learning experiences.
Digital products can serve numerous different purposes in a school environment, but a standout feature that products can provide is classroom management integration. Apps that allow for more classroom management flexibility are very popular amongst teachers who are looking for ways to best optimize their and their students scheduling. Being able to sync student class enrolment, provide easy to find class scheduling, or subject scheduling across different platforms can be an invaluable tool for making classrooms run smoothly.
The connection between the synchronisation of classroom smart devices, including things like Interactive Flat Panels, tablets, and visualisers, also can benefit the administration’s ability to work better. Using a hub point connection administrators are even able to update all the classroom devices from one location or to make announcements easily and vibrantly.
Being able to synchronize learning assignments and grades directly to students through apps provides the opportunity to better make sure that projects are completed and that feedback is provided in a timelier manner. This can create a more fluid project-based learning environment where students can use assignment tracking to build early project management skills and improve their scheduling abilities.
Another important part of digital products in the classroom is their ability to bring about more connections and collaboration. Teachers can easily sync together all a classroom’s devices to provide for an interactive lesson experience. This level of connectivity allows students and teachers to instantly explore new subjects and communicate their ideas.
This flexibility not only allows for new teaching tools to be tried in the classroom, but can help to drive more 1-on-1 teacher to student interactions. 1-on-1 teacher interaction helps young learners to grow at their own pace and provides the teacher with more knowledge about their students’ interests and their progress.
The Direction Is Digital
Digital transformation is essential to ensure the education sector is ready for the future, and classrooms should be as digitally mature as the workplaces students will soon enter.
The technology for digital educational experiences is already there: the ed-tech industry is predicted to be worth £129bn by the end of 2020. To prepare for the classrooms of the future, schools could make sure their underlying infrastructure and processes, from data and compute resources to rules around device use, are ready to adapt to a digitally driven world.