IT managers, you’ll be happy to hear that technology has significantly risen on the school agenda this year. School leaders and teachers increasingly agree with the benefits of tech, not just as an educational tool, but for the improvement of overall school processes and administrative duties.
According to our State of Technology in Education 2019/20 report, nearly 40% of SMT members want to use technology to boost collaboration across the school (nearly double that of 2017/18). This may have big implications for your role in the school — as strategic advisor, technology manager and IT support.
Here’s how the increased use of tech in schools could impact your IT roadmap:
1. Investments will be less reactive
Promoting the use of new technology to the SMT may have been met with resistance before, but now your expertise will be essential as part of the wider school strategy. Until now, your IT budget was probably absorbed by replacing outdated or broken devices or updating software. With the whole school taking a more digital approach, however, the ongoing roadmap will be more strategic than reactive.
As budgets seem unlikely to improve in the near future, your insight on longevity and return will be invaluable. Schools must establish which edtech investments will meet the extensive learning needs of the pupils whilst also solving problems like improving teachers’ workloads, staff communication and internal collaboration.
2. You’ll spend less time upkeeping outdated tech
Good news — with the whole school taking technology more seriously, the days of keeping outdated hardware alive well beyond its natural lifecycle could be nearing an end.
In a move towards interactive tech that is upgradeable and increasingly future-proof, like Promethean ActivPanels, your time will be spent identifying ways in which this new tech can meet the evolving needs of the pupils and school staff, instead.
3. Staff will need a targeted training program
With more budget allocated to tech that can improve processes, as well as boost learning techniques, teachers and other staff will need robust training to maximise these investments. Currently, only a meagre 16.5% of teachers say they have adequate edtech training and support.
In this year’s State of Technology in Education report, teachers have also highlighted a desire for more edtech training, but this comes alongside an increasingly hectic work schedule. For that reason, training programmes will need to be targeted and collaborative to meet a range of different needs and challenges.
“More investment is needed in providing technology in schools. Not just the purchasing of hardware—more training is required for the teachers. They need to be more confident in using technology, and move with the times at the same pace as technology does.”
IT/Network Manager, Free school, Primary Phase up to Sixth Form, North West
To take the pressure off internal resources, it’s also worth asking if your tech partner offers extended support and ongoing training. That way, your investment is more than a one-off cost — it returns value to your school over and over again.
4. Digital security will be at its highest
Schools have always taken safeguarding and security extremely seriously. But with a higher number of potential gateways to sensitive data, your focus on digital security will need to be paramount.
Your future IT roadmap will include keeping fully up-to-date with the latest digital security trends, encryption practices and cybersecurity software to keep pupils and staff safe from potential corruption. Your policies will also need to be reviewed on a regular basis to keep on top of evolving threats and prevent any data or new system being compromised.
Want to read more stats on schools’ IT strategies and investments? For these and more insight into the views of classroom teachers and educational leaders, download the latest The State of Technology in Education 2019/20 report.