COVID-19 has caused a seismic shift in the digital transformation of schools.
In the largest online movement in education - ever - remote and blended classrooms have become the new norm. Change, particularly when thrust upon us, brings challenges for those involved, in this case not only students, but teachers and IT support staff in schools.
So, what are the issues arising from the mass move to distance and blended classrooms, and what upgrades do schools need to support teachers and IT staff?
Recent reports, including a study by the Education Week Research Center, a US based organisation which conducts research in the education sector, and a survey by Absolute, a security solutions company, provide some valuable insights:
The shift to distance and hybrid models of learning means demand for devices has soared as teachers and students suddenly had a far greater reliance on mobiles and digital tools. Learning outcomes may be compromised due to device limitations.
Managing and maintaining equipment is tougher
Not only are there more devices, but these devices are also on the move. With hybrid learning they could be located in the classroom or computer labs, or in students’ homes. This makes managing IT inventory, maintaining equipment, and troubleshooting a tougher task.
Demand for IT assistance has soared
IT teams have gone from supporting teaching staff to helping just about every student and parent with a remote learning issue.
Teachers are doing IT instead of teaching
Nearly 90% of teachers reported spending more time troubleshooting IT issues, consuming valuable education time, and causing teacher frustration.
In summary, schools, large and small, find themselves in uncharted waters. To support teachers and the success of students, it’s more critical than ever that schools are equipped with the right tech tools.
According to survey findings from CDW Corporation, a provider of technology products, IT leaders in the education sector, have identified the top three technology tools key to engaging students in online learning whilst simultaneously simplifying workflow for teachers. These are:
Collaborative tools and apps (53%)
Collaborative tools allow people to work together as a group and share ideas and content instantly. An important aspect of in-person teaching is group work and brainstorming. Collaborative tools mean that valuable soft skills which are derived from these activities, such a teamwork, can still be achieved with online learning.
Storage tools (41%)
These can range from USB flash drives and solid-state drives to cloud storage.
File-sharing tools (39%)
File sharing tools allow several people to use the same file or files with various levels of access allowing the selected people to read it, modify it, copy it, or print it.
In addition, with equipment spread between schools and homes, a centralised device management system is another essential to be considered for hybrid learning. In short, when purchasing new technology, schools need to consider precisely how the device will allow class interaction, collaboration, file sharing and IT management.
Whilst the challenges are many, with the BenQ smart projector, the solution is simple. This innovative classroom projector is:
Designed for collaboration
The wireless mirroring makes casting teaching content to students’ devices a breeze, and everyone can share comments. Students can give presentations straight from their own mobile or laptop. The built-in Firefox Web browser gives easy access to any digital learning platform and teaching material. WPS Office allows for the creation of documents collaboratively between teacher and students in the class.
Equipped with a Device Management Solution (DMS)
This allows IT staff easy remote access and control over the settings of the smart projector or a group of projectors. And the Over-The-Air (OTA) firmware updates make maintenance effortless, helping reduce the workload of IT support staff.
Suitable for file sharing both offline and online
Offline sharing is easy. The smart projector has USB reading capabilities to allow direct casting of all file formats – no laptop needed. As for online sharing the smart projector is equipped with an Account Management System (AMS) which enables easy access and management of teaching files directly over the cloud.
COVID-19 has had a staggering impact on K-12 education and education technology – and will continue to do so for some time. Periodic outbreaks of COVID-19 are to be expected, meaning schools will need the ability to seamlessly transition between distance, face to face and hybrid learning. The right tools for the task have never been so essential.
This is a tool that makes it easier to engage students and allows teachers to deliver more with less effort. The BenQ classroom projector - meeting the challenges posed by digital transformation head on.