We live in a futuristic, innovative world of smart phones, watches, cars and even clothing, but what about smart learning? The future is happening now. Is your district leveraging technology tools to advance students’ education and achieve district success?
Technology can be employed in several facets of a district to enhance the educational environment. Tools can be applied within the administration, classroom, school campus, and students’ homes to advance district performance and create a tech-savvy learning community.
Tools for the Administration
CTOs and district administrators can adopt a variety of advanced technology to help increase efficiencies. With 90 percent of districts expecting their tech budgets to stay the same or increase in 2015, according to MDR’s State of the K-12 Market 2014 report, you’ll want to be certain your district is getting the most out of its technology investments. Tech-savvy districts know that tools with the ability to streamline business practices can save valuable time and money. Invest in a technology solution that facilitates multipart processes like hiring, payroll, time and attendance, and new student enrollment. An integrated online platform can simplify human resources and finance procedures for all district users, so more time and attention can be focused on students.
Data analysis is another important need districts can meet by leveraging technology solutions. Several platforms allow administrators, including CTOs, to collect and perform student data analysis without the help of a third party. Tech-savvy districts require a smart tool with the capacity to deliver customized data in an easy-to-read format to its users based upon their role. A data analytics tool with the ability to give its users everything from an overview of district data to specific records has become a necessity for districts looking to accurately evaluate student performance trends, validate instructional programs, and gain an overview of district expenditures.
Professional development is the final key component for technology-proficient districts and their CTOs to take advantage of. According to MDR’s report, 43 percent of districts are citing technology budget increases in teacher training. One simply cannot become savvy without a bit of dedicated learning. Does your district have a professional development program for technology? If not, consider investing in an online training center that provides all district users with a self-paced, individualized program to ensure they get the most out of your investment.
Tools for the Classroom
Teachers and students can learn from each other when it comes to implementing new technology in the classroom. The use of tech tools and hands-on approaches helps keep students engaged while learning. According to the Association of American Educators’ 2015 National Membership Survey, 92 percent of teachers are already using technology in the classroom. If your district isn’t, there’s no better time than the present to get started.
Technology integration will become more prevalent in classrooms of the future. Consider implementing tools like tablets, 3D printers, interactive whiteboards and QR codes. You can also try out tech programs such as BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), multimedia production and game-based learning. Improve lesson delivery and enhance your students’ engagement in learning by connecting them with instructional material that’s interactive and works in real-time.
Tech-savvy communities are created when districts carry out smooth curriculum integration of technology tools in the classroom. Remember: 55 percent of education leaders say their district will spend more time incorporating new and increased instructional technology this year. Don’t let your students fall behind.
Tools for the Campus
Campus security is a consistent point of concern for many districts. More campuses are leveraging advanced technology to keep students secure and take preventative safety measures. According to the DA survey, 62 percent of districts plan to focus on tech-based security including cameras and biometric entry this year. Biometric readers and additional security and attendance devices are proactive tools districts can use to confirm the status of students. This technology can be especially valuable for districts responsible for large student populations.
High-speed Internet access is also an increasing need for districts looking to create technology-proficient education communities. Sixty-six percent of education leaders see Internet and Wi-Fi infrastructure as the new tech investment in their district, according to the DA survey. Providing a network that can manage multiple devices for all students has become essential for today’s districts. Furthermore, data privacy remains an important concern for parents, students and administrators. District CTOs must maintain a technology solution capable of providing top-notch security, storage and backup for users.
Tools for the Home
With all the advancements in education technology, districts must introduce a tech-segue into students’ homes and afterschool environments so that knowledge gained during the school day can be practiced and retained. Many districts utilize supplemental online courses and quizzes, which students complete at home. Practicing email etiquette and participating in a class blog are also great ways for students to continue using the tools and technology they learn. These tools can also help prepare students for college-style courses or the workforce environment.
Allowing students and their families to access a portal-like platform from home is also a smart investment worth considering. Districts that have adopted a user-friendly family and student platform – where parents can stay updated on grades, attendance and even food service information – see positive results in student performance. When communication lines are opened among parents, teachers, administrators and students, everyone can work together to improve student outcomes throughout the district.
With tech tools available for administrators, classrooms, school campuses and students’ homes, it’s important to keep in mind that at the end of the day it’s not all about the smart technology devices and new tools at hand. District CTOs must remember that an investment in new technology and the ability to leverage these tools is ultimately for the benefit of students. We live in a “smart world,” and our students require similar quality learning environments. Make an investment in smart learning initiatives to promote enhanced engagement and improve outcomes for your district’s students. The tech-savvy district of the future is achievable now.
Would you like to learn more about how advanced technology can be used to achieve success in your district? Get in touch with us today! We have some great ideas based on more than 30 years of experience helping district administrators just like you. Have a success story to share? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, and let us know your thoughts. Your comments are always welcome and encouraged.
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