How Technology Can Bolster K-12 Curriculum
With new E-rate funding available to school districts across the country, it’s a great time for superintendents to make tech investments that can drive a better curriculum.
Every year, parents, students, teachers, and staff look to district superintendents to build a plan for the future of their schools. In the face of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis (and with the rise of the delta variant), the pressure is as high as ever. While superintendents have a lot to consider right now, one of the most important things they can do to support their schools is to have a plan in place for their governmental E-rate funds. Strategically allocating these funds can have a major positive impact on schools and their curricula far into the future.
This fall, it’s important that superintendents focus on Category Two E-rate funds, which are specifically designated for improving the network infrastructure within a building. While schools can use E-rate for a variety of measures, Category Two funds are designed for purchases of any onsite hardware that supports better network connectivity, including new routers, switches, wireless access points, and controllers. For superintendents who are in charge of designing curriculum, these funds offer a great opportunity to adopt technology that can create a better learning environment.
How Technology Can Improve Your Curriculum
As K-12 education continues to advance, technology can benefit not only students, but also teachers and staff who need to be supported in the face of educational transformation. For instance, properly implemented technology can boost:
- Communication and Collaboration: Not only does education technology enable teachers to engage directly with individual students during lessons, but students are also able to communicate with each other while learning. Online learning games and lessons give students the opportunity to work together to solve problems while sharing their ideas and supporting each other.
- Personalized Learning: Whether used for remote, hybrid, or in-person learning, technology enables educators to create tailored learning plans for each student. Not only are students better able to learn at their own pace, but teachers can also create personalized lessons based on student strengths and interests. Plus, the data collected through online activities gives teachers better insight into which students are struggling and where, so they can provide targeted support, which also increases teacher productivity and efficiency.
- Curiosity: Engaging educational content can spark inquisitiveness in children — something that research shows is directly tied to academic success. By creating more engaging content through the use of videos, AR, podcasts, and more, teachers can integrate engaging content that boosts curiosity into their curricula, leading to a better learning experience for students.
The Challenges of Adopting New Technology
In spite of all these benefits, there are also some challenges that come with adopting new technology. The most common challenges are tied to:
- Cybersecurity: Whenever you add new devices to a network, you open up new potential attack vectors for bad actors. For schools, that can be a major point of concern. At a time when attacks on schools are on the rise, it’s more important than ever to implement cybersecurity solutions that will secure existing technology along with any new tech brought in.
- Budgets: School budgets are frequently squeezed, and it often feels like they are getting even smaller. Allocating money to technology upgrades when funds are already so limited can be tough, but thanks to Category Two E-rate funding that’s specifically dedicated to technology, making these upgrades is easier than ever.
- Staff Training: One of the biggest challenges schools face when implementing new technology is the substantial staff training that is required. Without training that emphasizes how to make the most of new tools, some teachers end up using tech for tech’s sake, instead of actually integrating it into their curricula with clear learning objectives. Superintendents looking to invest in new technology need to make sure they also invest in staff training.
Although these are real challenges, they can all be mitigated with thoughtful interventions. Given how significant the benefits of technology are for schools, these challenges shouldn’t be viewed as barriers. Instead, schools that work with an experienced tech partner can overcome these obstacles and create a better learning environment for both students and educators.
Leading the Charge into the Future
As a superintendent, it’s up to you to make sure that your district is not just up to today’s standards, but that it’s leading the charge. A major part of that is having a plan in place for technology adoption.
Reaping the benefits of new technology without crumbling under the challenges depends on having the funding to purchase new solutions, the network infrastructure to support new tech, and staff that’s able to make the most of resources. The best way to achieve all these goals is by working with the experts at Turn-key Technologies, Inc. (TTI).
TTI can work with you to secure the E-rate funding you’re entitled to, allocate budgets to get your school the most while spending less, and train staff members to use your new tools. Plus, TTI will support your solutions long after they’ve been installed, so your district never needs to worry about tech breaking down. If you want to learn more about how TTI can help your school district, contact us today to talk to an E-rate expert!
By Tony Ridzyowski