Schools across the globe have been revolutionized in recent years, with the introduction of increasingly sophisticated technology to the classroom. Having computers in schools is not a new idea, but technological developments over the last decade have opened up fresh and exciting opportunities to enhance and improve the way in which students learn.
Although this is widely viewed as a positive step, it presents problems to many schools, colleges and universities, including how to source the funds for buying and maintaining this equipment, and ensuring it’s kept safe at all times.
Purchasing Technological Equipment
Funding is probably the biggest issue that schools are facing. Few people question the validity of exploring technology alongside education, but there just isn’t always the funding available to secure enough high-quality equipment.
In order to ensure the success of technological investment, schools are left with little choice other than to go for state of the art equipment, which doesn’t come cheaply but is more likely to go the distance.
Some schools opt for a buy-in scheme, which gives students the option to use tablets and laptops at school in return for a partial payment for its upkeep. The downside of this, of course, is that not all families have this money available.
The alternative is taking existing computers and using some of the school’s budget to upgrade them with new software occasionally, spreading the cost and improving quality over time. Many schools are opting for this method, since it’s significantly cheaper and they avoid having to throw out existing equipment.
Maintaining a School’s Technological Equipment
Once a school does invest in new technology, it becomes paramount to ensure it’s well maintained. There usually needs to be at least one member of staff responsible for overseeing the use of this equipment and checking that sufficient virus protection and anti-spyware software is in place.
Setting up a firewall (a protection system) and ensuring that all users follow strict rules when using the equipment are successful ways to protect the equipment.
Schools with dedicated IT departments might consider running projects on computer maintenance and training students on how to carry out the above tasks, providing valuable support to IT personnel at no extra cost.
Keeping Technological Equipment Safe
Then there’s the physical safety of valuable technological equipment. Tablets in particular are vulnerable to damage due to their portable nature. Specialist lockers that are specifically designed to keep iPads and other tablets safe from harm are a popular investment, keeping them well protected while they’re not in use.
Lockers such as these make it simple to run a system of borrowing and returning tablets, much like books in a library.
Access For All
Giving all students access to advanced technology could mean a revolutionary approach to education. By considering ways around any financial or logistical obstacles, most schools can certainly improve their technological offerings, and will probably enjoy a surge in student engagement and achievement as a result.
Written by Sam Luther, a writer working with schools and colleges.