Key Aspects of Information Technology that Support Remote Learning
This past year’s switch to remote learning highlighted the need for schools to have reliable information technology. Even though students will be returning to the classroom in many locations, remote delivery of educational services will remain a part of schools’ mission. School systems should assess the challenges of the past year and their future requirements to make certain they can meet these key aspects of IT services:
Protecting data and users from malicious individuals is always important, but even more so in the context of schools, where end users may be underage and particularly vulnerable to malware, phishing scams, and social engineering methods. Cybersecurity in schools requires multiple approaches.
Traditional security tools such as VPNs, encryption, and identity management are important, as is user training. In addition, new emphasis needs to be given to selecting secure communication platforms, to ensure online classrooms can’t be invaded by uninvited guests. Additional emphasis should also be placed on monitoring usage to make sure student data is kept safe.
There are two kinds of availability school systems need to be aware of. The first is availability of the school’s software, which can often be achieved through use of the cloud, which provides redundancy to reduce the risks of backups. The second type of availability concerns availability to students who may not have reliable WiFi, cellphones, or computers to use to access their coursework.
To meet these needs, schools may need to migrate applications to the cloud; they may also need to deploy virtual desktop infrastructure. School systems that distribute new devices to students who need them need to build new processes for tracking these resources. Schools also need to emphasize help desk services to help all students access online learning resources, whether they’re using their own devices or devices provided by the school.
Remote learning places much more demand on the network than classroom-based learning. All resources need to be scalable to support greatly increased demand. Networks may need to be expanded with additional capacity to ensure students have an acceptable experience.
The end goal of this, of course, is to provide students with an exciting and educational experience. Once the basic requirements are met, the features of cloud—including agility and ease of accessing and experimenting with new technology—allows schools to be innovative in developing new online experiences for students.
Prescient Solutions offers comprehensive information technology support for education, including both on-site and cloud-based, remote services. Affordable fees and a shared services model make expert IT capabilities available to even the smallest school system. Contact Prescient Solutions to discuss the challenges you’re facing due to the shift to remote learning and how we can help you leverage technology to deliver top-grade educational IT services to your students, staff, and faculty.