Why Technology Must Be a Priority in K-12 Education

Apr 25, 2016 10:16:26 AM


Technology in K-12 schools used to consist of filmstrip and overhead projectors, ditto machines and calculators. Today, instead of sending little Johnny to the library to get the heavy overhead projector that has to be rolled through the halls on a cart, you simply open an application on a tablet. Instead of having the teacher stand in front of the class and point to static images on a screen, each student has videos and interactive content at his or her fingertips.

As learning continues to transition from class lectures to personalized instruction, schools face pressure to provide a more interactive, engaging learning environment. The right technology is essential to creating such an environment. Schools must be able to support a wide range of devices, especially if they have a bring-your-own-device policy, so students have equal access to rich-media learning materials regardless of device.

The formerly rigid structure of the classroom is changing to become more flexible and enable more collaboration. Blackboards and whiteboards are being replaced by interactive smartboards and floorboards. Online learning has expanded education beyond classroom walls and school campuses to reach virtually any location. Interaction between teachers, students and parents can occur anytime, anywhere.

In fact, more and more school districts are adopting the flipped classroom model in which students watch lessons online at their own pace, and participate in online discussions with teachers and fellow students. The classroom is reserved for “homework” – interactive activities that help students master concepts while receiving support from the teacher. The flipped classroom is based on the premise that educational technology and activity-based learning should heavily influence the classroom environment.

Schools must have sophisticated IT infrastructure to support computer-adaptive testing, which uses software to dynamically adjust the difficulty of test questions based upon the individual student’s responses. For example, if a student gets a question wrong, the next question might be easier. If a student gets a question right, the next one might be more difficult. This provides teachers with a more accurate evaluation of each student’s knowledge rather than needing to create tests for the lowest common denominator. More personalized instruction can be developed and better results can be achieved in less time.

Campus safety continues to be a major concern in K-12 education as schools struggle to prevent violent and non-violent crimes. IP video surveillance and physical access controls are critical to preventing or quickly responding to incidents ranging from shootings to bullying to theft. Stored video footage can be used to uncover evidence during investigations and protect schools and staff against fraudulent liability claims.

The modern K-12 school, with online learning, flipped classrooms, computer-adaptive testing, and heightened campus safety concerns, needs the right blend of technology to meet these requirements. Schools need wireless networking that can support high user densities and bandwidth-heavy applications. At the same time, schools require IP communications tools and services that make collaboration easy and intuitive. While schools must have mobile device management to control network access they also need need IP video surveillance and multilayered IT security to protect students and sensitive data.

That may sound like a tall order when budgets and headcounts are always in danger of being cut. But with a strong technology partner that understands the unique needs of K-12 schools, you can deploy cost-effective, integrated solutions that support your educational and safety objectives. Let Pivot Technology Solutions develop a forward-thinking IT strategy and implement solutions that meet today’s educational needs.

by John Flores

Topics: Blog

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