Having the right technology in place for your school that’s fully aligned with your pedagogy, brings clear improvements in teaching and learning. But that isn’t the only benefit – the time and cost savings are tangible too.
Moving to the cloud, for instance, mitigates the cost of maintaining expensive servers on site that sit idle for more than a third of the year. You can instead host a server in the Microsoft Azure cloud where you only pay for the time you are using, or perhaps utilise the some of the free applications that negate the need for traditional servers altogether.
In many scenarios it may not be possible to entirely move to the cloud, but a few small steps can help you save a large amount of money whilst also transforming the way your school uses technology.
When this is combined with productivity apps such as those in Office 365 and a management tool such as Microsoft’s Enterprise Mobility Suite, you can benefit from a powerful cloud-based platform that costs just a fraction of what a school would normally pay for their IT over a five-year period.
When selecting the right technology, it’s important to seek expert advice to help your school understand the potential of what can be done with different apps and devices, as well as the potential downfalls. Once you have identified the technology best suited to the learning environment, it’s then vital to invest time in training to ensure that technology is embedded and works for your whole school.
Free apps like Office 365 and Google Apps for Education can have a transformative effect on the way a teacher works - enabling them to set and collect homework projects, mark and provide feedback in realtime and capture evidence. When implemented correctly, many of these tools can be used to replace expensive software such as VLEs or additional servers that are doing the same job.
When we show teachers how easy it is to use these tools and the amount of time it can save them, we get a remarkable reaction. For example, Google Apps for Education allows pupils to learn in a way that’s similar to the way they live.
Conversely, Apple devices and software can enable pupils to produce e-books in minutes using iBook Creator. Apple have also just announced a number of new features that promise to significantly improve shared iPad / iOS device usage and management as well as providing some powerful classroom teacher tools.
What is definitely quantifiable is the impact technology has on teaching and learning when it doesn’t work. When it gets in the way of a lesson being delivered, you lose vital teaching time that cannot be recovered.
When you see technology truly embedded in a school, you can see a positive impact on everything in the school community – we’ve seen schools go from Special Measures to Outstanding, and those schools have attributed a large part of the credit to the way they changed their use of technology.
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