IT Services for Education What’s Working?

October 2nd, 2018 by admin

How Educational Institutions are Harnessing IT Solutions and IT Services

Technology has been an enabler of increased productivity and countless consumer innovations. In education, we have witnessed the appearance of Massive Open Online Course (MOCC) platforms, that leverage technologies like cloud computing to provide low or no-cost education to thousands of participants. Traditional classrooms have been shy about embracing technology as a way to improve the learning experience. But over the last 5 years, the pace at which technology has been disrupting and transforming traditional classrooms has been accelerating. In modern academia, the provision of dependable IT and dedicated technical support has become crucial to learning. The average school or college operates a vast array of networked computers, tablets, and managed mobile devices, to support their daily activities. In this scenario, it’s clear that schools need a solid foundation of information technology -- not only to keep their operations running smoothly but also to help students learn technology systems as they prepare for the future. Schools have unique needs when it comes to IT. In this article, we are going to talk about some of the most useful IT Services leveraged within education and how they are transforming the way institutions teach and learn.

What IT Services Are Educational Institutions Using?

Cloud Migration Services - According to a 2016 report from CDW•G, 67 percent of school IT solutions are delivered fully or partially through the cloud. That’s up from 42 percent in 2014. From email, storage, and web hosting, to collaboration portals and specialized mobile learning (m-learning) solutions, schools around America are embracing the benefits of cloud computing at an unprecedented pace. One common use of cloud computing in education institutions revolves around document management solutions to reduce the amount of paper, automate processes and improve the authoring and sharing of documents. Another frequent use is cloud document storage, which allows students and teachers to share documents and collaborate seamlessly. Cloud computing has also enabled m-learning solutions to be an essential part of any modern classroom. M-learning solutions are based on the cloud and are accessible from multiple platforms - allowing students to access educational content directly from their mobile devices. The survey mentioned above, also found that even as schools move a set of IT functions to the cloud, IT professionals continue to harbor concerns about data privacy and security -- which bring us to our next point: Cybersecurity.
  • Cybersecurity and Disaster Recovery - Educational institutions need to protect their students, their staff, and their data. Unauthorized access to private data can harm the reputation of any school. A properly implemented security strategy should provide a safe environment for students and teachers to collaborate and share information. Continuous monitoring against emerging threats, regular patches and software updates are essential elements of a cybersecurity strategy
Cybersecurity services in educational environments should also include regular backup procedures that enable data, applications, and configurations to be rapidly restored if an outage should occur - reducing downtime so students and teachers can go back to learning as soon as possible.
  • Day-to-Day Managed IT Services – For a long time now, Managed IT Services have allowed companies to reduce their IT spending and make better use of their IT budget. It’s only natural that schools should leverage the same benefits that businesses realize from Managed IT Services.
Managed IT Services in the context of an educational institution usually includes the maintenance of the IT infrastructure, cybersecurity configuration, and remote monitoring services. Monitoring helps identify potential problems before they have an impact on the school’s IT environment - ensuring the best uptime possible. IT services requests go through a Help Desk or IT Services Desk to streamline the answering of IT questions or troubleshooting. One of the most significant advantages of Managed IT Services is that this IT services delivery model provides for predictable IT budgeting and removes the worry and hassle of break/fix bills and contractors.
  • Video Conferencing and Collaboration Services - Video conferencing and collaboration solutions can enhance the learning experience. Having an expert from across the world lecture via video feed is now commonplace in classrooms. Video conferencing and collaboration services can open limitless possibilities for students and teachers.
As the speed of wireless networks increases, more and more schools around the country are adopting video conferencing as a way to remove the barriers of the physical world.
  • Network Infrastructure and Wireless 
Most IT services rely on network infrastructure to function properly. Initiatives like video conferencing services, cloud storage and BOYD (Bring Your Own Device) would not be possible without a reliable and secure wireless network. When designing and implementing your wireless network infrastructure, make security your number one priority. Capacity is another significant factor - designing and implementing a network that can handle the density of the classroom during learning hours. Students spend use their mobile devices outside the classroom and are used to their devices. Using a medium that is familiar to them can ease the adoption of new learning technologies. Bring Your Own Device initiatives will play a key role in the modern classroom. By using their personal devices in the classroom, students can efficiently collaborate on projects - even with students from other schools - and enrich their learning experience. BOYD initiatives also have the potential of helping schools save on IT infrastructure, as computer labs, quickly become obsolete. Thus, reducing the numbers of computers that need to be procured and maintained.
  • Cloud Storage  - With Cloud storage, the days of “my dog ate my homework” are long gone. Cloud storage solutions enable students and teachers to share documents and edit them in real time - improving the way they collaborate.
Cloud Storage in the school is also good for the planet. Having documents stored in a central repository that is accessed by role-based permissions eliminates the need for printing and copying classroom material.

What Do We Learn About IT Services for Education?

The changes in technologies such as cloud computing have triggered new trends that are likely to define how we deliver education in the future. The most successful school districts and institutions of higher learning are the ones that innovate. Leveraging and embracing technology is the key to greater innovation. Partnering with an experienced IT Services provider that has a proven track record of helping educational institutions in the adoption of technology can greatly reduce implementation times and reduce the associated risks. TOTLCOM works with schools to improve their maintenance, support, and network infrastructure while optimizing their IT spending. Our team understands the challenges of utilizing technology within the educational process. Looking for more helpful articles? Check out these three! 3 Questions To Ask Your Tech Support Company Can My IT Company Help Us Communicate Efficiently? Non-Profit Digital Developments for 2018

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