Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Australia’s education sector has rapidly been shifting classes online to reduce the likelihood of the virus’ transmission and to ensure the continuity of teaching and learning.
As schools and universities continue to navigate this uncertain time, an Australian crisis management tech firm has been helping them to keep students safe, manage international enrollments, maintain duty of care for employees and ensure business continuity.
Noggin, which has been helping organisations improve incident management and organisational resilience since 2009, worked with Rural Fire Service to assist in the crisis management response for affected and at-risk communities, and more recently released a module to help Australian businesses prepare for, and manage their response to, the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Epidemic Response Module (ERM) encompasses solutions for business continuity, crisis management, travel risk management, and worker safety interventions.
Below, The Educator speaks to Noggin CEO James Boddam-Whetham about how schools and universities can be proactive in managing their response to the crisis as it continues to evolve.
TE: What are some of the key opportunities you see for the education sector during the COVID-19 crisis?
JB: Faced with the COVID-19 crisis, colleges and universities were some of the first actors to close down physical operations completely and migrate online. They were uniquely positioned to, because of the sector’s (including primary and tertiary institutions) embrace of digital learning techniques. The sector now has an opportunity to be ahead of the curve, when it comes to online learning, embracing new models of engagement, for instance, that might be models for corporations. We’ve seen teaching centers within educational institutions, in particular, surmount their students’ physical, emotional, and technological barriers to access, which in my world sounds like an important story of organisational resilience.
TE: Can you tell us how Noggin are working with Australian K-12 schools and helping them during this uncertain time?
JB: We’ve been working closely with schools on crisis and disruption management for some time now so the conversations we’re having with schools about the benefits of our free Noggin COVID-19 Response Module are natural extensions of that support. School leaders and principals reflexively grasp the value of having one robust system for handling both the risk of school interruption as well as the reality. The fact the Noggin system is available on mobile devices becomes even more important for school leaders in this moment of remote work and fragmented workplaces. For schools weighing the decision to close, in particular, situational awareness of how COVID-19 is impacting their communities is critical.
TE: I understand Noggin also works closely with some major Australian universities. How is technology helping this sector navigate the serious challenges it is facing?
JB: Universities who already have online learning systems in place are perhaps best positioned to navigate the serious learning challenge that face them, which is their core mission. Our free Noggin COVID-19 Response Module helps to support, providing universities a more efficient means to navigate the other aspects of the crisis lifecycle, activating and accessing plans on their mobile devices, better situational awareness which might be important for international study/travel commitments, and case management for affected staff. Finally, technology gives universities just a better way to issue internal crisis communications to staff, students, and parents who have no precedent for the current situation.