Earlier this month, a report revealed that a growing number of school leaders are being pushed to the brink by massive workloads and conflict with the parent community.
Principals are working an average of about 55.2 hours a week during the school term, with approximately 97.3% reporting they work over 40 hours a week. Approximately 72.4% reported working over 50 hours a week.
However, certain technological innovations are helping principals reduce their own workloads and streamline learning, tailor technology to individual students’ learning needs and even improve their digital privacy both in and outside of school grounds.
In January, Myles Carrick, director of customer success at Instructure, identified three emerging trends that schools should have on their radar in 2020.
They are: Ongoing and deepening integration of learning tools and content services; student success and portfolios; and continuous formative assessment.
“Many innovative schools are exploring ways to engage students and help them develop the capabilities they need for a rapidly changing world,” Carrick told The Educator.
“Digital skills are a major focus as students use online learning tools to develop deeper knowledge, communicate, collaborate, and creatively solve problems. Effective use of technology places the student at the centre of their learning and enables teachers to understand and address the needs of each student”.
Cloud technology is another way that educators are managing key aspects of their learning environment, leveraging the benefit of virtual services rather than physical products and hardware while cutting down on paper waste.
Cisco Meraki, an industry leader in cloud-managed IT, has been helping educators simplify the most complex aspects of technology through the unified management of mobile devices, Macs, PCs, and the entire network from a centralised dashboard.
Saif Samaan, ICT manager at Rosebank College, has seen the benefits of this first hand.
“It’s easier to manage so we’re not bogged down by the typical network setup and needing to train everyone on every vendor,” Samaan told The Educator.
He said Meraki opens up the way for the school to have a standard network, and to have just one person manage the network.
Iain Finlayson is the managing director of libraries and education at Civica, a global IT-based services partner in digital solutions, software applications, and managed services.
He says that for teachers and students, new technologies have opened the door to the kind of in-class and distance learning experiences that we may once only have dreamed of.
“These range from immersive, mixed reality experiences to digital textbooks that can be accessed anywhere at any time,” Finlayson told The Educator.
“Key to enabling these kinds of classroom technologies will be investment in interoperable back-end administration and finance systems”.
Finlayson said many back-end systems are too prescriptive about the kinds of technologies that can be connected to their ecosystem, limiting educators’ choice of technology to enrich their student learning opportunities.
By prioritising back-end systems that can integrate other software, he says educators will have more choice on what technologies to use.
“By moving these systems to the cloud, schools can also ensure all staff have the flexibility to work from home if needed, or preferred, by staff going forward”.