As new and transformative technologies enter schools, it could be argued that the education system is in the wake of major disruption.
One challenge that stands out for school leaders in this context is how to ensure that the technology they bring into the school not only improves student engagement and outcomes, but also transforms its ability to innovate and compete in a world of extreme and demanding consumer expectation.
According to one technology expert, cloud computing can do this by allowing schools to shift their focus from running the computers to becoming more efficient and effective.
Steven Hayes, Oracle’s vice-president of applications, Australia and New Zealand, believes that the biggest technology challenge for principals is keeping up with the “rapidly changing persona of the modern student”.
“They live in an always-on world where technology is a part of everything they do, so in order to meet their expectations and keep them engaged in learning, educators don’t need to reform, but transform,” Hayes told The Educator.
“Along with modern students, the world around us is evolving, too. The future careers of these students require entirely new skillsets, and the majority will require post-secondary education, so keeping students engaged is critical for their futures.”
Hayes believes cloud computing can allow K-12 principals to improve efficiency across their school networks.
“The promise of cloud computing is to reduce the burden on IT resources and to transfer risk back to the vendor. The vendor becomes responsible for maintenance, bug fixes and upgrades – not the institution,” he explained.
“This shift of responsibility means schools can divert precious IT resources to more mission-critical projects [Academic Support, Learning Systems, Research, etc].”
Hayes said schools can use these valuable resources to innovate and transform rather than spend time on integration and maintenance.
“Cloud-based solutions also have the advantage of being built on the most current technologies made for our mobile, any-device, anywhere modern world – which, as mentioned, is essential when you are dealing with the mobile generation,” he said.
“Rather than trying to update or customise on-premises applications, cloud based solutions are ready-made to meet the needs of the modern student.”
Hayes said some advancements in technology have allowed institutions to better identify, engage and retain quality school staff.
“Through embracing technology such as cloud computing, staff will find that complex processes are streamlined and repetitive tasks are reduced, leaving more time for creativity, innovation, and student development – helping them to restructure their very delivery models of learning,” Hayes said.
“Also, by actively using the wealth of data available to them, educators can guide learners to the best content and resources to help them meet their educational goals.”
Through data, says Hayes, schools and staff can better understand what works best for each student, enabling them to customise their students’ learning.
“Students receive insight-driven recommendations and choices based on their unique interests and goals, enabling their teachers to deliver the right content at the right time, and ultimately increase their overall job satisfaction,” Hayes said.