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5 Technology Roadblocks Teachers Face (And Shouldn’t Have To)

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A heart for students and a desire to see them thrive and succeed is the driving force that helps many teachers press on. Still, some parts of the U.S. are experiencing unprecedented teacher shortages as many of them join the great resignation. Recent data suggests that more than half of teachers have considered leaving their jobs, and many are following through on those intentions. Teachers are leaving the profession at a faster rate than before the pandemic.

Why? There are numerous reasons.

  • A typical teacher works an average of 54 hours per week
  • Piles of paperwork and data-driven record keeping greet them as they arrive early and leave late
  • There’s an ever-growing list of parents who need to be contacted, not all of whom are receptive to their conversations
  • Lessons are sometimes planned while making dinner for their families or waiting in grocery store lines
  • Then, there’s the actual teaching time
  • And, of course, there’s heightened awareness and special training to plan for the unthinkable

Technology can play a role in easing some of the strain placed on teachers. Admittedly, however, some teachers experience even more frustration when that technology isn’t intuitive or there’s a lack of training on how to use it.

It shouldn’t be that way.

Technology can and should be leveraged to help teachers and students thrive. Here’s a look at some potential technology roadblocks and suggestions on how to overcome them.

1. BYOD Devices

Some school districts have enacted bring your own device (BYOD) policies. While the practice may help ease budget constraints by not having to invest in as much technology, the use of personal devices opens a plethora of connectivity and security issues.

There is a lack of uniformity among BYOD devices and not all operating systems and device types “play” well together. Students who use their own devices may struggle to access lessons, meaning teachers need to spend more time walking them through technology challenges that they might not fully understand themselves. Also, some students and teachers might find it difficult to read or type on small screens or keyboards.

Security with BYOD devices is also a major concern. Ensuring data integrity and maintaining confidential records is critical. Demands on district IT departments are extremely high, and it may be best to enlist the help of a managed IT service to assess the situation and provide supplementary help and consultation.

2. Distracted Learning

If a teacher is confused or frustrated with technology, students will be keenly aware and could feel frustrated themselves. And if students are using BYOD devices, the temptation to engage in apps or content on their screens other than what’s being shared by teachers might prevail.

Teachers in these types of environments have the added responsibility of monitoring students’ online behaviors and watching out for potential device theft. Developing robust policies that address BYOD protocols and then informing students and their parents are a must.

In addition to BYOD policies, it’s important for school districts to establish and maintain technology policies that all teachers and students can abide by. Schools that have written statements regarding the use of digital services show higher performance in reading, mathematics and science.

3. Mountains of Data

Many school districts are trying to reduce the use of paper as a cost-saving measure and in support of green initiatives. The problem is that decades-worth of student records, lesson plans and other documentation have filled storerooms and file cabinets to overflowing. And more data is created every day.

In an effort to go paperless, some have adopted enterprise content management (ECM) systems. This type of software can digitize and store student records in the cloud, enhance collaboration among educators, optimize workflows, and provide a host of other features.

Adoption of such technology can be revolutionary for school districts, but without proper training, it could be a major disruption and won’t deliver on its promises. ECM software can be intimidating for teachers who aren’t tech-savvy and create an added strain. If your district is implementing an ECM solution, it’s critical to thoroughly vet potential providers and pay special attention to their approach to training users.

CASE STUDY: See How Green Bay School District Went Paperless

4. Interactive Whiteboards

While some teachers prefer classic chalkboards, many modern classrooms are equipped with digital interactive whiteboards. When used to their full potential, these electronic tools can aid in learning by displaying lessons and images from a computer or tablet using a digital projector. Students and teachers can interact with them using a stylus tool or their fingers.

Teachers without strong technology skills or sufficient training, however, may find them difficult to use. When teachers are already strapped for time, training may feel like just another thing added to their to-do list. Investing time in training, however, can be a timesaver in the long run. Lessons can be saved and even recorded for use in the future, and the technology supports many free online resources and ready-made lesson plans. Working with a reputable provider will help ensure that proper training takes place so teachers feel equipped and empowered rather than burdened with another task.

RELATED: 3 Tips for Using Interactive Whiteboards in the Classroom

5. Printers and Copiers

While interactive whiteboards, ECM and other digital technology are becoming more prominent, there is still plenty of paperwork that gets printed and handed out. For most teachers, printer and copier technology is pretty straightforward and most know how to use it. That doesn’t mean they don’t come with their own set of challenges.

Print jobs lost in cyberspace, jammed printers, toner shortages and downtime are major frustrations that some teachers have simply come to accept as part of the job. But a well-run copy center can minimize disruptions and actually make a teacher’s job easier and more efficient.

A managed print provider who specializes in education can deliver maximum uptime and ensure toner is always on hand when needed with remote monitoring. They’ll take on the task of troubleshooting and preventing network connection errors that create bottlenecks and delays. They can also help set up easy-to-use document management software that allows teachers to scan documents and email them directly to a folder or even Google Classroom.

RELATED: How Managed Print Helps Schools Get More Done

Gordon Flesch Company has been honored to help more than 4,000 school districts rein in their technology and their budgets by providing ECM software, electronic whiteboards, managed print services and other solutions, as well as the necessary training to use it all.

Contact us today to talk through your needs and request a complimentary consultation. Also download our Back to School Guide to Managed Print for insights on how to optimize your print environment.

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