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Technology Challenges of Schools and How a Virtual CIO Can Help

Matt Freymiller
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Many school districts and educators struggle to transition toward more digital-centric classrooms. Existing curriculum and teaching methodologies are not always conducive  (or receptive) to shifts in technology. While teachers remain focused on educating students, many desire education of their own to better understand the technologies being implemented in the classroom and beyond. 

Approximately 54% of educators and administrators list inadequate professional training as the biggest hurdle to implementing technology, topped only by budget limitations coming in at nearly 75%. There are additional underlying factors that add to the challenges of school districts. Let’s look more closely at some of the technology obstacles faced by many schools and how to address them with the help of a vCIO and Managed IT solution. 

Top Technology Challenges of School Districts

Google and Apple recently announced efforts to provide classrooms with affordable tablets to enhance learning. Despite lower device costs, other factors can end up substantially adding to the bill, including warranties, repairs, software upgrades, professional development and more.

Tight budgets and professional training of school staff may top the list of technology challenges, but educational institutions experience many other issues that most in the corporate world typically don’t have to deal with, including: 

  • State-mandated compliance considerations
  • Multiple campuses
  • Student record keeping (sometimes decades worth of data)
  • Protecting private information of minors and teachers
  • Classroom and student technology needs
  • Archaic legacy systems integration with the Cloud
  • Network configurations throughout districts
  • And more

How to Overcome School District Technology Challenges

Managing each of these areas while sticking to a budget is a major undertaking for already-strapped IT departments. A practical solution that many school districts are implementing is partnering with an affordable Managed IT services provider that is experienced in tackling many of the issues they face.

Reputable Managed IT providers also have a dedicated virtual Chief Information Officer (vCIO) who consults and strategizes with school administrators and IT departments to achieve their technology goals and, ultimately, help improve learning environments for students. 

It’s one thing to get the hardware and software you need; it’s another to ensure that technology can be proactively serviced and grow and evolve as schools continue to adopt more integrated learning capabilities. This is where the benefits of having a dedicated vCIO are most evident.

The Role of a vCIO in a School’s Technology Strategy

A vCIO serves not only to provide the equipment you need; he or she serves as a consultant and strategist to ensure your systems operate at peak efficiency from day one. A vCIO will begin by analyzing your current IT environment and develop an IT strategy that includes software and hardware recommendations, security measures, process evaluations, compliance considerations and more. Additionally, a vCIO is backed by a full team of technical experts to provide automated security and software updates and 24/7 system monitoring and support, in addition to user training and professional development recommendations.

All these functions are part of an exhaustive IT roadmap that is customized to address each school’s unique needs and budget considerations. In addition to creating the roadmap, a vCIO will also review it quarterly to look at the big picture and adapt to changing needs and evolving technologies.

The addition of an experienced and dedicated vCIO as part of a Managed IT solution is critical to ensuring successful implementation in addition to anticipating needs in the future. If you’d like to learn how a fresh approach to managing your school’s technology can improve classroom environments, ensure compliance, stay within budget and enhance student learning now and into the future, reach out to the Gordon Flesch Company today for a no-cost assessment and consultation.

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