The end of summer means back to school for students and teachers. While the past two years have been unpredictable and challenging for many in the education sector, there are positives that have emerged. One of the most important ones involves technology. With the right technology in place, teachers, students, and schools will experience a range of benefits — from improving collaboration and productivity to creating a more engaged and connected learning environment. Let’s discuss some back to school tech tips!
Here at Varsity, we’re continually inspired by the education institutions we work with. After all, our roots lie in the classroom. Our founder and CEO, Patrick Ciccarelli experienced first-hand how technology could improve his students’ learning outcomes. Since then, Patrick has taken his love of education, along with the idea that “technology can be strategic” to help nonprofit organizations and educational institutions in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. With social impact in our DNA and service as our core value, we are uniquely positioned to serve a variety of organizations and help them increase their mission impact. Keep reading to find our top back to school tech tips for the upcoming school year.
1. Implement a Multi-Layered Cybersecurity Defense
Are you wondering if schools are immune to cyberattacks? Think again! According to reports from the FBI, 57% of all reported ransomware attacks in just August and September 2020 alone were targeted at K–12 schools in the United States. What’s more? The education industry is ranked last in terms of cybersecurity preparedness. As cybersecurity threats increase and become more sophisticated, having a strong security defense in place is critical to protect your most valuable information.
There are many steps you can take to develop a strong security posture, and we recommend implementing as many as you can. This is because one single strategy is no longer enough to prevent cybersecurity attacks from occurring. A few of our top security recommendations are:
- Enable Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) to secure your accounts.
- Turn on data back-ups and application updates.
- Install email security and anti-spam filtering.
- Develop an ongoing cybersecurity training for your teachers and students.
2. Utilize Cloud Collaboration Tools
In today’s hybrid learning environment, utilizing the cloud allows you to collaborate more effectively, communicate with ease, and protect your shared documents. Ed Tech Magazine notes: “Importantly, for education, cloud computing allows schools to access resources on-demand if learning suddenly shifts from in-class to at-home, providing much-needed flexibility to students and educators. The disruptions of the last year have shown the necessity of flexible technology.”
With many different cloud services to consider, how do you decide what’s best for your school? We recommend first evaluating the security of any cloud platform you’re considering. You could also examine the platform’s usability, connectivity, and scalability. Popular cloud options include Google Classroom, Schoology, and Moodle.
3. Ensure You Have The Right Devices
Depending on your learning environment (fully remote vs. hybrid vs. in-person), as well as the age of your students and the material you’ll be teaching, you may need different technology devices to meet their needs. This may include tools like smart boards, laptops, iPads, virtual reality sets, and more.
With any device you may be evaluating, it’s important to remember several key considerations. Secure Edge Networks reminds us that “one of the biggest mistakes schools make when deploying or allowing new devices onto their campus and into their classrooms, is by not making sure their network infrastructure is up-to-date and/or sufficient enough to properly support their end-users.” With technology being investment, you want to ensure your devices will work with your existing infrastructure. You may also want to consider how user-friendly a device is, how it will support your educational needs, and what kind of set-up process is involved to ensure success.
Varsity is Here to Help
Interested in implementing these tech tips, but aren’t quite sure where to begin? Look no further than Varsity. With our education experience and our IT expertise, we are your go-to managed IT service provider. From our robust security services to our managed cloud infrastructure, we have the flexibility and adaptability to meet your unique needs. Learn more about our services or reach out to us directly. Until then, we wish you the best of luck this school year!