Finding the digital tools needed to enhance your school’s performance and competitiveness should be at the front of your priorities. Education leaders need to consider issues such as adoption, health concerns, personalization, collaboration, and TCO.
Equipping children with the digital tools needed to grow their confidence and help them take risks in learning should be at the forefront of any private school’s business mission. The market is reflecting this need - the most recent Frost & Sullivan report found that the Australian edtech sector is primed to grow to A$1.7 billion by 2022. The key triggers include increasing student demand for technology innovation and competition amongst schools.
As a leader charged with implementing your school’s digital transformation, you have already set the provision of innovative technologies as your priority. So, which digital tools best enable the goal of achieving a fully digital campus?
Here we’ve listed six key questions you need to ask in order to make the right choice.
1. Will teachers and students use the technology?
No teacher wants to lose vital teaching time to setting up difficult devices or technical hiccups. This leads to concern from the administration over whether newly acquired devices such as interactive whiteboards will actually enhance learning outcomes, or just become expensive coat racks.
While unique technology features may attract you to purchase, usability trumps features when it comes to adoption among teachers and students. The more training it takes to get faculty up to speed, the less likely they are to actively use the technology, let alone get students to use it.
While unique technology features may attract you to purchase, usability in many cases trumps features when it comes to adoption among teachers and students.
2. Does the technology detract from student health?
New technological advancements always come with new dangers. Bacteria shared between students on an interactive whiteboard screen can cause serious illness. Meanwhile, research has shown that short-wavelength, high-energy blue light output from interactive screens, monitors, and digital displays causes myopia and macular degeneration.
Edtech brands are working to conquer these problems by pioneering technologies that protect student and teacher health. For example, edtech provider BenQ has developed a range of interactive whiteboards with screens that kill bacteria, prevent damage to eyes, and indicate the levels of CO2 in the classroom.
3. Does the technology offer a BYOD experience?
According to a report commissioned by Lenovo, 80% of teachers in Australia provide active opportunities for students to use their devices in class and one-third of schools already have their own Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy. This data clearly indicates that BYOD is no longer just a hip educational trend to follow. Educational leaders need to be forward-thinking and embrace BYOD as policy in order to take the lead in this digital transformation and avoid being left behind.
If the digital tools you use do not include BYOD functionality, you risk falling behind the curve and losing out on massive opportunities.
If the digital tools you are using do not include any BYOD functionality - your school risks falling behind the curve and losing out on a massive opportunity to produce learning outcomes that enable student success. An example of these tools include interactive whiteboards that allow students to access class content from their personal devices in real time.
4. Does it create a collaborative learning environment?
“Collaboration” has been one of the “Five C’s of Learning” for a long time, but only recently has educational technology caught up to effectively enabling it. If the classroom devices you acquire don’t put collaboration at the front of their value offering, you are looking at a wasted investment.
There are a variety of interactive whiteboard solutions on the market that promote genuine collaboration by integrating cloud technology, which gives students the ability to view and edit lesson materials both during class and at home. For example, a teacher can set up questions and students can answer them on a shared document from home. This kind of collaboration gives students new agency to participate in their own learning process.
5. What is the TCO of the technology?
Choosing the right digital tools always requires a delicate balance of benefit and budget. State-of-the-art educational technology such as laser projectors may carry a higher procurement cost than a traditional projector. However, it’s important to sit down and imagine the total cost of ownership in the long term.
Ipswich Girls' Grammar School (IGGS) , one of the leading female bading to a Benoarding schools in Queensland, managed to save $3.5 K in projector costs by upgrading to a BenQ laser projector in its auditorium. The projector provides 20,000 hours of maintenance-free operation, preventing extra expenses on lamp replacement and other issues.
A higher investment in the short term can yield tremendous savings down the road.
Before signing off on a technology investment, work closely with your finance and IT departments to calculate the total return on investment (ROI). With the right solution, a higher investment in the short term can yield tremendous savings down the road.
6. Does the technology enhance competitiveness?
The Australian Bureau of Statistics states that the nation has one of the highest levels of private school enrolment and expenditure in the OECD. These educational institutions need to stay at the head of the technology curve in order to attract students and meet admission quotas. Digital technology, such as interactive projectors and digital signage, is now a standard sight on campus tours and goes a long way toward helping potential students decide where to enroll.
To stay competitive, private schools need to look beyond just choosing the technology "everyone is talking about" and consider options that put them at the forefront of digitalization.
To stay competitive, private schools need to look beyond just choosing the technology "everyone is talking about" and consider options that put them at the forefront of digitalization. Ipswich Girls' Grammar School , which recently upgraded its entire campus with BenQ edtech solutions, noted how their new projectors and IFPs are a strong talking point when giving tours and help build their reputation as a forward-thinking school.