Apr 05 2021

New School Visions Requires a Change in How We Make Decisions

As schools mark a full-year since the pandemic hit, lessons learned have pushed districts to embrace change in ways big and small.

For so long, our concept of school meant a physical building; a classroom, a room with a chalkboard and rows of desks. But if there’s anything that the last year has taught us, it’s that educators, administrators and IT leaders need to be flexible and open-minded enough to reimagine and redefine everything we know about education.

We see evidence of this willingness to think boldly and embrace new circumstances in Cajon Valley Union School District’s career-focused Launch Pad, which had to make some quick pivots to continue to deliver value to district students when the pandemic forced it to operate under new conditions.

“The teachers are being super-resilient,” says Ed Hidalgo, chief innovation and engagement officer for the California school district. “They’re not going to be able to get robotics kits out to all kids, but over the summer, we sent home kits of STEM materials, and teachers have created activities using things you can find at home, such as foodstuffs, string, tape and cardboard.”

Investing Time Wisely to Provide Suitable Service

On the technology side of the house, IT leaders in school districts have been forced to rethink how they spend their time, as students and parents rely on them far more for tech support. This means IT staff has to cut back time spent elsewhere.

At North Canton (Ohio) City Schools, Technology Director Kim Nidy knew she needed to spend less time unboxing and more time helping students learn with devices the district was acquiring. That meant partnering with CDW•G to provide last-mile integration for the district’s one-to-one device project.

Without this support, “we would be taking machines out of boxes, putting stickers on them,” says Nidy. “If we are doing that instead of answering the phone and solving people’s problems, that is a customer service issue for us. We want to be an effective and efficient tech department, and we need to deliver good customer service.”

Educators are facing, embracing and adapting to change in unprecedented ways. It hasn’t been easy, but education has and always will rise to the occasion.

See what educators had to say about the future of learning with our coverage of the 2021 TCEA conference at ­edtechmag.com/k12/TCEA.

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