Jun 02 2023

What to Consider When Investing in Collaboration Technologies for the Classroom

Administrators and IT departments should work together to select tech solutions that will empower continued learning.

Modern technological advancements affect virtually every area of daily life. Today’s K­–12 educational institutions are looking to new digital tools to help improve student achievement and engagement while fostering collaborative learning environments for in-person and remote learners.

To maximize a system’s effectiveness and ensure investments pay dividends for students and instructors, decision-makers and school technology admins must maintain a strong understanding of the available solutions, devices and platforms that can meet their needs. While differences in location, age range and budget naturally affect technology decisions and opportunities, there are several key factors central to any successful implementation.

Click the banner to learn more about key technologies for hybrid teaching.

Classroom Technologies Should Be Simple to Use and Reliable

Ease of use is the most direct predictor of how often a classroom technology will be used and how effective it will be.

Given the strict class schedules followed by most institutions, educators may hesitate to plan lessons using a digital display or software solution if it proves to be unreliable or introduces disruptions to the classroom. It needs to work during every class, every day, without requiring special procedures or assistance that eats up class time.

Simplicity can come in many forms, including secure connections that eliminate the need to log in and out, broad support for various online communication platforms, wireless connections that reduce installation complexity, and device-agnostic compatibility that natively accommodates all users.

Solutions that offer all these attributes can ensure consistently positive experiences for educators and students, thus promoting use of the technology and enhancing the educational return on investment.

MORE ON EDTECH: Tech supports personalized learning in K–12 schools.

Flexibility Matters When Looking for New District Tech

The wide variety of designs for educational spaces has historically led to different technologies being deployed, depending on the size and even the subject matter of each room.

From standard classrooms and science labs to auditoriums and cafeterias, the flexibility offered by the latest educational technologies is now making it possible for each room to feature the same solution. This makes operations more consistent and manageable for instructors and staff. This can also be particularly effective for classes that meet in different rooms or educators who move throughout the day, guaranteeing consistency for all students.

Plus, hybrid learning environments remain essential options in modern learning. Flexibility is key to ensuring that, should students need to dial in remotely, it’s possible to do so with the solutions already employed throughout the school. Collaboration technologies may enable virtual meetings, screen-sharing, live annotation, recordings, voice assistants and more.

While different educators may rely on each function to different degrees, having a stable set of capabilities in every space offers them the freedom to develop enhanced lessons as they see fit.

Plan for Students’ Futures and Digital Transformation

The technology trends in classrooms are constantly shifting, and staying up to date is essential to prepare students for technologies they will likely use in future careers. For the near future, it’s vital to meet students and educators where they are, which involves using mobile internet devices, instant sharing and simple virtual collaboration.

KEEP READING: These ed tech solutions remain vital to modern learning.

Schools that invest in technologies that support wireless screen-sharing and have device agnostic capabilities are setting themselves up for long-term success. Recently, the rise of Software as a Service solutions designed to be automatically updated and upgraded has made it easier to ensure ongoing compatibility with future protocols or platforms.

Solutions that enable students to present projects by sharing their screens to a classroom TV while making live annotations can raise engagement and excitement. The same functionality empowers teachers to move freely through the room without interrupting a lesson’s flow.

Some systems offer additional functions, such as:

  • centralized access to an entire display network for power control
  • campus or districtwide messaging and digital signage
  • software updates and maintenance

Maximizing the effectiveness of any classroom investment requires careful consideration of all the available options and benefits. Decision-makers and buyers can gain firsthand experience evaluating which classroom technology best fits their needs with the help of educational publications, trade shows and integration experts. As K–12 institutions and their leaders continue to explore new possibilities and opportunities, technology will evolve to support their efforts and improve educational outcomes.

GettyImages: gorodenkoff, feedough

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