Your school has finally gotten a technology grant! As you think about the best technology for your classroom and school, consider also whether your district or school has the support it needs to ensure that the technology can be used for maximum benefit. Issues of storage, bandwidth and content management should play a role in your decision. Finding the right partner in these areas is as important as any of the tools you may purchase.
Make sure you know the answers to the following 5 questions before you make any purchases:
1. What kind of storage space does your school’s server have for data, video, and photos? Student projects, teacher records and interactive lessons will all have to be stored and managed. If the server is inadequate to the task, you will not be able to utilize the technology to its full potential. Migrating data to free up space will introduce the potential for stored data to be lost. It’s one thing to lose a lesson plan. It’s another to lose student records.
2. What is your school’s bandwidth? If your school does not have adequate bandwidth, you will have problems with connection speed—a disaster in the classroom. Also, it’s important to note whether your school or district has a streaming video platform. Without it, your video use will be limited to what you have already downloaded.
3. Does the district have a video management system? If you are planning to publish videos online to share with other teachers, students or schools, you need to be sure that your district has the capability to manage video content. Content will need to be tagged both to facilitate access and to restrict access when necessary.
4. Will your students be able to access their work remotely? Whether we like it or not, students are connected to their phones at all times. Many hosting services can provide connectivity for a reasonable price, ensuring that your students can work on projects, turn in assignments and interact with other students whenever and wherever they are.
5. Will absent students be able to access your lessons? One of the key benefits of technology in the classroom is the ability to record and store lessons for students who miss class. Investigate whether your school has a manageable system for archiving content and delivering it online.
The technology you choose for your school will be the most useful and effective if you have the infrastructure to support its full potential. Fortunately, this does not mean that you and your colleagues have to moonlight as an IT staff. There are many excellent services that provide increased storage and asset management support. Investing in a technology partner allows you to focus on your primary goal of educating today’s students.
Jessica writes about a wide variety of topics. She especially enjoys writing about technology. You can learn more about publish videos online at http://www.vmix.com/