5 Big Tech Challenges Teachers and Admins Will Face This Semester

featured image

The 2022-23 school year is shaping up to be a big year of challenges and transitions for educational technology. Schools face a growing threat of cyberattacks and struggle to find ways to use all the new technology acquired during the pandemic in meaningful ways. We are also trying to find ways to help students become more thoughtful and responsible digital citizens.

The list of educational technology challenges facing schools this year is long. But here are the 5 big ones:

The threat of cyberattacks is now a reality for everyone

Attacks on school districts are getting more sophisticated, hackers demand more moneysaid Doug Levin, National Director of the K12 Security Information Exchange. Vendors working with K-12 schools are also becoming more likely targets for attacks..

Further complicating matters, insurance companies are demanding that they raise premium rates for school districts and introduce a long list of safeguards, such as multi-factor authentication for the use of technology tools, before offering insurance to school districts. is to be

Education technology leaders are acutely aware of these issues. For the fifth year in a row, members of the School Network Consortium, an association representing educational technology leaders in school districts, rank cybersecurity as their top concern. And an overwhelming percentage of CoSN member districts (83%), surveyed in June, said they will expand their cybersecurity efforts this school year. Additionally, nearly two-thirds (62%) plan to increase their spending on cybersecurity this year, from about one-third who reported an increase in their budget for 2020.

Levin predicts this could lead to a school year in which at least one school district isn’t sure how it will continue to serve students after an attack.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if a school district had a major cybersecurity incident this year that turned into an ‘existential crisis,'” he said. They don’t have the funds they need to keep their businesses running, and they don’t have insurance to bail them out. “

Use all new digital learning tools effectively

While most school districts have put the brakes on or significantly scaled back virtual or hybrid learning programs after returning to in-person learning, they are thinking about how they can continue to take advantage of all the new devices they purchased during the pandemic. must be Chief His Learning His Officer Joseph South of the International Association for Educational Technology said:

Case Study: During the pandemic, virtual meetings offered busy parents a new option to connect with their child’s school and teachersSouth said there was no reason not to continue. Additionally, remote technology allows schools to bring in experts from nearly any subject to speak to classes and connect children with peers from schools around the world.

“One of the things we really want as we move out of remote learning is the power of technology to expand that learning community around children and give them more resources.” says South.

Developing plans to sustain increased use of technology

Billions of federal pandemic relief funds have allowed school districts to buy millions of new laptops, tablets, hotspots, and even 3D printers and interactive whiteboards. The number of school districts offering one-on-one computing programs has skyrocketed. Some school systems have tripled or quadrupled the number of devices.

The problem: These devices probably have a lifespan of four or five years, and it’s unlikely that the federal government will spend another $100 billion or so to replace them with districts.Some districts have already developed sustainability plans, while many others Not paying attention to its looming problem.

According to Keith Krueger, executive director of the Consortium for School Networking, it may be difficult to keep school district leaders focused on issues that will not become apparent for years to come.

“People will put a lot of money into the system this next school year, but then there will be a huge cliff,” Krueger said. Given that reality, “I think it’s going to be difficult to get the attention of superintendents, chief financial officers and school boards.”

Creating Effective Professional Development When Teachers Are Feeling “Technology Fatigue”

If sustainability is a looming challenge, experts say professional development is a perennial issue that every tech leader must think about every year.

The good news: A majority of nearly 90% of teachers say their technology skills have improved during the pandemic, and almost half say technology has made them “significantly” better. March 2021.

The bad news: educators, and even students, aren’t always proactive about increasing their use of technology. They are still exhausted from having to learn too many things quickly.In fact, an Education Week survey conducted in December 2021 Nearly two-thirds of educators say they experience some form of “technology fatigue.”

Part of the problem: The professional development many teachers experienced during the pandemic was the equivalent of an “emergency PD” education.

Teachers today must learn how to master teaching with digital tools in a more meaningful, effective and sophisticated way. “They really need to focus on how to use these technologies in the most effective way possible,” South said. Benefits: When teachers understand how to use tools to improve student learning, they make lasting changes, he emphasized.

Some of the technology purchased by school districts during the pandemic “will wear out and become obsolete and disappear, leaving no investment,” South said. “But if you invest in teacher competence, that investment will be permanent and sustainable no matter what technology comes next.”

Teach students to use the Internet in a healthy and responsible manner

Concerns over technology overuse in the past few years have prompted some teachers to try to reduce students’ use of technology tools and limit screen time.

But South cautioned that taking that approach too far would be a mistake.

When it comes to technology, especially social media, instead of a list of ‘don’ts’, schools ask students to ‘use technology to get information. Use technology to develop a balanced worldview. Let’s use technology to create an inclusive space.”

“If the whole conversation about digital citizenship focuses on the horrors of the internet and all the bad things that can happen there, it creates a fear of technology that is so powerful to do good.