Now is the time to plan for next year’s technology upgrades
With the help of technology experts, districts can create a comprehensive plan that outlines the desired outcomes of technology upgrades
- Planning early gives ample time to examine technology upgrades
- A company specializing in IT upcycling or device buyback programs can help through the process
- See related article: How IT leaders tackle 7 digital asset management challenges
- For more news on IT innovations, visit eSN’s IT Leadership page
While school districts are well underway into their new year – and their new budget – many are already planning for the year ahead, and technology remains one of the top priorities schools focus on to keep their students, faculty, staff, and administration effectively moving forward.
There are significant advantages of planning technology upgrades over the winter, not the least of which is moving your school forward by giving your leadership team — including the technology and finance directors, as well as operations staff and even your school board —time to research, plan, and coordinate any upgrade initiatives that will need to happen over the summer. Here are just a few advantages to planning ahead of time for next year’s technology upgrades.
Planning is essential to the success of any technology upgrade, and planning well ahead gives school districts time to assess current technology needs and goals for the future. This includes evaluating existing devices, software, and infrastructure to determine what needs to be replaced or upgraded.
With the help of technology experts, school districts can create a comprehensive plan that outlines the timeline, budget, and desired outcomes of the upgrade.
Many schools have varying devices with inconsistent ages and that can cause issues over time when it comes to quality, software updates, and the equity of devices. Districts should determine what is most important to them and what value add they need from technology. One of the most important parts of technology planning is knowing what you currently have and what students, faculty, and staff need from new devices.
Additionally, planning will allow schools to plan and respond to the end of the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF). In 2020, after the onset of the pandemic, the program was created to provide funding to schools and libraries to purchase eligible equipment and services for students and teachers who lack connected devices, including laptops, tablets, or even broadband access. This funding expired in May 2023, so any district that once leveraged the funds will no longer be able to moving forward. Planning is essential to being able to continue providing reliable technology.
Minimizing disruptions to learning
By planning well in advance – during the winter months – for the upgrades during the summer months, school districts minimize disruptions to the learning environment. With students and teachers on break in the summer, the transition to new devices and systems can take place without interrupting classroom activities.
Allowing time to plan gives the technology department a thorough understanding of the project scope. Once the project planning is complete, IT can focus on the upcoming year when teachers and students can return to a refreshed and upgraded technology infrastructure, ready to start the new academic year smoothly.
Safe removal and asset management
When schools have the necessary time to find and engage with the right third-party technology company, they mitigate risk and ensure a return on their investments. The right partner can effectively manage this process, providing expert assistance in old technology removal, data wiping, and responsible upcycling. It also helps ensure all sensitive information is securely erased from devices, protecting the privacy of all students, faculty, and staff. The right partner can also assess the residual value of retired devices and offer schools a return on their investments.
Schools across the country typically have to hire extra support over the summer to assist with device collection and inventory processes because it is such a large undertaking. However, districts can’t use that extra help to wipe devices and prepare them for upcycling because of the sensitive nature of data wiping. A third party provides the manpower needed to collect devices and safely prepare the technology for its next chapter. They do the necessary provisioning and provide schools with an accurate starting point to deploy new devices. In the end, they know what they have and provide you with an expert forecast of what your devices are worth.
Efficient implementation of new technology
The implementation phase of technology upgrades requires careful coordination to ensure a smooth transition. Students may be out of the classroom, but there are still support staff and administrators using technology in the summer. Communication is important and a necessary step in letting staff and administrators know when the server will be down or when their new device will be activated.
Training and support
Introducing new technology to educators and students necessitates training and ongoing support. School districts can take advantage of summer institute days prior to the academic year and provide educators with the time needed to be fully trained on new technology, devices, or software.
Comprehensive training programs tailored to the needs of schools and ensuring teachers and staff are well-equipped to utilize new devices effectively is crucial. Troubleshooting assistance and addressing any technical concerns that may arise are also important considerations.
Device preparation and training is something that requires taking proactive measures to ensure schools are set up for success. There is never a “good” time to deploy devices, so schools need to understand where they are and where they should go by executing proper preparation and planning.
Planning for technology and device upgrades during the winter months is critical so you are ready to implement during summer break. It is a strategic approach that allows school districts to minimize disruptions to learning. Schools can streamline the process, from asset removal to the implementation of new technology with the help of a company specializing in IT upcycling or device buyback programs.
With an expertise in responsible disposal, device procurement, and ongoing support, these companies offer comprehensive solutions that ensure a seamless transition and maximize the benefits of technology in education. Embracing technology upgrades paves the way for a successful and technologically advanced learning environment.