I have worked in teaching technology for years and, most recently, spent 18 months deploying the Adobe Spark app to over 900,000 students and teachers in Wales and Northern Ireland. So, the following may come as some surprise: I don’t believe that technology drives excellent learning and teaching.
I believe that technology can provide a powerful foundation for teachers and students and has the potential to make both exceptional teaching and successful learning outcomes possible. It can give students a unique opportunity to express their ideas and build 21st century digital literacy skills. And because digital projects and assignments are often creative and interesting, technology can motivate students to engage more deeply in their learning.
But technology needs to be deployed thoughtfully in order to truly support the work of teachers and the learning goals of students. Each school and class uses multiple system accounts, software applications and technology services, which means things can get heavier quickly. After all, teachers and students only need their tools to work as expected. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the IT team to prevent technology from becoming a hindrance to learning.
The deployment for Adobe’s education clients and the school in Ringwood, England where I am vice president of governors have created some great practices for IT teams. Here are my top tips for deploying technology in schools so that students and teachers can get the most out of their tools every day:
1. Make Single Sign-On (SSO) a reality.
To get students and teachers using school technology investments, it is best to use SSO certification. SSO eliminates the need for everyone to remember multiple usernames and passwords for different applications and services. This provides a better user experience with faster access to learning tools as well as reduces the burden on IT employees who would otherwise have to manually reset these forgotten login credentials. SSO makes it easy for new students and teachers to connect when they join the school.
2. Give everyone access to the tools and services they need from day one.
When I worked in a leadership role in IT courses and systems, I always made sure that new students and staff could access all of the school’s educational IT tools and services on their first day. This requires a lot of planning and adding multiple systems to our user directory. But it was worth the effort because it meant that everyone could quickly access the tools they needed and start learning and working together. And when new students come to school throughout the year, they have a sense of self because they have an account in their own name instead of a normal username, showing that it is important for the school community.
3. Set up virtual workspaces where everyone can collaborate.
When Kovid-19 closed schools in 2020, I supported my school by setting up Google Workspace for all teachers and students. It took a long time to create all the classrooms and assign all the users so that they can log in and access the right class. But just after completing the second year process, I can say that it was definitely beneficial. We have seen high engagement this year.
By giving everyone the same set of tools to create content, stay organized, digital and communicate more, you enable them to work more productively and collaborate more easily both in the classroom and at home.
4. Support trainers and educators with well-designed learning resources.
Deploying educational software is just the first step. It is important to give AdTech instructors and teachers the resources they need-tutorials, PD courses, and prepared lesson plans and assignments-so that they can learn their way through the tools and find all the ways they can be used to enhance teaching and learning.
With Adobe software like Adobe Spark and Creative Cloud, we encourage our instructors and educators to explore the following free resources:
5. Prioritize time savings.
Teachers have a lot of material to cover and students have a lot to learn. It is important that we always try to save their time in their daily work. IT leaders need to carefully analyze new and existing AdTech solutions so that they either create better learning experiences or allow teachers and students to devote more of their time and attention to learning.
Whenever I’m working on a deployment, I remind my IT colleagues that, in a class of 30 students, it takes 10 minutes for everyone to get started with their technology tools, while teachers lose only 300 minutes of learning time. Forever. It is therefore imperative that IT departments take the time to think through their deployment strategies, make the right plans, and do their best to facilitate access to and use of technology for teachers and students.
If your school has purchased Adobe software licenses, Here are some technical tips Which will help your IT team work with them efficiently and effectively.