Tech-savvy students have raised the bar on classroom instruction. To meet student expectations and keep them engaged, many progressive K-12 charter and public schools are striving to make learning more interactive and interconnected. But, they face challenges.
Though once considered state of the art, televisions, overhead projectors, desktop computers and other such tools are now classroom standards, often supported by internal IT staff. However, the infrastructure necessary to provide fast Internet access for hundreds of users – as well as support for interactive digital whiteboards, collaborative platforms and other advanced tech learning tools – can be costly.
Because advanced network configurations are complex, manpower is an issue. Most school IT staff are time-constrained. According to THE Journal, in addition to configuring and maintaining devices and other tech hardware, IT staff are responsible for:
- Network management: Handling bandwidth, security and filtering issues, updating network software and managing new and old access points
- Resource management: Insuring all educational software is licensed
- Accounts management: Making sure accounts on the Learning Management System (LMS) are properly set up
- Classroom support: From handling device and network problems in the classroom to training teachers on new software
Outside professionals and funding support can move your school tech-forward.
MSPs and E-rate Aid Tech-Driven School Vision
By employing an IT managed service provider (MSP) and taking advantage of E-rate – the FCC program that provides eligible schools and libraries with discounts for telecommunications, internet access and internal connections – schools are able to acquire and implement the infrastructure needed to take education technology to a new level. In this article, we’ll discuss how your school can work with an MSP and what to expect in moving your educational tech vision from planning to implementation.
Making the Switch
A number of Tucson-area schools are already on their way to fulfilling their advanced technology vision, aided by Silverado consultation and implementation services and E-rate. Working with internal IT staff, Silverado is helping St. Cyril of Alexandria School deploy new complex servers, switches and wireless controllers to support advanced education technology. Silverado also handles server-side support tickets. At Salpointe Catholic High School, Silverado is helping to speed student and teacher access to shared folders by increasing the campus network from 1 to 10 gigabits.
By engaging with Silverado, schools can better prioritize and strategically plan for needed upgrades. Silverado guides schools to secure funding for telecom equipment and internal wireless connections, so they can reserve existing budget and manpower for other needed line-of-business software purchases or facilities improvements.
From Idea to Implementation in 3 Steps
Silverado’s engagement with schools includes 3 discrete steps:
Step 1: Exploration – looking at existing infrastructure and learning about a school’s vision for its education technology
Step 2: Putting together a plan identifying what new or upgraded equipment is needed
Step 3: Implementation and maintenance
While an MSP cannot complete the E-rate application process on behalf of a school (or prepare an invitation to bid), Silverado offers guidance on securing E-rate funding including:
- Technical needs assessment
- Information about how E-rate works
- Forms and deadlines
- Tools and resources
- E-rate portal access
Throughout the entire process, Silverado distinguishes itself from other MSPs. Our highly experienced team can quickly figure out what is needed, reducing consultation time. When it’s time for implementation, our engineering staff has the deep expertise to undertake high-level, complex projects.
Call Silverado at (520) 903-1580 or contact us online to start planning for the new fiscal year and get information about E-rate. We’ll help you assess the technology you need to create advanced tech centers of learning.