How to Transform Classrooms to Meet the Needs of Digital Natives

To attract a generation of students who “can’t conceive of a time before mobile phones,” progressive K-12 charter and private schools are transforming their classrooms into tech-driven centers of learning. Tech literacy and digital learning prepare students for the tech-dependent jobs of tomorrow. Education connectivity also supports collaboration among students and engagement with teachers.

Leading school tech transformation is the use of devices. Over 30 million students use Chromebooks. But a host of other leading-edge technologies, such as Google Classroom and Microsoft 365 for Education, also are reshaping education. Online tools enable students to collaborate with each other and submit assignments electronically, all under teacher supervision. Teachers use the platforms for grading assignments, sending class materials and monitoring student progress.

If your school isn’t meeting the needs of today’s tech savvy students, it’s time for a new course of action. In this article, we’ll describe what you need to reinvent learning, examine the success from one local school and recommend how you can secure funding sources.

Is Infrastructure Up to Date?

To make digital learning a reality, schools require a core technology infrastructure. Low-cost digital devices and high-speed internet connections top the list. Cutting-edge education connectivity also requires high-speed WiFi with strategically placed access points to ensure signal strength is consistent. Data privacy and digital citizenship policies are other core technology elements.

Some Tucson schools only have basic residential-grade technology. Others have network switches that need to be refreshed. In general, if network infrastructure is over five years old, it’s outdated.

Before schools begin to upgrade their network infrastructure, they need to know what classroom tools are available and how they aid digital learning. Some schools lack infrastructure expertise. Not wanting to spend their technology funding inefficiently, schools may hold back on a comprehensive technology implementation.

Salpointe Makes the Grade for 21st Century Digital Learning

Salpointe Catholic High School is leveraging the power of technology to support what it calls the “4Cs of 21st Century Learning: communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking.” In 2015, Salpointe officially became a Google school to streamline file sharing and adopted a 1:1 device initiative. Every student and faculty member has a Chromebook, which is connected via campus-wide WiFi. The school also has over 200 computers on its network, and digital boards are available in all classrooms. Education connectivity extends to parents who can receive automated attendance alerts on their phones.

Silverado has helped schools like Salpointe fulfill its technology vision by providing high-level engineering support for the school’s IT department. As part of this work, we configured Salpointe’s E-rate eligible firewall, setting up security rules and routing tables to make it functional and compliant with CIPA.

How E-Rate Eases Your Infrastructure Financial Burden

Schools with aging devices, infrastructure built over five years ago or lacking the connectivity to provide internet-based learning tools can leverage E-rate. The FCC program provides discounts for telecommunications, internet access and internal connections to eligible schools and libraries. Savings achieved through E-rate means schools have budget for classroom tech tools, or they can use the money for other needed line-of-business applications, such as ERP software or non-tech school upgrades.

Maximize E-rate Funding with Silverado

When it comes to leveraging E-rate technology funding, the earlier you get started, the better. Tucson area schools new to the process, or needing help getting started, should engage with Silverado to gain knowledge about best practices for the key components of their E-rate application.

While no IT managed service provider (MSP) can, or should, prepare your E-rate invitations to bid, here’s how we can help. If you know where you want to go, we can help you get there by assessing your current technology and determining what you need. If you are not certain about where to begin to transform your school into a tech-center of learning, we can work with you to shape that vision.

We provide:

  • Strategic planning for a holistic technology vision: We help you build an overarching digital strategy and a foundation for future growth.
  • Building infrastructure: We deliver cost-effective and comprehensive hardware and software solutions to support hundreds of digital devices with fast, reliable and secure access to the internet and each other.
  • Implementing advanced technologies: We recommend and install advanced tools to enhance individual and group learning and boost collaboration and communication.

Call Silverado at (520) 903-1580 or contact us online and let us help you assess what technology you might need to move students into the digital future.

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E-Rate, Education


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