You might not think of your typical elementary school as a tech center, but the days of overhead projectors and mimeograph machines have long gone by the wayside. Today’s schoolhouses are loaded with technology for teaching, administration and records keeping, which has created an entirely new set of challenges and opportunities for the typical school system or district.
Using tech in the classroom is in and of itself useful education because it teaches students how such tools are used in the real world. There’s no industry or career today’s elementary or high school student can go into that doesn’t rely on technology, so using it in the classroom aids in that development. Some school systems have gone so far as to create entire tech curriculums for student to get a jump start on certain tech-heavy careers or learn the fundamentals of entrepreneurship such as through developing apps.
Obviously, the younger generation comes into school much more tech-savvy than in previous generations; many students have had a tablet or phone in their hands for as long as they can remember. Carrying that over to the classroom, teachers can connect with students on a fundamental level for both subject matter and tech-specific topics such as being safe online and avoiding cybercriminals.
On the flip side, schools open themselves up to major issues when it comes to technology. When the school’s website goes down, it takes with it the means for families to communicate with teachers or to download homework and materials, throwing learning into disarray. School systems’ electronic records must be guarded from prying eyes, the same as any bank, hospital or other company. And many school systems struggle with uniform application of technology and measuring its effectiveness, even as they spend big bucks to stay current with the latest hardware and software.
At the heart of technology in schools is reliability and performance. With so many functions running through the school’s website – from ordering a hot lunch via an app to checking on an early dismissal – the high-speed internet a school uses is of paramount importance. Right behind that is security; many schools lack resources to employ full-time cybersecurity personnel or walk teachers through the finer points of the latest virus or phishing scam. And finally, keeping current with technology’s breakneck pace is another expensive proposition many schools simply can accommodate.
Helping schools meet these challenges has increasingly fallen to internet services providers, some of whom have shown foresight in preparing for the challenges of a fully-integrated digital school system. Kinetic Business high-speed Internet solutions combine best-in-class security and the fastest Internet speeds on the market, including a growing number of areas deployed to fiber.
What’s more, Kinetic’s commitment to the specific needs of school systems has led it to become an approved E-rate service provider. The E-Rate program, administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company, allows eligible K-12 schools and libraries in the United States to obtain affordable voice, data, network and cloud services. With E-Rate discounts ranging from 20 percent to 90 percent, qualifying schools and libraries can now stay current with new and changing technologies, applications and services, such as Wi-Fi, Fixed Wireless and Unified Communications solutions.