Like other schools across the country, Philadelphia schools scrambled to ensure students could learn remotely at the beginning of the pandemic.
When the first pandemic-related school closures began, schools in Philadelphia and across the country scrambled to adapt to the demands of distance learning. Students would no longer arrive at school at a particular time, sit at desks near their peers, listen to a teacher lecture, or demonstrate a math problem on the board. Instead, students would roll out of bed, walk to their kitchen table, and hopefully log on to Zoom at the correct time for the day’s lesson. Asynchronous instruction became the norm, and one-on-one attention from a teacher became increasingly rare.
Similarly, as schools in Philadelphia shifted from in-person to remote instruction, they confronted issues of technology equity among their student body. Whereas some students had access to high-quality, reliable internet service, other students lacked home internet access entirely. Even if a school could distribute a laptop to each of its students—which wasn’t always the case—it made little difference if a student couldn’t log on to Google Classroom or use Zoom.
While schools have mostly transitioned back to in-person instruction, some of the hallmarks of distance learning remain. For instance, after scrambling to secure enough Chromebooks for their students at the start of the pandemic, many schools have continued to embrace a 1:1 student-device ratio in which students complete asynchronous work on their school-issued devices. As instruction extends beyond the four walls of the school building, common technology issues threaten to consume an excessive amount of school administrators’ time.
Below, we outline a few of the ways in which CTS can support schools in Philadelphia and across the country in tackling their most pressing IT challenges.
Philadelphia schools face unique IT challenges in which failure is not an option.
Schools in Philadelphia and across the United States face unique IT challenges. There are certain school days in which failure of the school’s technology simply isn’t an option. Many schools, for example, administer their state-wide assessments online. This setup demands that a school’s wireless network remain issue-free for the duration of the test and allow students to submit their responses in a timely manner.
Similarly, many schools use the first day of instruction as an opportunity to administer beginning-of-year assessments to their students. These assessments, in turn, influence last-minute changes to class rosters and intervention groups and require rapid turnaround and analysis. Without sufficient wireless internet access, school leaders can be caught flat-footed during this process and ultimately forced to delay finalizing class rosters.
When a school experiences an internet service outage in the middle of the day, the outage can severely compromise instruction. In one moment, a teacher is demonstrating a math concept using an online instructional platform; in the next, he’s forced to scramble his entire lesson plan because of an internet service outage. These and other technology-related issues undermine instruction and cause teachers unnecessary stress.
Common school IT issues require rapid troubleshooting and support.
When school IT issues do arise, teachers and school leaders require rapid, high-quality troubleshooting support. Every second that a wireless network is down or a teacher can’t log in to a particular software program is one minute lost to instruction. Add up all of these minutes over the course of a year, and hours of instruction can potentially go to waste due to common technology errors.
At CTS, our goal is to resolve schools’ common technology issues as quickly as possible so that teachers and students can return to instruction. With easy access to an IT help desk, teachers can plan their lessons knowing that CTS will find a solution quickly if a technology issue does arise. Rather than making a “Plan B, “C,” and “D” in the event of a technology-related issue, teachers can place the benefits of educational technology at the center of their lesson plans. CTS can also support students and families who encounter problems with their school-issued devices at home, providing support outside of the regular school day and helping schools conduct effective remote instruction.
At CTS, we help schools use technology to accomplish their unique missions.
With decades of experience in the educational technology space, our team has both the technical and context-specific knowledge to support schools in tackling their most complex IT challenges. Our goal is to take care of the technology so that teachers and school leaders can focus on their students’ learning and wellbeing. From new to more established schools, our team has worked with a diverse array of partners across the country to take their technology programming to the next level. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help your school accomplish its unique mission.