IT for education encompasses a range of technology services.
Schools increasingly depend on technology for daily instruction. From student Chromebooks and projectors to SMART boards, online instructional platforms, and content management systems, teachers regularly deploy educational technology to convey instructional content. Comprehensive school support services create an environment in which teachers can use these and other forms of educational technology on a consistent basis.
Without the proper support services in place, common technology issues can derail teacher practice, compromising instruction and ultimately threatening schools’ academic missions. But school support services are about more than just troubleshooting. Truly comprehensive technology support services help new schools launch; existing schools scale; support administrators in tackling their most complex school IT projects, and so much more. Below, we outline the school support services offered by CTS and emphasize the extent to which these services are increasingly central to daily school operations and students’ academic success.
CTS helps new schools launch strong technology programs from day one.
When new schools begin thinking about their launch, they often have only a cursory understanding of their educational technology needs. CTS helps new schools take a comprehensive approach to mapping their technology needs. By working collaboratively with school leaders, we map each school’s unique instructional design onto the educational technology marketplace, identifying the core products and services and niche offerings that will help the school enhance its instructional model.
At this point in a school’s development, costs are also top of mind. With decades of experience in the educational technology space, our team has a 360-degree view of the school technology market. Not only can we help schools identify which technology products they need, but we can also help school leaders purchase these products at a price that won’t break the bank.
We also help scale schools’ technology footprint to serve additional students.
CTS also helps school leaders modify their current technology programing, identify new tools they’ll need to serve additional students, and maximize their current technology inventory for existing schools that want to serve more students.
As schools grow and gather data on student performance, they’ll inevitably adapt their instructional practices accordingly. This process often requires changes in educational technology to improve students’ content mastery and the concomitant support to procure, set up, and monitor investments in new educational technology products.
Here, too, the cost is a factor. It wouldn’t make sense for a school to discard its existing technology programming because of a relatively minor change in instructional programming. By exposing school leaders to the range of capabilities available on their existing hardware, CTS can help school leaders save money without compromising their instructional vision.
Complex school IT projects often require third-party support services.
Some schools, of course, prefer to keep their IT services in-house. Staffing models may feature full-time staff members devoted exclusively to technology programming or include individuals who spend only a portion of their time managing school IT. In either case, some IT projects are so complex or so daunting in their scope that they require third-party support. In these cases, CTS can swoop in to help, supporting the in-house school IT team with technical expertise and on-the-ground support to accomplish the IT project quickly.
As the educational technology space continues to change at a rapid pace, it’s often the case that in-house IT teams simply lack the technical knowledge required to manage the latest-and-greatest school technology offerings. In such cases, third-party support services help the school make the most of its technology investments and save the in-house IT team valuable time.
Supplemental IT staff can push in to help schools in a pinch.
Relatedly, schools often need help managing their daily school operations or require additional technology support during hectic times of the school year. One in-house IT staff member normally isn’t enough to address the needs of an entire school, let alone a network of sites. Supplemental IT staff can fill the gap between the school’s stated technology goals and the capacity of their existing team members.
Whether short- or long-term, CTS’s supplemental IT staff allow in-house IT teams to “cruise direct” the school’s daily IT programming and spend their time engaging in long-term and strategic planning, rather than responding to the latest classroom IT ticket. Leveraging supplemental IT staff in this manner helps the school’s in-house team keep its head above water so that mission-critical educational technology tasks don’t inadvertently slip through the cracks.
Of course, securing, distributing, and maintaining hardware is the core of a school’s technology program.
Even the most comprehensive planning process means little if the school can’t get its hands on hardware for its teachers and students. Supply chain complexities exacerbated by the pandemic have made the timely purchase and delivery of critical school technology items increasingly difficult. For new school leaders, in particular, the prospect of opening their doors without the requisite teacher- and student-facing hardware can be a source of considerable anxiety.
CTS helps schools avoid these and other technology-related nightmare scenarios by leveraging our experience in the educational technology space to proactively source the most commonly used school technology items. We also help schools implement technology storage solutions that ensure the school’s hardware doesn’t take up unnecessary amounts of classroom space. These solutions also account for the fact that students’ technology use doesn’t just occur in the classroom but increasingly travels with students to and from class to class and from school to home.
Likewise, managed IT offerings are the bedrock of comprehensive school support services.
Of course, many schools take advantage of CTS’s managed IT services, which provide a comprehensive suite of school IT services at a predictable cost. From daily troubleshooting to complex IT projects, forward planning, and school expansion, CTS’s managed IT services can save school leaders considerable time they would otherwise devote to technology programming.
Because we embrace a flat-rate model, school leaders can also rely on CTS to deliver a consistent level of service at a stable price point. Stability in cost, in turn, allows school leaders to confidently budget for other instructional priorities with peace of mind knowing their school IT costs won’t skyrocket overnight.
With many of these services, effective use of federal E-rate funds can offset some financial costs.
Our team has also fulfilled E-rate bids for nearly 60 schools, leveraging our technical expertise to offset schools’ budgets and, again, free-up financial resources for other instructional priorities. Rather than paying full price for critical (and expensive) critical IT infrastructure, schools can engage the federal E-rate process and receive significant discounts on some of the most commonly used educational technology products. CTS ensures we both fulfill schools’ bids to the letter and effectively manage costs, so our partners realize the full benefits of federal reimbursement.
School support services can also include instructional data support.
Beyond hardware and IT infrastructure, CTS can also support schools in leveraging their student data to drive academic and behavioral-support decision-making. With easy-to-use and accessible dashboards, school leaders can place students’ academic, behavioral, and attendance data into conversation with one another, generating insights that wouldn’t otherwise be apparent.
These services also extend to state-mandated assessment data, which can, in turn, be used to make decisions about student grouping and class assignments, teacher interventions, and investments in curricular resources. Armed with these insights, school leaders can work smarter, not harder, all while improving student achievement across grade levels and subject areas.
Finally, comprehensive school support services feature professional development offerings for teachers and administrative staff.
Without ongoing professional development, teachers’ technology literacy will almost certainly plateau. For this reason, it’s important for school leaders to regularly weave technology programming into their regular professional development efforts.
By taking the time to share best practices for even the most commonly used educational technology platforms (e.g., PowerSchool, Google Classroom), school leaders can make tremendous changes in teacher practice. Our team can develop and deliver these trainings to our partner schools and ensure that the school’s latest technology investment makes an immediate difference in daily instruction. In the absence of ongoing training and support, it’s not hard to see how otherwise promising investments in educational technology can go to waste.
At CTS, we offer education IT services that support schools’ unique missions.
Our team has worked with more than 60 schools across the United States to develop world-class technology programming. Our team stands ready to “meet the moment” in the educational technology space with a comprehensive suite of school support services. Our transparently priced services also help school leaders ensure their limited financial resources are put to the best possible use and, in the process, allow school leaders to invest in other pressing instructional priorities.
Rather than incidental to instruction, we believe educational technology can add tremendous value to teacher practice and ultimately engage students who don’t otherwise respond to traditional instructional methods. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help your school accomplish its unique mission.