Embracing the Future: Mobile Technology in Education

By | EdTech

mobile tech in educationLet’s face it: when employees can use their cell phones to do their work, they are more productive. As it turns out, so are students. And given that they can quickly accomplish tasks on the go, they are more likely to do so. Mobile is the future, and our students are the best indication of that. Schools have shifted from a no-tolerance policy on cell phones to incorporating them into learning.

Mobile is here to stay; by the end of the decade, there will be more than ten billion mobile devices in the world. And more than half of all students in grades 6-12 believe that having access to a mobile device is essential to their education. But beyond the proliferation of the devices and the desire to be able to use them, the more practical matter is that by embracing technology, we can better prepare our students to be the next generation of engineers, scientists, coders, and innovators. Mobile technology allows us to communicate and collaborate on a global scale, creating enormous opportunity for students and teachers alike.

Benefits of Embracing Mobile Tech in the Classroom

  • Continuous learning. Because our students are always connected, the potential for continuous learning and unique educational opportunities increase. Students won’t be locked inside a classroom to complete their education but may be able to spend time shadowing someone in their field of interest while taking notes, answering questions, preparing a presentation or even virtually sharing the experience with classmates from a tablet or phone.
  • Individualized education. One of the main struggles teachers and administrators face is having the time and resources to individualize education. But technology can make the process much simpler, allowing teachers to focus on spending time interacting with students rather than modifying lessons.
  • Students can become the teachers. The generation of students currently in the classroom has quite often grown up with technology in their grasp. They intuitively know how to use it and many opportunities exist to allow them to highlight and develop their talents.
  • Better collaboration. Rather than splitting your class into groups, students can collaborate on group projects with students from other schools, in other states, or even in other countries.

If your school is looking for ways to embrace technology in education, the iSchools Initiative provides support, training, and certification for students, teachers, and school districts to help them become innovative and empowered.

thinkCSC partners with K-12 schools to assist in developing cost-effective ed tech strategies. From helping schools purchase hardware and software at discounted rates to providing better-than-OEM warranties that ease the pain of managing tech in schools, thinkCSC is a proud Ohio education partner.

Join Us in Sandusky for a Google EdTech Event

By | EdTech

iTIP-Ohio-Logo-150On May 14 and 15 at Kalahari Resort in Sandusky, the Instructional Technology Integration Partnership of Ohio (ITIP Ohio) is hosting an edtech summit featuring Google for Education. With sessions such as “Google Classroom 101” and “Preparing Chrome Books for Online Testing,” school administrators will have the opportunity to learn how to make the most of the technology that is becoming commonplace in every school.

thinkCSC will be on hand at this Google edtech event both to improve your knowledge and understanding of Google classrooms as well as to help school administrators learn how to manage their tech requirements cost effectively. With our expertise in infrastructure and security requirements, we can help you make the most of your Google classroom. thinkCSC partners with K-12 schools to assist in developing cost-effective edtech strategies. From helping schools purchase hardware and software at discounted rates to providing better-than-OEM warranties that ease the pain of managing tech in schools, thinkCSC is a proud Ohio education partner.

We are excited to have the opportunity to connect with school administrators and educators to discuss the enormous opportunity that exists in delivering edtech in a comprehensive, secure, and budget-friendly manner. If you plan on attending ITIP Ohio Summit in Sandusky, please be sure to stop by and see us. To learn more about what we can do to help your school embrace edtech safely and cost effectively, contact us.

We are looking forward to being a part of this event and hope to see you there.

Learn more about the ITIP Ohio Summit, and register now to attend.

EdTech Takes Center Stage

By | EdTech | No Comments

OETCThe thinkCSC team attends the Ohio Educational Technology Conference (OETC) every year, and we’ve been witness to the explosion in EdTech that has occurred over the last decade. A computer class was once something students took for 30 minutes a day as a way to become familiar with new technology; today’s students come into school knowing and using more types of technology than any previous generation. This is changing the way education is delivered, and schools often find it difficult to keep up.

The future of education is exciting, because technology does hold the key to transforming how students learn. Rather than sitting through a boring social studies lecture, jotting down facts about myriad countries, students can go online and collaborate on projects with students in another countries. Teachers from different schools can collaborate on assignments and projects as well, and as teachers begin to embrace the value of technology, they are finding easier ways to meet all of the added requirements of documentation and testing that would otherwise be burdensome. Even parents are benefitting from the EdTech revolution, enjoying more transparency, from access to information about their children’s’ progress to easier access of school information.

For school administrators, however, each change in technology is accompanied by the stress of determining how to best implement the technology while still working under budget constraints, still keeping students safe, and still keeping data secure. It can be time consuming and troublesome for schools to troubleshoot and maintain equipment, manage warranties, or even to manage backup and recovery solutions that keep the school operational.

thinkCSC partners with K-16 schools to assist in developing cost-effective EdTech strategies. From helping schools purchase hardware and software at discounted rates to providing better-than-OEM warranties that ease the pain of managing tech in schools, thinkCSC is a proud partner in education. If you will be attending #OETC15, please be sure to stop by and see us at Booth 542. To learn more about what we can do to help your school embrace EdTech safely and cost-effectively, contact us.

CSCare vs. OEM Warranties

By | EdTech | No Comments

edtechAs school aged children enjoy their summer break, school administrators continue to plan for a new group of students – who tend to be hard on computer equipment – which makes a hardware warranty a crucial investment to ensure a prolonged life and ROI for the school. During the last school year, thinkCSC repaired thousands of items, including a PC with a nest of mice and a laptop that someone thought was a Keurig.

The CSCare Difference

Not only does thinkCSC help schools obtain the equipment they need at the prices that fit budget constraints, we also offer CSCare – a full, better-than-OEM warranty and service for IT equipment. thinkCSC purchases from the same supplier as CDWG, so we can offer highly competitive rates for technology purchases. Our CSCare warranty is less expensive than OEM warranties. CSCare is designed to provide schools with the easiest, most cost-effective option for keeping your technology working, while in the hands of your students, for years to come.

CSCare advantages:

  • Direct access to thinkCSC certified engineers
  • All-in-one solution that includes shipping, installation and vendor support
  • Up to 20 percent less than OEM warranty costs
  • Cut repair time in more than half with our convenient device pick-up, repair and drop-off technique; in many cases, we can complete repairs on site

Read more about the CSCare difference.

thinkCSC is dedicated to helping Ohio schools meet edtech mandates and deliver the highest quality equipment and service to your students. Our experience with both small and large school districts helps us steer you away from what doesn’t work and focus on what does. If you would like more information on how we can help you achieve your school’s goals, by making wise & customized IT decisions, please contact us.

Managing EdTech Costs in Ohio Schools

By | EdTech | No Comments

edtech costsStudents returned to school in Ohio last month, and with their return, administrators are challenged to not only deliver a quality education but also to meet new edtech mandates that require technology to be incorporated into the educational experience. By the 2014-2015 school year students will be required to complete their final exams using a computer-based testing system rather than the old bubble-answer-sheet multiple-choice exams.

Technology requirements are already written into the new education standards. And while the goals of the Ohio Department of Education are laudable, implementing the new requirements has proved to be both costly and difficult for school administrators. Sourcing equipment at a reasonable cost, updating infrastructure to handle the influx of users and handling the issue of security, both on campus and off, with devices that travel to and from school has made back-to-school time more difficult.

Even when school districts are large enough to employ their own IT staffs, the burden of managing student technology needs can be overwhelming. thinkCSC has partnered with a number of school districts in Ohio to extend the ability of their existing IT staffs, to handle the growing tech demands Ohio schools are facing and will continue to face. In addition to sourcing equipment at the most competitive prices, thinkCSC offers a warranty service for schools that removes the burden of repair and replacement issues, by offering a warranty service that costs less than the manufacturer warranty and includes pick up and repair services.

As schools face looming deadline requiring them to provide computer-based testing to all students in order to meet the latest round of Ohio tech mandates, the challenge will be to do so without sacrificing the quality of the education or spending more than the school budget can endure. thinkCSC is a successful Ohio education partner and can help Ohio schools meet the challenges of the new tech mandates more effectively, providing solutions that enhance the experience for students and teachers while removing the burden from the shoulders of administrators.

Contact us today for more information.

Schools, EdTech, and Budgeting

By | EdTech | No Comments

Making the Most of the EdTech Mandates

school technologyThere are many state-mandated requirements in order to introduce technology into schools for the 2013-2014 school year. While building their budgets, virtually every district is responding to these mandates differently. BYOD (bring your own device), BYOT (bring your own technology) and 1:1 are the most common methods used. Some of the most important considerations regarding the use of devices in schools, however, are largely geared towards the 1:1 wireless scenario.

Is Your Infrastructure Capable of Handling the Devices You Choose?

As these devices – iPads, tablets or laptops – are given to students, schools must determine infrastructure readiness. The physical structure inside the schools, in regards to Internet connectivity bandwidth, must be capable of sustaining all of the devices. There are many elements that go into that.

For example, an increasing number of mobile tablet devices use a larger amount of Internet bandwidth, versus a traditional laptop that uses a local service typically hosted at the school. The more cloud services that are being used, the greater the demand on Internet infrastructure and on the bandwidth that the school district has. When a school chooses to deploy a large number of devices, the process of ensuring that the network is physically capable of providing a reliable and seamless end-user experience is complicated.

Do You Have Enough Bandwidth to Keep Everyone Connected?

Consider the amount of bandwidth necessary for your network; you want to ensure that you have sufficient internal bandwidth to sustain the number of devices you are deploying, as well as enough bandwidth to support your connectivity to the outside world. Essentially, the amount of bandwidth necessary comes down to the applications that you are using on your devices. If students are using iPads or Chromebooks, these cloud-based devices demand a substantially higher external bandwidth, as opposed to those devices that are using a local resource hosted by the school.

Addressing Security and MDM

Some schools provide the devices and let students take them home. By doing so, they then have to determine how they will continue to manage content that comes through the device. Is there still content filtering taking place outside of the school? Mobile device management – or MDM – is another infrastructure readiness issue. Once you have all of the devices, you want to have the capability to easily maintain them.

If you have to deploy application software, you want to be able to do so for a group of devices at a time or all of the devices simultaneously. If you need to filter content, change security preferences or block certain applications because of content, you want to be able to do that quickly, as opposed to one device at a time. If you have MDM in place, that significantly reduces the amount of time it takes for you to deploy, maintain and monitor your devices, at the same time ensuring that the devices are secure.

Saving Money on Device Investment, Warranty and Repair Services

In addition to infrastructure concerns related to bandwidth and connectivity of technology in schools, the cost of purchasing devices and warranties must be considered. School districts often purchase the manufacturer’s warranty and offer additional accidental damage insurance to the students – passing the cost onto the parents – on top of the manufacturer’s warranty. thinkCSC purchases from the same supplier as CDWG, so we can offer highly competitive rates for devices. As well, our warranty is less expensive, and we provide convenient device pick-up, repair and drop-off, thereby saving you time as well as money. In many cases, we can complete repairs on site.

Many district IT departments are capable of deploying technology devices themselves, but CSC can help, either with a particular portion or with the entire process. Our experience with both small and large school districts helps us steer you away from what doesn’t work and focus on what does. thinkCSC looks at the big picture, ensuring device deployments go as smoothly as possible. If you would like more information about our school technology and warranty services, please contact us.

Physical Security in Education

By | EdTech | No Comments

physicalsecurityedu_smallerThere has been a huge increase in concern about physical security in schools, especially with the recent tragic shootings. Schools are being pushed by communities, school boards and parents to improve physical security, but, as with education technology, sometimes those tasked with deciding how to implement these important security measures may not understand the underlying technological implications. For example, physical security cameras can offer greater peace of mind, but if you simply choose analog cameras, there’s a lot of cable wiring that has to be done throughout the school. If you go wireless, can your network and switches handle the additional traffic? And what about authentication and encryption to prevent snooping or interception of the video signal?

Bottom line, from digital physical security cameras, which can allow the school property to be monitored from anywhere, to mobile device management, to more comprehensive technology solutions, there are many best practices for meeting growing demand for better technology and physical security. But the first thing you need to ask is whether your technological and internal process infrastructure is ready. An iT service provider can help you set up the ideal IT infrastructure that will achieve increased physical security while doing so in the most cost-effective way possible.

Is Your School Ready for the EdTech It Needs?

By | EdTech | No Comments

schooltechAs a Columbus IT service provider, our goal is to do more than simply provide a one-time solution and then walk away. We want to engage in a partnership to make sure our clients receive the technology, technological support, and security they need in the most economical way. Recently, there has been a huge push to move towards one-to-one technology deployments using iPads and other iOS devices as well as to increase the physical security at schools. EdTech is the future of education. But is your infrastructure ready to handle these changes?

Because we work quite often with people in the education sector, budget constraints are always at the forefront. The struggle for administrators is that while budgets are shrinking, the tech requirements school administrators are being asked to implement keep increasing. And sometimes these devices are being deployed before the infrastructure is ready to handle them. In helping one school prepare for the purchase and deployment of 1700 iPads, we asked the following questions:

  • Do you have enough bandwidth and enough wireless access points?
  • What is the management policy you are implementing?
  • How will you use these devices to deliver curriculum?
  • How will you filter content?

Sometimes the people tasked with deciding whether to adopt these devices may not fully understand the underlying technological requirements for a successful implementation. And since most schools have limited IT staff (if they have any IT staff at all), a Columbus IT service provider can help facilitate the introduction of the technology in a way that is the most cost effective without sacrificing security. From networking to ensuring you have enough bandwidth to handle the connection of that many devices, thinkCSC partners with education providers to overcome challenges like content filtering. Have you considered the complications of filtering content on an iPad? It’s almost impossible to manage if it’s being taken off school grounds. We help schools create workable solutions to these and other infrastructure issues.