Education and technology are intrinsically linked: 57% of students say they depend on digital learning tools every day. The dependence on tech reached new heights during the pandemic when teachers needed videoconferencing to execute even the most basic lesson plans, and students had to learn how to send, receive, and edit documents online. Now more than ever, the future of education is linked with technology. Here’s how to make sure you’re ready to embrace this trend.
Do You Have the Infrastructure to Support Tech-Focused Education?
Schools often have aging and outdated systems. According to recent statistics, 45% of schools have a slow Wi-Fi connection, and 63% don’t have the budget they need to afford the technology their teaching and learning depend on.
The inability of educational organizations to regularly invest in maintenance and technology upgrades leave systems vulnerable to breakdowns and breaches. To combat this trend, bandwidth and network infrastructure need to support advancements in education. Having a strong internet connection and effective network can give you a solid foundation as you endeavor to support this technological movement.
For example, you can:
- Use the services of an outside technology provider to assess exactly how much bandwidth you need for your students and educators.
- Use the services of knowledgeable professionals to design the most effective network possible—even with limited funds.
- Reduce the workload on your IT staff by outsourcing certain management and security functions, saving you money and relieving stress on your internal network admins.
Do You Have the Funds?
The American Rescue Plan (ARP) has funds available for schools to support technology upgrades. As part of its $1.9 trillion stimulus for businesses and citizens across the United States, the ARP allocates $122 billion in funds for elementary, middle, and high schools impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. To apply, you can contact the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education or get more information here. With the ARP, you can get the financial assistance you need to foster a technologically advanced learning environment that makes it easier for teachers to teach and students to learn.
The ARP can help schools in both the United States and U.S. territories. In addition to the $122 billion it provides elementary and secondary schools, it also makes $36 billion available to post-secondary educational institutions. A school district needs to use at least 20% of the funding to address needs stemming from learning loss due to the pandemic, and certain percentages of funds need to be used for summer and after-school programs.
You can learn more about how ARP can be used to fund educational institutions—including technology endeavors—in our American Rescue Plan ebook.