The buzz of AI has continued into the new year, dominating trend forecasts for the coming months. Some of the biggest names in tech have been busy boasting about its various applications – from spatial computing to implementing AI controls to speed up processes. 2024 is going to revolutionise the digital landscape as we know it. At least, I think that’s what it’s going to do…
For the average user, we’re still a little way off from implementing AI into our servers and asking it to do all the fiddly stuff for us, so we wanted to explore other ways we can get the technology in our lives to make things simpler. The demand for efficient and effective IT infrastructure in schools has never been greater, and as schools embrace digital transformation, the main challenge lies not just in keeping up with technology but working in a way to ensure optimal functionality and longevity.
- Prioritise Hardware Lifecycles:
We know budgets play a huge part in how often hardware can be replaced and with what, but we promise making a few wise investments can save you money in the long run. One of the foundational principles of IT management is to prioritise hardware lifecycles. Technology evolves rapidly, and outdated hardware can hinder productivity and compromise security. Regularly assess and plan for the replacement or upgrade of ageing equipment to ensure a reliable and efficient learning environment.
- Plan ahead:
Following on from above, having a solid plan means you don’t have to replace an entire device just because one piece of hardware is reaching the end of its life. Technology evolves fast, and constantly replacing machines isn’t practical or environmentally conscious. However, by taking a proactive approach and opting for cost-effective upgrades, you can breathe new life into existing devices. This extends their lifespan and delays the need for full replacements. For instance, as Microsoft shifts away from Windows 10 to Windows 11, upgrading becomes crucial. If your device isn’t compatible, it doesn’t automatically mean you must buy a new one. Microsoft’s information here suggests that a simple component upgrade might be enough for compatibility.
- Embrace Cloud Computing:
Cloud computing offers schools the opportunity to streamline IT processes and reduce the burden on local infrastructure. By migrating services and applications to the cloud, schools can benefit from scalability, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness. This not only lightens the load on local servers but also ensures access to the latest software updates and security features.
- Implement Robust Security Measures:
Year after year, we digitalise more and more of our information to the point that security is now more important than ever, especially in educational institutions handling sensitive student data. Rather than dealing with the costly and detrimental aftermath of a security breach, implement robust security measures from the start. Regularly update antivirus software, conduct vulnerability assessments and phishing tests, as well as educate staff and students about best practices in cyber security.
- Automation for Efficiency:
It may seem daunting to leave things in the hands of a machine without any human oversight, but automating routine IT tasks frees up valuable time for more strategic initiatives. From software updates and patch management to network monitoring, automation not only reduces the risk of human error but also ensures that systems are consistently optimised and secure. This enables IT teams to focus on more complex issues that require human intervention.
- Invest in Professional Development:
Ensure that your IT staff is equipped with the latest skills and knowledge by investing in professional development. Staying current with industry trends and certifications enables IT professionals to work smarter, implementing best practices and adopting innovative solutions that enhance the overall efficiency of school IT systems.
- User Training and Support:
Educate end-users about IT best practices to minimise support requests and enhance overall efficiency. Providing ongoing training for teachers and students on using technology responsibly and effectively can contribute significantly to a smoother IT environment. By creating a culture of continuous learning and resourceful technology use, you’re not just solving problems but preventing them. The ‘work smarter’ approach ensures that both teachers and students can navigate the digital landscape seamlessly, allowing everyone to focus on what matters most – education.
Working smarter, not harder, in managing IT in schools is not just a philosophy; it’s a necessity in today’s rapidly evolving technological landscape. By prioritising hardware lifecycles, embracing cost-effective upgrades, leveraging cloud computing, implementing robust security measures, automating routine tasks, investing in professional development, and providing user training and support, schools can ensure that their IT infrastructure remains efficient, secure, and conducive to the learning experience. This strategic approach not only enhances productivity but also positions educational institutions to adapt seamlessly to the ever-changing world of technology.