Public schools are in desperate need of a technology update. As schools fall farther and farther behind the times, student learning outcomes are plunging with them. Luckily, with the right online learning technology, public schools now have an opportunity to pick up advanced systems and bridge learning gaps.
Wondering how? In this article, we examine the growing tech problems public schools are facing and look at how SmartFox K12 is catching schools up to the e-learning curve.
Is public school technology out of date?
Most public schools may have progressed from the days of overhead projectors, televisions on rollers, and chalkboards, but technology in public schools across the nation is still wildly out of date. It’s a problem that’s gaining an increasing amount of attention from technology pros in schools. One survey found 56 percent of school IT managers complain not enough money is spent on technology—an 18 percent increase from just three years ago.
IT pros aren’t the only ones who have noticed the growing problem of outdated public school technology. According to one study, 96 percent of administrators and principals support an increased use of digital learning tools in their schools. The same study found 85 percent of instructors felt the same way.
Unfortunately, as technology becomes more and more available, public schools that haven’t started embracing the modern age are missing out on big opportunities to catch students up, lift workloads off education pros, and advance learning.
Are outdated classrooms holding students back?
Technology is sitting on the shelf at a time when many public schools appear to need it more than ever to break through to students. According to the latest National Report Card, only around one in every three eighth graders is proficient in reading and math. This comes at a time when more than half of teachers say their school is overcrowded, and many are unable to give students the one-to-one attention they need.
Technology could help bridge that gap in learning if public school leaders decide to pick it up. One report found e-learning could boost learning retention rates by 25-60 percent.
Beyond these direct learning impacts, technology also has the potential to help leaders do their jobs more efficiently. Because some online learning platforms include built-in analytic programs and reporting, it’s now possible for teachers, counselors, and administrators to identify learning pitfalls right away—setting the table to drive more progress.
Are public schools ready to move to online learning?
As public schools recognize deficiencies, many are starting to pick up online learning technology. However, those public schools that don’t plan properly are running into similar problems. Here are some challenges that are popping up when schools rush into online learning:
Learning management system (LMS) problems
Your school’s learning management system (LMS) is the program that facilitates the documentation, automation, tracking, and delivery of instruction. It also usually includes dashboards, portals, or other tools that allow your students to access educational resources. As important as a school’s LMS is, many of them are not easy to use on traditional online learning platforms. Many schools will jump into online learning only to find out their LMS is clunky, difficult to use, and confusing. That can quickly lead to frustrations for instructors and hurt learning.
Student information system (SIS) challenges
Although you’ll use it internally for the most part, your school’s student information system (SIS) is equally as important to driving better learning outcomes. The SIS houses critical information such as enrollment data, performance figures, transcripts, and other data. Unfortunately, a traditional SIS can be difficult to access and often requires administrators to scrape together data on their own to formulate those reports that are crucial to progress, accreditation, and keeping the school moving forward.
Another major headache that comes with a traditional SIS and LMS is that they aren’t connected. That means school leaders often waste time re-entering data or piecing together reports manually.
The messy IT aftermath
When school leaders realize how much time they’re wasting on cluttered systems, they usually turn to IT pros for help. Unfortunately, that forces IT pros to try connecting incompatible systems. It all leaves staff overworked and distracted from learning progress.
SmartFox K12 is catching public schools up to the e-learning curve.
At SmartFox K12, our education leaders saw this tech chaos first hand. That’s why we built a learning platform for educators. Here’s how SmartFox K12 is catching public schools up in a hurry:
An LMS for education pros
The SmartFox K12 LMS is built to make it easier for your instructors to teach, counselors to lead, and administrators to push the school forward. Here are some ways our LMS is lifting the burden off of your education leaders:
- Built-in analytics: Our LMS includes built-in analytics that lets you track student and teacher performance. With clear data in hand, it’s easier to identify academic barriers and make those decisions that drive better results.
- Intuitive tools: An LMS should make it easy for your instructors to do what they do best. That’s why we built our LMS to include intuitive dashboards and integrate with popular tools such as Zoom and Qualtrics.
- Advanced curriculum: SmartFox K12 curriculum has been used by public schools to gain accreditation and is aligned with major regulatory standards, such as the UC A-G. That means you can trust it and use it to reach students on a deeper level.
- Personalized delivery: Coursework is designed to adjust to the learner’s needs. That allows students to learn at a pace that fits them, and it lifts pressure off of your instructors.
A connected LMS and SIS platform
Because the SmartFox K12 Online Learning platform includes an LMS and SIS integration, information flows into a single, easy-to-use information hub. That translates into smoother data management and a clearer window into school progress. Here are some ways this design is helping public school leaders spark better learning:
- A clear path to graduation: Because student information is funneled into an easy-to-access database, counselors can access transcripts, enrollment data, and other information that they need to create a path to graduation and beyond.
- Easy reporting: Reporting data is a breeze for administrators, with streamlined information, downloading, exporting, and sending.
- Simpler Staff management: Because information is connected across systems, administrators and staff can spend less time manually plugging in figures and more time leading.
- Fewer IT headaches: The SmartFox K12 learning system was built with IT pros in mind. Because SmartFox K12’s LMS and SIS are connected, IT pros don’t have to waste time piecing incompatible systems together. They also spend less time tracking down buried student information or helping ed leaders limp through unintuitive software programs. That all frees IT pros up to enhance technology and enjoy their day.
Learn more about the latest education technology.
If your school is thinking about making the leap into online education, we want to help you transition the right way. Want to learn more about SmartFox’s K12 Learning System and how we’re built for better learning outcomes?
Contact one of our education pros today to learn more about our latest education technology.
About the Author
Mark is the co-founder of Method Schools and SmartFox and has been working in the marketing and finance areas of K-12 education for two decades. He holds a B.S. in Business from Utah Valley University and an MBA from Brigham Young University. In his spare time he’s usually on his mountain bike.