As the education space constantly changes and evolves, one thing is clear—digital transformation is here and will continue to become more dominant in schools. Technology has completely transformed the K-12 school landscape, and it continues to shift on a daily basis. Embracing these changes benefits staff and administrators alike. Going digital allows schools and districts to align with other districts, post-secondary institutions, and 3rd-party verification companies.
As a result, classrooms are drastically changing in order to keep up with and take advantage of new and emerging education-focused technology. From school district resources to immersive learning experiences, the education field is digitizing faster than ever before. Here are 10 digital transformation trends we expect to continue to make a big impact on staff, administrators, and students.
Using AR/VR for immersive learning experiences
Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) enable your staff to bring lessons and concepts to life. This technology creates fun and engaging learning experiences for students by bringing the digital and physical worlds together; instead of just learning about the Colosseum, going digital with VR solutions can transport students to Ancient Rome to see its construction and usage and the usage of AR solutions can allow for safer science experiments by simulating reactions without actually handling dangerous chemicals.
Immersive learning has proven to be beneficial at any stage of life. Digital content produced by technology like AR and VR essentially tricks the brain, meaning that students will react to those artificial experiences the same way they would in the real world. That provides better learning through doing, improving the retention of learning for many students.
Creating smart classrooms
Smart classrooms are the future of education. According to Absolute Reports, this particular niche of the ed-tech market is expected to be worth nearly $260 billion by 2028. That's for good reason. Every student learns differently, and new educational technology enables students to learn and work together in a way that works best for them.
Digitizing classrooms offers its own benefits to teachers as well. Software solutions are now available with pre-made resources and learning possibilities, which can save your staff hours on lesson planning each week while enhancing the curriculum. That means your teachers can leverage additional software solutions to make learning more exciting and engaging for students.
Highlighting students' strengths with personalized learning experiences
Digital transformation in K-12 schools and personalized learning experiences now go hand-in-hand with one another. Seasoned educators can achieve personalized learning techniques on their own. However, EdTech tools allow all teachers to offer this to their students while making the process more efficient and effective.
With the right tools, your staff can leverage each student’s interests for deeper learning. Specialized software takes students’ preferences, work styles, and interests into account and provides the resources to support all of those factors and maximize success. As Career Charge explains, personalized learning technology can spur greater engagement and deeper retention, especially among more reluctant learners.
Making learning accessible to all students
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, one digital transformation trend quickly caught administrators' attention—accessibility. But this idea goes beyond reaching students in different locations. Various software solutions can and should be implemented in the classroom to support students with an IEP.
The overwhelming majority of K-12 students with disabilities are educated in a regular classroom for over half of the school day. They need additional support when it comes to learning, and most teachers simply do not have the resources necessary to make that possible.
Screen readers for visually-impaired students and closed caption software for hearing-impaired students are examples of how the EdTech industry has started to close that gap. As more resources of this nature become available online, we expect this trend to grow in K-12 schools and districts across the country.
Improving learning and operations with artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence has the capability to enhance nearly every aspect of schools. AI is at the heart of a number of different EdTech solutions used to improve the learning experience for students.
For example, AI-powered tutoring systems can be used to support the large number of students who will need educational help at some point in their academic journeys. These systems can provide users with guidelines for learning and processing student feedback, making them wonderful assets for situations where teachers and tutors aren't always readily available.
AI can also help K-12 school district administrators collect and organize student data, such as student grade reports, medical records, IEP forms, and behavioral records. AI-driven tools can help administrative users to analyze that information in order to properly and efficiently complete tasks and pull reports used to inform decisions for creating and enhancing programs and curricula.
Improving data privacy and security in K-12 school districts
As more data is collected and stored digitally, K-12 school districts are increasingly concerned about privacy. The widespread use of technology creates the need for superior security.
Districts are responsible for collecting and managing a vast amount of sensitive student and employee data. This includes personally identifiable information such as names, addresses, and social security numbers, as well as academic records and medical information. Protecting this data from unauthorized access, theft, or misuse is crucial.
As a result, districts are implementing measures such as encryption, two-factor authentication, and regular backups. Additionally, they’re providing training to staff on privacy best practices and adopting policies to govern sensitive data.
Guardians need to know their student’s personal information is safe and secure when it’s in the hands of the school district. Not only does focusing on data privacy and security protect sensitive information, but it also builds trust with families.
Blockchain technology for secure record-keeping
Blockchain technology has gained significant attention in recent years as a means of ensuring secure record-keeping. One of the main advantages of using blockchain technology for record-keeping is it acts as a decentralized and transparent system that cannot be easily manipulated. This ensures sensitive information such as names, addresses, and medical records are kept safe.
By using a distributed ledger, schools, and districts ensure confidential information is tamper-proof and easily accessible. It’s an innovative way to securely verify student records—like transcripts and certifications.
The blockchain enables administrative staff to streamline processes and reduce operational costs. Digitizing student records and storing them on blockchain technology reduces the need for paper-based methods and eliminates the costs associated with physical storage and maintenance.
In addition, blockchains help districts ensure data privacy and compliance with regulations like FERPA. Implementing a secure and decentralized system provides greater control and protection over personal information.
The use of blockchain technology for secure record-keeping is a promising trend in the digital transformation of school districts. This technology revolutionizes the way districts manage and protect sensitive data and has the potential to give students greater control over their own records.
Shift towards cloud-based solutions
We’ve seen a massive shift toward cloud-based solutions in K-12 school districts. Cloud computing allows school districts to store and access data and applications over the internet rather than relying on physical servers or storage devices.
One of the main advantages of the cloud for districts is scalability and flexibility. They can easily add or remove users, applications, or storage space as needed without the need for additional hardware or infrastructure.
The cloud enables districts to reduce costs and increase efficiency—offsetting the burden of maintaining on-premise equipment. Schools and districts save money on hardware and maintenance and free up IT staff to focus on more strategic initiatives.
Keeping with the theme of safety, clouds also offer enhanced security and data protection. Cloud providers invest heavily in measures to protect against data breaches and offer encryption and multi-factor authentication to ensure privacy privileges to approved users.
As districts continue to adopt new technologies and expand their digital capabilities, cloud-based solutions provide a scalable, flexible, and secure IT infrastructure.
Emphasis on equity and accessibility
School districts are making once paper-based processes mobile-friendly to increase equity amongst families.
By making applications, registration forms, and other paperwork available online, schools ensure families have equal access to information and resources, regardless of their ability to physically visit the school or complete paper forms.
Mobile-friendly processes also enable families to complete mandatory administrative tasks at their convenience, rather than having to take time off work to visit the school during business hours. This increases engagement and participation amongst families, particularly those who may face barriers to attending in-person meetings or events.
School choice is a growing trend, and districts are removing barriers that prevent families from engaging in specialty, magnet, and charter programs. Mobile-friendly processes are a key component in the digital transformation of districts as leaders work to increase equity and accessibility for all families.
Making enrollment and school choice easier
Districts have made school choice easier by implementing digital tools that streamline the enrollment process for families and staff.
Electronic enrollment solutions for PreK-12 schools and districts make enrollment processes accessible for families and manageable for staff. Families can easily enroll from anywhere, eliminating barriers such as lack of access, transportation, and time. Meanwhile, staff can process applications more efficiently, thanks to a more streamlined system that eliminates tedious paper- or PDF-based processes.
In addition, administrators are using school choice solutions to make it easier for families to apply to a range of programs offered by the district. This self-serve, online solution is customizable to handle the nuances of each program offered by your school or district. Families can also access and apply multiple children to multiple programs from one central platform, making the school choice process simpler and more accessible.
Through adopting the right digital solution, schools and districts manage applications and waitlists, track admissions data, and maintain constant communication with parents and students throughout the entire enrollment process. By using these digital tools, administrations can improve the efficiency and transparency of their enrollment process, making it easier for families to make informed decisions about their students’ education.
Jumpstart digital transformation in your schools
There’s no denying that digital transformation has arrived in the education space and is here to stay. Embracing that change will benefit your staff and students in a multitude of ways. Let us help you ease into that digital transformation with our enrollment and choice technology guide and records management technology guide because finding the right digital solution is a must for a successful transition.
Scribbles’ product suite enhances the educational experience. Our tools help staff and administration at every stage of the student lifecycle. Contact us today and see which of our products is right for your schools.
Interested in learning more about the shift away from paper and toward digital? Download the Communication with Education Systems Study research report.
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