Software & Services

5 Essential Services School Leaders Need to be Successful

by Dan Cooper

September 16, 2020

As schools implement remote and hybrid learning for the 2020-2021 school year, there are many implications to consider, specifically around software and related services. Tech directors and IT teams have the arduous task of ensuring that all students have what they need to further their education, no matter the circumstances. Simultaneously, teachers must fulfill their normal responsibilities while building relationships with students at a distance. Overall, there’s a lot to consider from a logistical and operational standpoint. At Trox, we like to organize software and services into five categories:

  1. Learning Management
  2. Classroom Management
  3. Asset Management
  4. Device Management
  5. Data Analytics

By understanding these essential areas, you can evaluate your existing capabilities and make sure you have what you need for fall 2020.

1. Learning Management

Learning management systems (LMS) are vital for distributing and tracking educational materials for hybrid learning. With a well-designed LMS, teachers can easily share pre-recorded webinars, administer online tests, and post messages to students. LMSs can also be linked directly to state standards so that teachers know how their students are progressing relative to current benchmarks.

Those who are implementing remote learning models this year should invest in a quality LMS that meets both student and teacher needs. Trox can recommend powerful, easy-to-use learning management applications that are already well-suited for remote learning.

2. Classroom Management

Managing a digital classroom is very different from managing a real classroom. It can be hard to keep all students on task from behind a screen. Fortunately, classroom management solutions, like those offered by Impero, are designed to help teachers control the key elements of the remote learning experience.

For example, many classroom management systems allow teachers to see what students are doing on their personal devices. They can restrict access to problematic websites and block unsafe URLs. Educators can also use classroom management platforms to recreate in-classroom activities. With a few clicks, they can divide students into groups, conduct polls, share presenting privileges and more to keep learners engaged.

Until we return to in-person learning, classroom management tools will be instrumental for keeping students safe and on task.

3. Asset Management

As students transport their devices to and from school, it is harder to keep an accurate inventory and determine who is accountable for school-owned property. With an asset management solution, IT teams now know who a device has been allocated to, where it was last used and when it is due for return. Repairs and replacements can be tracked through the system, and administrators can plan to refresh devices at the end of their lifecycles.

Accidental damage protection plans, and disposal services also are vital components of any asset management solution. Let’s look at what’s included in each of these areas.

Accidental Damage Protection Plans

At Trox, we’ve learned that damage rates for devices can increase dramatically once they leave the school. In our experience, as soon as devices start traveling home, damage rates increase from as little as 2-3% per year to as much as 25-30%. Consequently, this can place a huge burden on support staff members who are responsible for keeping working devices in circulation.

An accidental damage protection plan allows IT teams to pass this responsibility on to a third party that can provide repairs against a strict service-level agreement. IT employees can then spend their time concentrating on the many other tasks and challenges created by remote learning. And, with unlimited claims and a zero deductible, administrators can be confident that every student and teacher will have a working device.

IT Asset Disposal Services

IT asset disposition (ITAD), or buyback program is also important to keep in mind. Administrators can recoup costs by selling unused assets back to vendors. Many districts are unaware of the value that remains in their surplus IT equipment that has reached the end of its lifecycle. Trox can collect this equipment and convert it into additional funds in the form of a check or a credit – all while ensuring compliance with student data privacy and environmental laws.

With Trox, you can arrange for IT asset disposal services on a transactional basis or as part of a revenue sharing agreement. We can establish a schedule to collect devices as they go end-of-life, recycle them in the most economical way and share the recovery value.

4. Device Management

Closely related to asset management, device management is how IT teams provide support to devices in the field. The right device management platform can save both time and money. IT can quickly deliver support patches, diagnose problems remotely, install new applications and track down missing assets via GPS.

Trox provides a seamless white glove service that saves IT directors from having to configure and distribute every single device themselves. Our team can pre-install software, log in to every device and load your district’s image in advance so that you can distribute laptops to students directly out of the box. Our goal is to create capacity for you to focus on other critical remote learning support areas.

5. Data Analytics

Finally, data analytics capabilities are crucial for administrators who want to monitor teacher success and student progress closely. We’ve learned that administrators often don’t know what their teachers use in the classroom. The rapid transition to remote learning last spring only exacerbated this problem, as educators used whatever tools they could find to press forward.

In 2020, we have the opportunity to study remote learning more closely and draw conclusions about what works and what doesn’t. For example, teachers can use data to assess how different software applications and devices directly impact student outcomes. They can map specific programs to individual classes or students and share insights with peer educators. On top of that, administrators can prove to district leaders that their networks are safe and secure.

IT staff can also use data to determine whether schools are making the most out of the licenses or devices they pay for throughout the year. Administrators can use data to assess remote learning effectiveness in real time across different schools and make improvements throughout the semester to further enhance learning experiences for students.

Secure Every Service You Need Through Trox

Setting up and optimizing each of the five service areas above can be daunting. With a partner like Trox, you can find solutions that cater perfectly to your district and school’s unique needs. We can recommend high-quality services and service-level agreements so that you know exactly what you’re getting to create an end-to-end remote learning ecosystem that works for everyone at your school. Check out all of our Software & Services.

About the Author

Daniel Cooper is the category manager for Software and Services at Trox. He has worked in the educational technology field for more than 20 years and is an expert in using software and services to support hardware implementation and deliver sustainable projects for the lifecycle of devices.