Technology unquestionably brings tremendous benefits, both in classroom and across the university or college – and while staff, teachers and students all need to be able to understand and make good use of IT, the focus within institutions needs to remain firmly on the core educational goals
Technology has become both a key enabler for education and a key differentiator for universities. Digital technology is such an integral part of every young person’s life now, and they will expect to have more or less permanent access to IT tools and resources throughout their education.
IT helps to delivers a better learning experience within the lecture theatre. Indeed, the quality of IT used in universities can make all the difference to how it is perceived by students and and prospective students – and it’s increasingly important for institutions to attract the best.
Colleges and universities are also under significant financial strain. Yet, there is pressure on the education sector to put more focus on frontline teaching and achieving more.
On the one hand then, there is a need for education to spend more on technology to improve learning, and to give students secure access to online resources. On the other, there is a need to keep budgets tight and ensure that any spending on IT delivers a clear return on investment for everyone.
It is not easy to get the balance right. IT is seen as a powerful enabler, not only for improved teaching and learning, but also for streamlining and efficiency of planning and processes. Across education and the wider public sector, the government is pushing for a digital-first approach and encouraging greater use of the cloud.
Leave it to the experts
But the latest technology does not come cheap, and this is why many organisations within the sector are now looking to place at least some of their IT into the cloud and also to hand over the management of IT resources to specialist suppliers.
Doing this can significantly reduce or even eliminate the need for capital outlay and ongoing management. It gives universities greater flexibility and almost limitless scalability. They also benefit from the advice of professional experts, who can accurately identify and scope requirements, and subsequently monitor infrastructure and networks, data backups and digital security. This will free internal staff to focus on meeting the immediate and direct needs of users and students.
SCC has an extensive portfolio of flexible, hybrid cloud services, professional services, and managed services through which we can take responsibility for these essential resources and services. By passing them over to a third-party specialist, educational institutions give themselves more time to focus on delivering great learning experiences within the classroom. But while we can also provide and support most of the technologies that are required there as well, what we definitely can’t do is teach – we will leave that vitally important job to the professionals.
Simon Meredith has been writing about IT and business for over 30 years. He worked on the launch of PC Dealer in 1986 and later helped establish CRN as the leading channel business title in the UK. Simon lives in Shrewsbury, has three grown-up children and is a keen runner.