Hiring an Edtech consultant? Here are some things you should know

A Guide for K-12 Schools Hiring an Education Technology Consultant

Hiring an Edtech consultant can be a great way for K-12 schools to get the most out of their technology and ensure that they are providing the best possible education for their students. Edtech consultants will help you with everything from figuring out what kind of Desktops or laptops would work best in your classroom, to implementing the right allocation Internet Bandwidth for the new blended learning models, to designing the Cloud space for a seamless teaching and learning experience. Hence It’s important to hire an EdTech consultant who understands this new learning environment and can help you transform your school into something that will prepare your students for life after Covid 19 Pandemic.

To learn more about why Edtech consultants may be right for your school, read on!

The importance of hiring an education technology consultant

Technology is rapidly evolving, and your organization is following right along. Sometimes it might be difficult to keep up with everything, especially when a new need arises that you haven’t dealt with previously. Fortunately, you don’t have to tackle these difficulties on your own.An ICT consultant can assist you in meeting your Institution’s demands while also providing you with knowledge that you can’t get anyplace else.

By bringing in a consultant to help with larger projects and one-off assignments, your employees are free to stay focused on the main operations of your business. An ICT consultant may also help your IT department be more efficient and simplify procedures for your team. A consultant’s experience and unique viewpoint will assist your IT department in running more efficiently.

What is an Education Technology Consultant?

Education technology consulting is the practice of utilizing information and communication technologies to create, enhance, or support education. Edtech (education technology) consultants help schools implement ed tech into their curriculum. Ed tech can include any tool that enhances learning inside a classroom environment, such as smartboards, laptops for students, Learning Management Systems, Cloud Computing to make learning anywhere, Connectivity inside & Outside the classroom

Define the scope of work

The scope of work of an Edtech Consultant would include reviewing any Education technology that is currently in place, and making recommendations on how to improve the education process with Edtech. It would also include setting up an LMS (Learning Management System) for online courses or blended learning after Covid 19 Pandemic.

The objective is to use contemporary technologies in a way that not only meets present standards but also takes into account future needs while still providing excellent instruction and student learning.

The Edtech Consultant’s role would also involve determining the best delivery methods for content, whether through blended learning (in-class and online) or smart classrooms. The Edtech consultant will help in streamlining processes between technology providers and the education department to make sure that all stakeholders are on the same page during transition from traditional teaching methodologies to new collaborative learning platforms.

Identify and prioritize needs

It’s not enough for schools to buy student and staff computers, create a robust WiFi network, provide the most up-to-date and best student information software, or communicate with parents utilizing a messaging platform. If these systems don’t communicate with one another—that is, if they exist as autonomous silos rather than as interconnected parts of a schoolwide initiative—the institution will never achieve its true potential. Only when different schools’ assets and knowledge are combined can the goal of full synchronization be reached.

Once you have identified your needs, it’s time to prioritize them. There are many EdTech companies competing for K-12 contracts, so there is no reason not to take advantage of the opportunities available. However, school administrators must carefully weigh their options before choosing one company to monopolize its EdTech offering or another to fall through the cracks of the  purchasing process. Here’s where an Edtech Consultant adds value by :

  • Edtech Consultant can help you prioritize and streamline your EdTech needs.
  • Edtech consultant has deep knowledge on the technology  EdTech companies offer and can help you weigh Edtech company options.
  • EdTech Consultant will be your liaison with all of the EdTech vendors during the RFP process.
  • Edtech consultant has experience writing EdTec vendor requests for proposals (RFP). Edtech consultant is able to provide an unbiased, customized view on how each brand offers  the products and services you’re looking for.
  • Edtech consultants can help your IT Administrators to identify specific EdTec software brands that are a best fit for your school’s unique needs, budgeting considerations, curriculum standards, etc., when writing the EdTech RFP.
  • EdTech Consultant will manage all of the EdTec vendor requests
  • Edtech Consultant has the connections to get you great deals on EdTech.
  • Edtech Consultant knows how these tools will integrate into your school culture, mission, vision and drive for success.

Create a timeline for implementation

The success of any vision is measured by its execution and adoption.  Edtech is no different. EdTech implementation should be a phased approach, with a clear strategy and timeline for EdTec project execution.

  1. Edtech Consultant will provide you with the insights  to create a Edtech plan that provides you with the clear vision and direction needed to execute your EdTec initiatives successfully.
  2. Edtech Consultant will provide you with the tools to create an EdTec plan that outlines all of your technology initiatives on both short term (this year) and long term (next three years).
  3. Education Technology Consultant can help schools understand how EdTech works, what tools are available in the market today and where they fit inside their school.

Since consultants possess deep knowledge on the technology road map, they will be able to provide you with the right insights on future Edtech Integration , Edtech ROI, EdTech planning strategies.

The end result of this process will be an EdTec roadmap that outlines all the technology initiatives at your school – both short term (this year) and long term.

Determine how to measure success

Now that we have a Vision, Mission and Implementation calendar, let’s look at the tools on how to measure the success of the Technology implementation.

An Edtech Roll out project calendar is the prime step to measure the success. Edtech consultants should be able to provide a detailed plan with a clear workweek break up on project stages. Ideally, in 6-8 weeks, an Edtech design/implementation plan should be ready to track the Edtech implementation. Now that you’ve completed the Edtech design/implementation plan, keep a monthly calendar for the EdTech consultant and school leadership team to document progress every month. – this will help in building a healthy relationship with EdTec consultants. While measuring the success of implementation, its important that various stakeholders like Teachers, Academic Coordinators, IT Administrators and Students are involved  to form an EdTec implementation plan. – Edtech success lies in the fact that all stakeholders are involved from the beginning of the design process to its completion.

EdTech consulting is a unique blend of pedagogy, technology and market knowledge which makes it difficult for individuals who have not undergone extensive training or experienced themselves to provide successful EdTech planning.

Choose the best vendor(s) based on criteria defined in step two 

When it comes to choosing an Edtech Consultant, the following factors need to be on your checklist.

  • Technical Certifications from IT and Audio Visual OEM’s / Body
  • Certification from EdTech Industry Organizations on Using Technology in the Classroom
  • Experience in previous Edtech Projects – Successful or Not Successful
  • Cost vs. Benefits / ROI of Edtech Project(s) under Consultants Experience and Credentials
  • References from Past Edtech Clients Who Have Worked with the consultant.
  • Improve the future impact of your Institution and help educate more people by providing an overview of past efforts, future plans, and implementation challenges.

Develop a contract that covers what will be provided, when, by whom, and at what cost

While signing up for an Education technology Consultant, it’s important for the institution to sign up a contract  to ensure that both parties are on the same page. Edtech consultants should develop a contract which outlines what will be provided, when, by whom and at what cost.

Education technology consulting is meant to provide an Edtech solution for K-12 schools based upon their needs. Not every school has exactly the same requirements or vision of how education is provided in their institution. Hence the contract should be customized to suit  the school’s Edtech vision and  requirements.

The Edtech solution should be provided by the Edtech consultant in weeks or months depending upon what was decided earlier during the contract negotiation process. It’s important to note that Edtech consulting is not a one-time thing; instead it could require multiple sessions/visits from Edtech consultants for implementation of changes and updates according to the school’s technology  adoption plan.

When Edtech consulting sessions are conducted, the Edtech consultant should minimize disruption to the student’s daily learning process. Edtech consultants can also provide blended learning training to teachers and other staff members who will be involved in implementation of Edtech solutions at school.

Conclusion: Education technology consulting is one of the best ways for K-12 schools to get the most out of their technology and make sure that they are providing the best possible education for their students. If you’re interested in implementing Edtech solutions at your school, but don’t know where to start or what should be prioritized first, an education technology consultant can help identify needs and provide a timeline with implementation steps. The key to success when it comes to Edtech implementations lies not only in choosing the right software solution, but also hiring someone who has experience working on these types of projects before. This way you won’t have any surprises along the way which will slow things down significantly. If you think hiring an Edtech Consultant is the right move for your school, contact us today!

Hybrid Learning image

Teaching – Learning from anywhere to anyone (Hybrid Learning).

It’s no surprise that 2020 has shifted school operations on a global scale. As we prepare for a very unique back-to-school season, let’s explore how the new instructional scenarios can really help the teachers and learners in 2021.

Better learning outcomes using Interactive Flat Panel Display

While educators are using various terms – blended, hybrid, remote – often interchangeably, to describe the new classroom environment, many teachers, parents, and students are unsure what to expect in the new normal of 2021. 

Different scenarios are discussed currently, to be put in use when the learners return to their classrooms in 2021. 

Scenario – 1

Teachers teach from classrooms while students learn remotely, a synchronous online classroom model

Scenario – 2

Teachers and students both remote and rely on the internet to conduct their classes. This can accommodate both Synchronous and Asynchronous teaching styles

Scenario – 3

Learners and Teachers will be in the classroom together with Social distancing measures in place.

Whatever the scenario, the move to these varied instructional scenarios is testing the significance of education technology as a true teaching tool.Schools are finding that they rely on educational technology that provides a maximum amount of flexibility and integration. These attributes allow schools to pivot should the need arise, especially if COVID-19 cases continue to increase.

Saving teachers time and reducing stress should be our Top priority, especially now that teachers are working overtime.

This year is an opportunity for schools to assess and reassess which tech tools create efficiencies and which one’s don’t. Many schools are already in their third term, so it’s actually less about reopening and more about sustainable continuity of learning and comprehension.We encourage & recommend Schools authorities and Education authorities to adopt future ready solutions designed to meet the needs of the 21st century educator. No more beating around the bush. Teachers definitely deserve better.

We highly recommend the Hybrid Teaching Learning model, which lets the teacher teach the students both in-person and remote (Online) simultaneously. While in-person teaching will remain an essential part of education for the foreseeable future, we now see the need to open up multiple channels to respond to not just extreme conditions like a global disaster but the day-to-day interruptions of effective education. Hybrid teaching not only makes learning more accessible to the differently-abled, but it also allows educators to reach remote areas, helps students stay connected during long absences, and familiarizes both educators and learners with the latest communication technologies.This way, the teacher doesn’t have to repeat the same class and can get more focussed on learner engagement. This model allows the teacher to integrate both Synchronous and Asynchronous teaching methodology.

To build a successful & effective Hybrid Learning environment, Our Ed Tech consultants offer Free Consultation on the technologies that are to be used to ensure that there is less stress on the teachers to adapt to the technology and help teachers to enhance the learning outcomes at both ends (In-Person & Remote)

How to motivate learners to stay engaged in online classrooms

8 Steps to Create a Positive and Healthy Virtual Classroom

Setting up a virtual classroom is no easy task. We’ve seen over the last several months the educational world turn on a dime, transitioning from a brick and mortar experience to a virtual learning environment. Teachers have risen to the challenge and explored new ways to reach and teach students. We applaud your efforts going live for the first time and Zooming with 35 to 40 learners on your screen.  

Now that you’ve had a sizable experience of online classrooms,under your belt and seen your students in pajamas or perhaps a family pet walk across the screen, it’s time to recognize that while it’s likely becoming new normal, virtual learning is a huge adjustment for your students.

Getting comfortable with virtual learning may take a bit longer to master for the students you teach.

The following are a few steps to consider implementing in your virtual classroom:

1. Schedule One-on-One Chats

Setting aside time to talk with your students is the first step in creating a positive and healthy environment. Scheduling regular and dedicated time with each student will help replace the personal attention and accolades they used to get and crave.

Some simple questions to start with are:

  • How are they doing?
  • What does their learning environment look like now?
  • What can they do to make learning easier at home rather than making it hard?
  • Are they setting a regular routine for school activities?

By creating chat times with students, you will have the opportunity to listen to them in order to design instruction around their current abilities.

2. Create a Sense of Belonging

Your students are used to seeing each other every day, spending time on the playground or at lunch. Social connections are essential to child development. The sudden shift to school at home could be shocking and can lead to feelings of isolation. Even during online check-ins or virtual class time, they can feel as though they don’t belong to their natural peer group.

Create a sense of belonging by inviting your students to share with each other during virtual class time. Create online virtual study groups and continue group projects of course, with some minor adjustments. Encourage your students to stay connected outside of class through FaceTime or Skype.

3. Discuss Rules and Standards of Engagement

Similar to the first few days of school, establish rules for your virtual classroom. The difference in this new normal is that students have more distractions and perhaps less guidance to redirect their attention. Create a set schedule for your virtual classroom, so expectations are upfront and known. You will also want to set standards for engagement—everyone needs to participate somehow.

Seek input from your students via verbal responses, thumbs-up or for older students, polling, using the chat box, or control of the virtual whiteboard available in some video conferencing platforms.

4. Routine, Routine, Routine.

During your one-on-one discussions, you will be able to discern whether a regular wake up and bed-time routines are being practiced. Encourage your students that it’s time to get back into the swing of things.

All-day pajamas time or sleeping the morning away isn’t the best way to end the year strong. Suggest they get up and get dressed just like when school is in session.

5. Creating a Study Space

Not every child will have the perfect study space at home. But there are a few things you can suggest helping them find a study space that works for them and serve as their own study space:

  • Ask them to find a corner in a room where they can set up a small card table and chair. Close enough to be around a family member for assistance if needed. Or find a private space in a bedroom, for students who need more private space to focus. 
  • Make the space their own. Encourage them to decorate their space with artwork or pictures. 
  • Distractions. Just like at school, all other devices need to be turned off and put away. That includes video games and TVs in the background.

6. Break Time

Most kids are not used to being indoors all day long. Consider incorporating a few online exercises during your virtual class time. Incorporate intermittently breaking away from online devices by sending the students on a seek and find activity in the house that corresponds with your lesson.  

The idea is to keep moving around throughout the day to keep minds active and refreshed. It’s not healthy to stay stuck in front of a computer all day.

Register for one of our At-home Webinars:

7. Virtual Office Hours or Check-in Time

Staying connected with students and families is more crucial right now than ever.  Setting aside time for virtual drop-in hours or check-in times is helpful for both your students and families.  Consider creating a Twitter account, YouTube channel for instructional videos, or even a blog to post daily information and materials.

No matter what you set up now can still be used after the school doors open again.

8. Empower Change and Flexibility

You are both adjusting to change. While you are gathering feedback from the students and families, make it known to your students that you are open and flexible to their ideas. Perhaps creating an online suggestion box.

Or incorporate a question of the week,

  1. “What are you enjoying about virtual learning?” or
  2. “What do you find difficult in our new virtual classroom?”

Inviting students to participate is a good way to empower students to contribute to how they are learning. 

This process is and has not been perfect. We are learning as we go. But what we can do now is offer grace, compassion, and the means to create a positive learning environment for students.

For more ideas on best practices on Distance Teaching, Connect with our Education Consultants by clicking here I would like to speak with your Consultant

Better learning outcomes using Interactive Flat Panel Display

Better Learning outcomes from Front-of-Class Technology

Since lockdown, there can be no going back on technology: not only is it here to stay, but schools must be equipped to educate a generation of neomillennial learners who are ‘Digital Natives’.

In some schools, interactive whiteboards are the height of advancement. They are now being replaced by Interactive front-of-class technology like Interactive Flat Panel Display. Recent advances in the technology mean the traditional front-of-class screen is now more than simply a passive display. This type of technology can provide a full tablet-like experience that offers real productivity gains and acts as a central hub for all education technology.

During school closures, students have missed out on key social and soft skills. It has shown that being present in the classroom and working together is fundamental to learning. Student and parent engagement with learning fell dramatically during lockdown. We’ve realised that learning in the classroom is absolutely key to pupil development: by using collaborative, interactive tools like an Interactive Flat Panel Display, pupils can be engaged in learning all over again

Your teachers can use an Interactive Flat Panel Display to: 

  • Deliver interactive lessons with dynamic information flow between teacher and student devices (e.g. tablets, notebooks, laptops, Chromebooks.) 
  • Share digital content such as videos and images, quickly and easily. 
  • Customise content, tasks and lessons with free, accompanying software — myviewboard and Google Classroom. 
  • Create interactive lessons, polls, quizzes and team-based activities directly on the panel.
  • Share learning in real-time with the whole class, increasing discussion and participation. 
  • Allow pupils to learn the way they do at home, extending learning beyond the classroom and instilling independent problem-solving skills.  

“Technology alone is not enough: it works best with a teacher present, to answer the needs of a well-crafted digital learning strategy. In other words, it’s not having technology that matters – it’s how you use it.”

Connecting the class

Now schools are returning, it’s clear that classrooms are the nucleus of learning. Front-of class technology, like Viewsonic Interactive Flat Panel Display, is the ultimate tool to put the educator back at the heart of learning, while facilitating creative, interactive learning experiences. It connects to student devices and provides an interactive environment for advanced learning. This type of edtech allows for customised activities to cater for individual learning styles, and can be used for informal, formative assessment that gives your school more insight predicting pupils’ summative results.

It should go without saying that simply adding ICT doesn’t necessarily add value, so explore new pedagogies for how to use it to best advantage. For example, consider re-imagining your space; explore the ‘modern classroom’; maximise collaborative working among pupils; try ‘flipping your classroom’; implement strategies for pupil engagement and empowerment.

Training your Teachers

Studies reveal that 6 out of 10 teachers had never had any training on how to use ICT in the classroom.Your teachers must be not only willing but keen to share the lesson content, presentation and assessment of content with their pupils. This requires a shift from seeing themselves as teachers to seeing themselves as facilitators of learning. At C3 iT Xperts, we have been training teachers since 2007 on how to effectively use technology in classrooms for better learning outcomes.

Commitment from the Management

Above all else, the effective use of ICT needs strong leadership. Technology is powerful, and can certainly help to deliver better educational outcomes for students and a competitive advantage for the school – but it needs careful management, and commitment right across the school 

Attempting to add a new approach to technology to a classroom without taking into consideration core pedagogies will result in an ineffective wasteful and backward-looking compromise. 

At C3 iT Xperts, we’re focused on providing inspiring and engaging digital tools that redefine the modern classroom. We design interactive, award winning education technology, including the revolutionary front of class display Interactive Flat Panel Display that allows educators to enhance their teaching methods and improve attainment across their schools.

Tips for Online Teaching

Practically Tested 10 Tips on Online Teaching

No matter how long you’ve been standing in front of a classroom, teaching online can be a daunting task.Online classes can feel quite different from in-person classes, and you may not be able to do all the same things online that you did face-to-face. But that’s not to say you can’t create the same type of inclusive, quality learning environment for your students.With the right tools, some creativity and a healthy dose of patience, you can master the move online. To help you make the transition as seamless as possible, we asked current online instructors for their best advice. So, here are ten practical tips to get you started:

1) Be Specific – Very Specific

When communicating online you can never be too clear. If you want to save yourself a lot of time and headache, make sure you clearly define all class expectations up front. That means more than simply posting a syllabus or grading rubric. Instead try sharing real life examples of what to do and what not to do whenever possible.

2) Clarify Tone and Communication Styles

This may seem like a no-brainer but because you’re not face-to-face it’s worth repeating. Students tend to be more informal when communicating online—thanks to online messaging and social media—so it’s never a bad idea to set some classroom communication guidelines from the start.

3) Continuously Encourage Engagement

Keeping your students actively engaged in an online setting is a constant challenge. Hiding behind screens it’s easy for students to check out or do the bare minimum, so you’ll have to work at keeping the conversation going. Try requiring minimum response lengths for assignments and posing open-ended questions.

4) More Is Not Always Better

When creating online courses, we tend to get into the mindset of more is better. More links, more buttons, more apps. But too many additional resources and tools can be distracting and overwhelming for your students. So, don’t feel the need to try and overcompensate for the lack of in-person instruction with bells and whistles; instead, stick with a few trusted resources.

5) Be Responsive—but Set Limits

It’s important to keep in mind that students are accustomed to instant feedback. But you’re not face-to-face and an email is not a text message. Just because you’re online, it doesn’t mean that you’re accessible 24/7. Communicate with your students when you are and when you are not available, as well as when they can expect a reply, so everyone is on the same page.

6) Establish a Routine

Teaching online comes with a level of uncertainty and stress. To help save your inbox from a flood of weekly questions, it’s best to create a basic class structure from week to week for consistency. When students know they can expect and plan for certain types of activities or assignments, they’ll feel more at ease.

7) Create a Separate Space for Your Students

Online classes mean your students are missing out on social interactions with their peers. The conversations and discussions they would normally have before and after class are still important so try creating a separate online forum just for them to make introductions, socialize and bounce ideas around.

8) Don’t Forget the Value of Group Assignments

Just because it’s online doesn’t mean you have to ditch the group work. Not only are group assignments a good excuse for some additional peer interaction and engagement but they allow your students to showcase their different strengths and interests. To keep online group work manageable, try breaking projects up into multiple steps with smaller assignments.

9) Add a Personal Touch

When you’re staring at a screen and uploading assignments, it’s easy to feel like you’re being taught by a computer rather than a person – and that impersonal feeling is not very conducive for learning. You can help your students feel more connected by injecting some personal touches. Post a picture of yourself or a fun introductory video, anything to remind them that you are indeed a human.

10) Practice Empathy and Compassion

With online teaching there are things that will inevitably go wrong. There will be technical issues, miscommunications and activities that don’t go as planned. Try and assume the best of intentions and remember that we’re all dealing with this new normal together.