Building a tech'stack'for teachers to thrive

Simon Wilson, Aruba CTO, UKI
28 May 2021
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Building a tech'stack'for teachers to thrive




Teachers have emerged as heroes of the lockdown, with many embracing completely new technologies and ways of doing things to pivot from the classroom to the computer screen. For already tech savvy children with access to the right tools, the shift to digital learning was an adjustment but not a giant leap. However, the transition may have been more difficult for some teachers who had to learn a whole new set of skills, not least of all how to keep children’s attention when you’re not actually in the same room as them.  

Once the initial obstacles had been overcome, however, a whole new world of innovative and collaborative teaching emerged. To build on this momentum and to fully unleash the full capabilities of where digital learning can take us, there are fundamental steps that learning institutions must take to ensure they have the right building blocks in place, starting with a robust network that not only makes teachers’ lives easier, but also one that keeps everyone safe.

Seamless connectivity across the school

First things first, organisations must have solutions in place that no longer simply connect classrooms, but that provide seamless connectivity everywhere that can be accessed around the clock. Aside from ensuring that teachers have all the tools to deliver a great lesson online, as digital learning tools and EdTech solutions become more sophisticated the need for faster and more reliable connectivity will be a continued focus.  

As more education apps and network management tools move to the cloud, enhancement at the Edge seems a logical next step to support new digital tools such as Virtual and Augmented Reality in the classroom. A VR class trip to space, ancient Egypt or the Amazon rainforest, for instance, will require a fast and stable connection to ensure the user experience for teachers and students is equally enjoyable and impactful.  

Providing a strong base for innovative learning

Before the pandemic, educators were looking into how to harness big data, AI and IoT to provide better learning experiences but as with many things, the pandemic and the consequent shift to digital learning has accelerated the need for tools that not only provide an enriched learning experience but also assist in the running of the school and achieving sustainability goals. Simply put, the educational experience will not only be enhanced but more efficient and greener as well. 

It should be a given that your network not only optimises user experience, but also maximises up-time and reduces the time taken to troubleshoot issues. AIOps insights, when used effectively, plays a critical role in pinpointing critical application and network issues so they are resolved before they have an impact on learning.  

This means not only is your network capable of making intelligent decisions to protect and perform, but also that IT staff have more time to apply their minds to ensuring new, innovative solutions can run effectively.

Keeping our teachers safe

The shift to digital has brought along with it a rise in cyber-attacks, with education institutions often being considered easy targets for cyber criminals to harvest data or hold sensitive information ransom. 

Higher education is also a popular target for phishing scams. Cyberattacks on these institutions have resulted in the exposure of over 1.3 million identities. Over the last year, nearly 56% of colleges and universities have seen an increase in phishing attacks. This is a particular concern as the less tech savvy are more vulnerable to clicking on unsafe links which could potentially lead to unsavoury parties accessing confidential student records.  

Traditional security solutions that create a secure perimeter and detect attacks and malware based on patterns or signatures only go so far. The nature of a school running online classes, or a large University campus means they have no clear perimeter. Teachers and students need network access from anywhere and as such, perimeter security needs to be augmented with security frameworks that can dynamically segment network traffic to reduce the risk of security breaches. Aruba’s Zero Trust framework lays out policy management and used analytics and automation to minimize these risks and provide quicker response times when there is a threat.

The future of learning

As with any growth or advancement in the way we do things, a collaborative and innovative future learning environment can only be created with the right support in place. Teachers are among our greatest assets in preparing future generations for what lies ahead, and by putting in place the right partnerships to create an ecosystem that adequately supports their success, the way we teach and learn has exciting possibilities in store.  

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