INSIGHT

TIGHTENING SECURITY

It’s vital that any new technology you introduce into the education environment has stringent data security features to protect the privacy of your students and staff, and prevent cyber attacks that can disrupt teaching and learning.

The platforms developed by the DfE’s education technology partners, like Microsoft Teams, are secure by design, which is a key reason for their broad adoption by UK Government agencies and multi-national companies across the globe. A thorough education and training programme can allay any perceived security fears instilling confidence and improving adoption rates. However, digital technology will form the basis of future learning, so this is a good time to ensure that all your systems meet the required security standards. Softcat can carry out a thorough security audit, suggest any necessary improvements and recommend an ongoing strategy.

PROMOTE DIGITAL INCLUSION

The increasing use of digital technology in schools raised concerns before the pandemic over young people in many of the UK’s poorer families struggling to learn without adequate access to the internet and suitable devices. The critical importance of remote learning for children as a result of COVID-19, which has now been enshrined in legislation, further amplifies the problem of access to devices and connectivity which must be solved for the future success of the connected classroom. The UK Government has provided support for devices during the pandemic, but this is only a short-term fix. Long-term, educators, the UK Government and parents need to work together to come up with practical solutions to the problem, such as: Donating devices The pandemic saw individuals and organisations donate both devices and connectivity throughout lockdowns to support remote learning in deprived areas. To perpetuate and expand this activity, perhaps the UK Government could consider working with educators and those organisations running their own donation schemes to raise awareness of the issue and launch an ongoing campaign to promote and reward such behaviour by both companies and citizens. Changing mindsets There needs to be a shift away from thinking that students require the latest devices to access digital learning. In reality, all that’s needed is stable access to a modern browser. With the necessary level of connectivity, the most basic of devices can be used. This could be an old mobile phone or laptop that might normally be traded in or recycled. Also greater consideration should be given to low-cost solutions such as Raspberry Pi. Holding on to such devices could provide the learning access many students need. In certain circumstances a device is not even necessary to enable remote learning. For example, if children have access to a games console or connected smart TV that can link to a browser and support a mouse or keyboard, they will be able to enjoy all the remote learning functionality that Microsoft Teams offers.