Best Practices in School Readiness & Continuity Planning for Short and Long Term Closures
Discover the best practices to ensure continuity of education implemented by St. Michael’s College School that kept learning on-track and ensured student success
While it is difficult to predict when or if a need will arise for schools to respond to an emergency or disease outbreak, having a plan for continuity of learning is a critical component of school emergency response planning. To be ready for these events, schools can implement various distance learning methods to keep students from falling behind. The IT manager at St. Michael’s College School understands the importance of continuity of learning. When a global pandemic threatened to close the school (again), he went the extra mile to ensure teachers could continue to teach comfortably and effectively from home.
Adapting to Hybrid Classrooms and Remote Teaching Needs
Daniel Vasile, IT manager at St. Michael’s College School in Toronto, Ontario, believes that technology should make teachers’ jobs easier, not harder. When the school closed in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, St. Michael’s was forced to transition all its classes to online learning. In September, the school implemented a hybrid learning model whereby half of the students used Zoom to video conference into class while the other half attended in person. Vasile successfully led the effort to install the Logitech Rally Plus solution in 48 classrooms to enable a seamless hybrid learning model for teachers and students alike.
When schools closed again at the end of December, Vasile went into action. He knew that continuity of learning was important, but certain factors needed to be considered to ensure teachers could be effective in remote environments.
The personal connection between teachers and students was Vasile’s primary focus. To ensure that teachers could make eye contact with students, he equipped teachers with an external webcam and a 24” monitor. The webcam sits on top of a monitor with an adjustable height base, so teachers can position it so that they are naturally making eye contact with students. The extra monitor also enables educators to share content on one screen and see the students on another to gauge the students’ reactions during a lesson.
Ensuring a Safe and Healthy Working Environment
Vasile also took into account the teachers’ physical comfort and safety. He knew that teachers couldn’t be hunched over a small keyboard on their tablets for an extended length of time, so he equipped them with a wireless solar-powered keyboard and wireless mouse. The solar keyboard can charge from the light in a room, eliminating the hassle of replacing batteries. Because the monitor is adjustable in height, educators can move it up and down if they decide to teach standing up, for example.
“We created these kits to ensure the health and safety of teachers
while working from home for long periods of time.”
--Daniel Vasile, IT Manager
Identifying the right technology was just one piece of Vasile’s effort to equip educators at St. Michael’s to comfortably and effectively teach from home. Knowing that teachers were already experiencing the stress of another change to their routine, Vasile, with the help of his colleagues, unboxed and prepped all the equipment in a teach-from-home kit, to create a truly plug-and-play experience. The team of volunteers unboxed each monitor, assembled, and then wrapped the components in bubble wrap. The keyboards were also unboxed, and the battery tab removed. The USB receiver from the keyboard kit was plugged into a dock. Vasile even connected the various cables and color-coded them, so the teachers knew exactly which port to connect each cable. Teachers simply had to plug in the equipment at home and power it on.
At the end of the week, the gym was lined with 70 boxes, each containing a Samsung F24T400FHN monitor, a Logitech C930e webcam, Logitech Wireless Solar Combo MK750 (keyboard and mouse set), and a Microsoft Surface Dock 1. Where use cases dictated higher quality video, such as the art class, educators were given a Logitech BRIO camera instead of the C930e. Vasile even included an extra extension cord to ensure teachers had enough power outlets.
Empowering Educators to Drive Student Success
Vasile’s prep work easily saved the school hundreds of educator hours by making it easy for educators to get their home “classroom” set up. Instead of unboxing and putting together technical equipment, educators were able to focus on other aspects of teaching from home, like adjusting the curriculum and ensuring that their personal environment was in order.
As a testament to the effectiveness of Vasile’s efforts to ensure continuity of learning, the students at St. Michael’s are on track to finish the 2020-2021 school year exactly where they would without a pandemic.
To learn more about how St. Michael’s College School implemented hybrid classrooms to ensure student success, read their case study here.
Funding High-Priority Technology Needs in Public Sector
The global pandemic has accelerated the need for educational institutions, healthcare organizations, state and local governments, and nonprofits to turn to technology to support continuity, drive stabilization, and ensure services are accessible to all.
To aid US-based organizations, the Logitech Grants Services Program (GSP) provides complimentary consulting, customized funder research, and grant assistance to customers seeking to solve complex problems with the help of voice and video communication, productivity, and mobility solutions.
Contact our team of education and grant experts today at www.logitech.com/vcsales for help on connecting the dots between your program goals and the technology needed to support those goals. From helping develop project ideas to getting your project funded or expanding existing IT projects–together, we can create a lasting impact.