What situations are you foreseeing, what sort of numbers and technology demands?
Both Federal and State governments have recommended that parents keep their children home from school for justifiable reasons. State Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, reported that school attendance had dropped by an average of 30%.
This is already putting a new demand on schools and families, to support online learning. For students at home, this means having the right office set up which often requires an investment in increased internet bandwidth, a new computer, monitor, desk or mouse.
There is also pressure on IT teams at schools to prepare for at home learning and keep datacenters running. With all schools working from home, there is also an increased risk with protecting and securing student data from remote locations.
Where are schools presently and what will they need to do?
In Australia we’re quite lucky as schools are well positioned and have been delivering edge use cases of distance, digital and remote schooling requirements for some years now.
From personal experience having three boys in high school, who are accessing school via their collaboration and education toolsets that include Google Classroom, moodle and Teams, the rapid adjustment has been very smooth and the experience normalised.
Don’t forget that students are digital natives and have a high degree of digital dexterity.
Will existing infrastructure be sufficient? I’m thinking Mygov meltdown.
Every aspect of our services, schools and supply chains are being exhausted across every sector of our local, national and global economies.
Not all tech is going to work seamlessly on the first day of learning from home and there will be a few speedbumps. However, if you consider the main priorities and then the ability to execute, scale and meet them, schools are doing an incredible job.
What kinds of solutions are you suggesting and able to offer?
As schools scale to meet the unprecedented demands that COVID-19 is driving them towards, they need to ensure that they have the right systems and processes in place to do so.
Critical student data is now sitting in collaboration suites such as Office365, Teams and some on the edge in remote and distributed locations.
It is critical that schools now expand their data management and protection capabilities to these platforms.
What kind of timeframes and demands will they require to implement?
We are already seeing significant demands being placed on the end to end ICT supply chain required to scale and meet the demands on this pandemic.
Simplicity in software access and deployment is seeing schools being able to deliver the required availability, protection and continuity services at scale in a matter of hours.
With the added complexity of social distancing, confinement and isolation, the ability to deploy remotely the required services is also a fabulous testament to the digital readiness of our economy and key education services as a whole.
Will there be a large additional investment?
I don’t believe large, but I do believe continued. The foundations of distance learning, home schooling and remote learning have already been laid and invested in. Our current situation is to ensure that continued investment is maintained in alignment with the demand requirements.
What we are witnessing now is a ramping up and expansion of capacity and demand in the foundations.
What is key and critical in terms of investment is making sure that as part of the rapid scaling to meet demand; the foundational principles of data management, services continuity, protection and availability continue to be considered so that the key outcome of a quality distance learning experience can be delivered.
We are all in this together!