How Microsoft Teams Can Help Schools Across the Bay Area
Schools across the Bay Area are adjusting to the public health pandemic with remote learning. Schools are working with parents and staff to maintain access to education. It is hard to imagine how educators are handling curriculum, attendance, as well as IT issues. As of October 2020, remote learning in the Bay Area will be 100% until January. The San Francisco Unified School District did not apply for in-person learning this fall. San Francisco has 45 community learning hubs to help families navigate remote learning to assist elementary school families.
Obstacles in Students Getting Access to Remote Learning
Technological issues like the internet, breakout rooms, and scheduling of classes and meetings are causing an increase in anxiety for school administration and staff. Teachers in the Bay Area also worry about children not having access to the internet, so that the school system will be handing out Chromebooks to all families in need. The Oakland Public School District has the hard task of handing out 4 million meals to needy families, which has become a priority higher than handing out laptops. Schools are also facing lower attendance rates with remote learning, and in Oakland, the absentee rate is 7%. However, foster care youth absentee rates increased from 10% to 15%, and homeless students increased from 12% to 21%. Oakland is also concerned with increased absenteeism in Black students and English Learner students as well. The state is now requiring the schools to take daily attendance to keep track of students. With school districts prioritizing attendance and meal distribution as daily tasks, it is no wonder that they need help in managing the IT aspect of remote learning.
How User Friendly Is Microsoft Teams?
Remote learning programs like Microsoft Teams can help school administrations who are juggling feeding students and taking attendance. Microsoft Teams promotes their collaborative class spaces, facilitate feedback on assignments, and live calls with students. Staff and students can download Teams on their desktop or laptop or via an app on mobile phones. Microsoft Teams has user-friendly information to help school administration and staff get started immediately with remote learning.
How IT Companies Can Help Schools Deliver Support Services
Microsoft Teams mainly addresses the academic needs of the students and staff. However, schools could use more IT solutions that can also support the school system’s other educational, social, and personal needs. Here are some other solutions that IT companies could offer school systems:
- One solution is creating online games for academic subjects like math and reading, tracking the student’s progress. A portal can be added for parents to track their child’s progress.
- IT consultant firms can also provide access to Wi-Fi. Some tech companies utilize school buses as mobile hotspots by converting their surveillance and navigation software into portable hotspots. This can help meet the needs of the 21 to 42 million people across the country without access to the internet.
- Some companies created technology using the school bus routes to track which children qualify for free or reduced costs lunches. They will also use the bus route to deliver the meals as well.
- Another technical solution is to provide videoconferencing for special education services and other mental health services for students. This enables children with special needs to continue to get services, despite not having in-person services.
IT companies need to offer solutions to meet the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic for the Bay Area and the entire country. IT professionals can create innovative and tailor-made technological solutions for schools that are burdened with the academic and social-emotional needs of the children and families they serve. With Wi-Fi and internet serving as the main thoroughfare for our lives, IT consultants fill voids that the schools need help with.