Episode 8: How IT Teams Help Manage Classrooms During Remote Learning
District IT admins have become more involved in supporting teachers when it comes to managing classrooms in remote learning environments. As districts increase their use of Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 cloud applications, so has the use of Google Classroom and other cloud-based learning management systems (LMS).
It has become more important now for IT admins to not only be monitoring what is happening in the traditional Google and Microsoft apps used in schools, but also the newly adopted ones used to support classrooms in a blended environment. Classrooms have now extended into the homes of students and teachers, with the support of Google Classroom to keep everyone connected. These recently added apps to the K-12 environment further open districts to cybersecurity, student safety, and compliance risks.
Cody Walker, Technology Director at West Rusk CCISD in Texas, joins us for this next episode of The K-12 Tech Experience podcast. We discuss how IT teams have helped teachers manage classrooms remotely since the start of the pandemic, and how to better monitor cybersecurity and student safety risks in a blended classroom.
Keep reading to learn more about Cody and West Rusk CCISD. Listen to the rest of the conversation by subscribing to The K-12 Tech Experience podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or your favorite listening platform.
JK: Let’s start by having you share more about yourself and your career so far, and about West Rusk for our listeners.
CW: I came to West Rusk a little over 10 years ago and I came from the private industry. Making that transition, I wasn’t quite prepared for the amount of support teachers needed in a public education sector—especially here at West Rusk.
We’re pretty rural, the district resides in New London, Texas. New London has a population of 1,200 people, but the district of West Rusk serves all of West Rusk County, which brings our school to 1,300. For students, West Rusk is one of the only places they can come to that has hi-speed internet.
JK: Since the start of the 2020 school year, how has the transition been to remote learning been for West Rusk and what has changed in your department?
CW: Great question. Our remote learners struggled due to lack of good internet at their homes. When we looked into it further, that’s when we came to our first challenge in remote learning. When we got the hotspots, we weren’t sure we could actually make these hotspots reliable at home for audio and video.
From there, then it came to the support of technology and those services beyond the classroom. We were so used to being able to walk to the classroom, talk on the phone, or remote-in. Trying to overcome these hurdles, we’ve been really good at support via email. It also showed us we didn’t have much insight into what our students were doing at home in regards to their student accounts.
We realized there was a huge security gap that needed to be fixed.
Listen to the rest of our conversation with Cody below and check out previous episodes on the ManagedMethods podcast page. Make sure to subscribe to The K-12 Tech Experience wherever you listen to your podcasts, so you never miss an episode!