When implementing a digital initiative, there are some points learned along the way that are well worth considering.
Bandwidth and saturation
Nothing will doom an implementation faster than an unreliable network. It is crucial to not only ensure enough bandwidth for devices coming online, but also to ensure reliable and consistent access to the network. It is safe to assume each body in a room will need three connections to the access point with a phone, a laptop, and perhaps a tablet. Also keep in mind, once adoption and access become ubiquitous, the demand for increased bandwidth will increase. A rough estimate is that demand will double every two years.
Are end-users prepared to change their practice? Classroom management looks different when students have devices in front of them and assignments and assessments change with access to technology. Parents and community also need to be made aware of these shifts and that the “classroom” will look different as well. Staff will approach their work differently, as well. What levels of support have been offered to train users? Is there in-person support or on-demand online resources? Is your Help Desk support team aware of the changes? Are they armed with answers to provide callers and ticket submitters?
Will your implementation be device or platform specific? What level of support can be expected for end-users? Perhaps your implementation will involve multiple devices or a BYOD model. What level of support can be expected for troubleshooting or repair? If your school is going BYOD, how will you set up your network for these devices to connect?
There must be a clear implementation (change-management) plan in place and communicated as far in advance to as many stakeholders so everyone knows what to expect and when changes will happen. While it is rare that everything goes according to plan, front-loaded communication and continuous updates go a long way toward buy in and support even when things are delayed.
Learn more about Kristina at https://about.me/kristinamattis or connect with her on Twitter at @kristinamattis.
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