How ReadiTech stays involved with local schools
Education has undergone a dramatic transformation in recent years, and at the forefront of that transformation has been technology. Today’s classrooms don’t run on pencils and paper; they run on tablets and high-speed internet.
With more than four decades of experience working in education, most recently as Superintendent of Lisbon Public Schools and the Fort Ransom School District since 1993, Dr. Steven Johnson has witnessed first-hand the impact that technology has had on how teachers teach, and how students learn.
“I’m starting my 43rd year in education, and I’m seeing this really great, progressive movement in what we’re doing and how we’re doing it,” Dr. Johnson said.
For Lisbon Public Schools, the process of becoming a tech-friendly district began in 2012, when Dickey Rural Networks finished connecting every building to high-speed, fiber-based internet.
That internet access paved the way for a technology revolution in Lisbon Public Schools. All three school buildings now have tablets available to students; Smart Boards in every classroom are in the process of being replaced by touch-screen active panels; there are two computer labs in the middle school and three in the high school, as well as portable labs in the elementary school; and in 2017, Lisbon built a Smart Lab, where students practice problem solving skills, critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, and design through project-based STEM curriculum.
Tech tools like these allow students to be more engaged in their own education than ever before.
“No longer do we have the ‘stand up and lecture’ kind of teacher handing out a worksheet,” Dr. Johnson said. “Today, we have teachers and kids that are more actively involved in the actual learning process.”
While technology has created countless learning opportunities for today’s students, it has also created more work for teachers. Not only must they learn to use all of these new tools along with their students, they must also be prepared to change lesson plans on a moment’s notice if something goes wrong—all on top of their everyday teaching responsibilities.
“The way we teach is so reliant on technology these days,” Dr. Johnson said. “If our internet goes down for any length of time, schools have a hard time operating.”
ReadiTech works with local schools to prevent issues with their technology, and to fix them instantaneously if they arise. As an Information Services Supervisor at ReadiTech, Andy Meyer works with a team of network analysts to ensure that schools’ technology is running smoothly so that teachers can focus on what matters most: educating our communities’ youth.
“Teachers have so much on their plates already,” Andy said. “The least we can do is take care of the technology.”
In schools, ReadiTech provides server and computer monitoring, data backup, managed wireless networks, virus protection, and support for printers and phone systems. Anything that plugs into a wall, Andy says, ReadiTech can help with.
“We have a great relationship with the schools we serve. I meet with their staff and we make yearly plans for what we are going to do,” Andy said. “We work with them as if we were one of them.”
Having spent the early years of his career as a district technology administrator in Ellendale, Andy knows the important role that technology plays in education.
“If you have a kid, you want them to receive a quality education. And in this day in age, you need technology, and you need it to work,” Andy said. “Nobody wants to sit down in a computer lab where four of the machines don’t turn on. We make it easier for kids and their teachers to have a good experience at school.”
Andy also understands the challenges that technology can pose for schools, especially in small districts that do not have the budget to hire a full-time IT staff member. For these schools, contracting with a managed services company like ReadiTech can be a more affordable, and effective, option.
“Many schools in North Dakota are dealing with budget issues right now, so we can help them with cost effectiveness while still delivering a really good product,” Andy said. “It helps to have a full team of people that are trained in certain areas—servers, switching, cybersecurity—instead of one person who needs to know everything about everything.”
In some districts that do have an IT professional on-site, that individual is also responsible for teaching classes. In Lisbon, a business education teacher plays the role of IT director. ReadiTech is there to support those schools, too—allowing teachers to spend less time monitoring and maintaining the technology, and more time in the classroom.
“Some schools we do absolutely everything for, some of them have technology directors on site that we just help out,” Andy said. “We work with each individual school to determine the level of support they need. Whatever a school needs, we are here to help them.”
From keeping the internet up and running to performing computer maintenance, ReadiTech works with local schools to make sure that their technology is working for teachers, rather than against them. According to Dr. Johnson, the services that Lisbon Public Schools receives from ReadiTech saves teachers time and energy that they can instead devote to their students.
“With ReadiTech, we don’t have to worry about things going down,” Dr. Johnson said. “If we’re planning correctly and have the proper bandwidth to allow teachers to do the curriculum they want with their students, it’s seamless.”
For all of the hard work you put into educating our youth: we thank you, teachers! To learn how ReadiTech can support your school today, visit readitech.com/education.