ClassTag Connect / Mar 19, 2021

How To Build The Best School Technology Toolkit For Superintendents

School Technology Toolkit For Superintendents Image Blog

School technology is a key ingredient that every superintendent should integrate into a working toolkit. During 2020, we learned how hard it is to preserve productivity in chaotic times. We also learned that thoughtful planning is the key to sustain operations. If you take time to build a simple, affordable, portable toolkit, you’ll have the technology to lead in every place at any pace.

School Technology For Productivity

Primary Production

The first piece of technology in your superintendent’s toolkit should be your main production system. So, if you prefer a traditional mobile computer, make sure it’s current enough to support mission-critical functions. If you need longer battery life or extra portability, then think about a robust tablet with a physical keyboard case. Whatever device you choose for mobile work, back it up with a large monitor and high-capacity storage at your main office.

Input & Output Technology

Portable devices feature lightweight input systems like compact keyboards, small touchpads and missing ten-key input. That means, if you spend time creating content, make sure you have full-scale input peripherals on hand. Wireless options are portable and easy to customize your setup, but make sure you have a plan to keep them charged.

Presentation Toolkit

Sometimes your role is to train or present. In those settings, having your own projector or casting device will make your presentation shine. If you normally use a mic, consider a wearable device than can transmit through the presentation system. Some presentations use rich audio, so consider a compact speaker that can provide clear sound. If you need to highlight elements or move around the room, a combination pointer/clicker will do the trick.

School Technology for Connectivity

Device Connectivity

We use them so often, it’s easy to forget, but mobile phones are a lifeline. Use your primary phone as usual, but look into a second, lightweight phone as a reserve device. That way you’re set in case your main unit is somehow damaged or unavailable.

Also, whether you are mobile or in your office, internet services are bound to go down. If you find yourself digitally stranded, you need a backup option to reconnect and keep working. Every superintendent should be sure to add a mobile hotspot to your toolkit. Even if your phone has hotspot functionality, a true hotspot lets you set and share connectivity.

System Connectivity

Even when our devices are working, we may be locked out of key functions or resources if we use them from behind a firewall or on a public network. Plan to solve that problem with software to create a virtual private network (VPN) before you go mobile. A VPN will secure your data in transit, and may give you access to internal resources. Some VPN allow you to print, view cameras, or open internal servers while located outside the district.

Permissions Connectivity

With more systems and services using multi-factor login, it is imperative that you have a strategy to manage passwords and credentials. Memory and post-it notes may be good, but they’re not good enough. Several cloud-based services can generated, store, secure, and serve up passwords with a single master key or physical token. Having a password plan will keep you connected even when you are displaced.

School Technology For Power

Show me a superintendent with a low battery, and I’ll show you a distracted leader. Losing power is a recipe for frustration and disruption. Instead of staying in your leadership groove, you’ll have to divert to find a place and system to power back up.

Wired Power

Sometimes you may have the option to plug in and power ahead. If you present at schools or other professional settings there will likely be an outlet or extension cord available. However, don’t count on dedicated cables or adapters. Make sure you bring the right group of adapters. Better yet—bring a power block with multiple ports and options to support all your devices. Don’t forget your cables, and consider a backup power cable for your most critical devices.

Wireless Power

If you have to travel away from the district, you may find yourself trapped in a power desert. You could be at a table far from a wall outlet, or arrive at an airport gate after all the outlets are taken over. As a prepared leader, don’t be fazed; just pull out a backup battery with enough juice to keep you going until you wire back in. Many modern power banks have multiple ports and options to power even full laptops for hours on end. You may only need it a few times a year, but when you really need it, you’ll be glad to have it.

School Technology For Reliability

The final system in your toolkit should be a little less abstract and a lot more practical. Bring along a simple set of lightweight tools for likely repairs and technology tune-ups. An essential multitool might be just what you need to carefully bend a damaged cable or tighten up a floppy hinge. Having some Velcro, tape, or rubber bands gives you the option to hold things together until you have time for a real repair.

No matter where you go and what you plan to do, bad luck and Murphy are waiting for you to arrive. Assembling your technology toolkit now, with the purpose of meeting all four purposes will keep you productive, connected, powerful and reliable.


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