Cloud Education

A private school IT guy offers up three lessons learned by using a cloud-based phone system.

GUEST COLUMN | by Rainier Apolonio

CREDIT RingCentralWhen Southlands Christian Schools was faced with the challenge of moving our pre-school through 8th grade programs to a new campus, our faculty and staff were up against lengthy phone system downtime and communication hurdles. We opted to take an alternative approach by turning to a cloud business communications platform to completely replace our on-premise legacy PBX system. And although the campus-wide technology modification occurred during critical work hours, our faculty staff continued working with no interruption.

As Gartner Research confirms, the cloud provides incredible value to education—and at our school we discovered the significant role cloud technology can play in enabling our teachers and staff members to do their jobs better. By testing the waters of the cloud in the K-8 setting, we witnessed the power of the cloud, and learned a few lessons along the way.

Let the Cloud do the Heavy Lifting. The cloud provides incredible value to education, whether you’re teaching in a kindergarten classroom, or the dean of an MBA program at Harvard. Initially, the biggest gripe I had with setting up another PBX on-premise system for our new campus was the infrastructure we’d have to lay down, and the complicated communication process we’d undergo to connect with the other systems across our three campuses. Cloud technology played a huge role in eliminating infrastructure challenges, and within a day our school staff of over 100 could reach each other with simple extensions.

Empower Teachers with Technology. We gave teachers and staff control of taking and returning phone calls on their mobile phones, with technology that keeps their personal numbers private. This small change empowered teachers to gain control of their classroom and better connect with the parents of students when needed. Empowering teachers gave our IT department added time to focus on other high priority technology initiatives.

Innovate Attentively. Businesses all around us are inventing and pioneering the very best technology. When working in the elementary school environment, it’s vital to innovate quickly, but still remain attentive to our school’s specific needs. Many factors, including student body size, location and test scores, determine the type of technological leaps we are prepared to take. New technology should be adopted vigilantly, and to meet your school’s individual needs.

Advancements in technology empower our faculty and staff to become better teachers, and I believe our institution benefits greatly from switching to a cloud-based phone system. As we evaluate other technological upgrades, we strive to make decisions that positively impact our teachers and student bodies across all three campuses. Technology has the potential to transform the way our teachers give information to parents and teachers—and switching to a cloud-based phone system has taken us a step in the right direction.

Rainier Apolonio is the IT Director at Southlands Christian Schools in California. Write to: info@southlandscs.com or visit: http://rainier.apolonio.me/

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