Back to School: 8 Tech Issues Educators Face as a New Year Begins and How VARs Can Help

The beginning of a new school year is filled with mixed emotions and challenges for students, parents, teachers, and administrators. Students either dread the end of another summer of freedom or look forward to reuniting with friends and continuing their education. Parents may be ready to get the kids out of the house but know the calendar is about to fill up with school events. 

Network overloads

Of course, those who work in education have the most to do as hot summer days slowly fade into fall. Despite months of preparation and years of experience, new challenges arise as doors reopen and classrooms fill up. Technology has enabled new methods for teaching, communicating, and delivering educational content, but like any industry, there are challenges. For educators, those challenges may be compounded by limited resources, understaffing, inexperience, and a budgeting process that may address needs very slowly.

That process is familiar to VARs who work with education partners. Once a new year is underway, it may be tempting to only look ahead to the next budget cycle, but there are many opportunities to address immediate school issues.

Do you believe that the opportunity to sell school technology solutions into K-12 and higher ed has closed once school is in session?

larry goldsticker"Absolutely not. Not only do schools have ongoing technology needs that extend beyond the start of the school year, but there are also unforeseen events such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, all school budgets are not tied to the academic year."
-- Larry Goldsticker, Director of Sales at Wasp Barcode Technologies

1. Network Overloads

With a sudden influx of students accessing the school's network or new technology like smartboards that may be in place, there's a risk of overloading the system. This can lead to slow or dropped connections, making it difficult for students and faculty to access online resources. Bandwidth can also be an issue as many people access cloud resources, stream video, or submit assignments. Your networking expertise can anticipate problems before they happen and solve those that do quickly.

86.5% of K-12 teachers use educational websites in the classroom
- Gitnux Technology in Education Statistics: 2023 Trends

2. Cybersecurity

Schools are prone to network vulnerabilities, hacking, and ransomware like any enterprise. These vulnerabilities can come from routine devices at the school, and those students bring in (BYOD) to do work. Most VARs keep security in mind when offering and implementing solutions or accessible experts that can assist with a critical event or check for potential points of entry that malicious actors could exploit.

Classroom mobile device usage increased by 33% between 2015-19
- Gitnux

3. Account Access

Imagine several hundred new employees starting at your company in one day, needing new or updated access to systems, websites, laptops, cafeteria accounts, etc. That's what's happening in the first days/weeks of school. The school's IT would typically help with this, but they'll be busy with many other issues, so you could offer to assist with some overflow, especially for any systems or software you helped implement.


4. Onboarding New Tech

If you were able to secure a new opportunity with a school for classroom tech, software, inventory management, signage, etc., there might be a learning curve for educators, admins, and students to use it. You'll need to be readily available to troubleshoot or offer training services.

5. Device Inventory & Management

Ensuring that there are enough devices for all students and that they are correctly inventoried, tracked, and managed can be challenging, especially at the start of a new academic year. Offering solutions like RFID, barcode labeling, and accompanying software can help schools manage their budgets and free up funding for future endeavors.

"Since COVID, school districts are not only buying more and more Chromebooks, tablets, and hot spots, but they’re also losing them.  In 2021, Houston-area school districts lost over 27,000 devices valued at over $18 million.  As a result, asset tracking solutions have become commonplace in K-12 as well as higher ed.

If VARs are looking for a great solution to offer, AssetCloud by Wasp would be a great place to start (wink wink)."  -- Larry Goldsticker

6. Media & Supplies

Speaking of labeling, if any kind of asset/inventory tracking is going on, some label printing is probably involved. There may be receipt printing needs in the office or cafeteria and temporary badges for guests and parents. That's a recurring revenue opportunity to help schools manage their print supplies and media.

7. Physical Security

Keeping our children safe is a top priority at every school and can be aided by technology. I reached out to Kokomo24/7®, specialists in health and safety management software, for some specific use cases.

  • Visitor Management - Digitalizing the visitor process to record check-in/out, print name tags, and offer optional RFID cards for complete access management.
  • Event Management - Simplifying the ticketing process and security screenings for large events with hardware integrations like RFID, barcode scanners, digital signage, and more.
  • Patrol Management - Integrate with hardware used by field service staff to monitor work orders, confirm shift changes, and communicate.

Nick Welch-1"[W]e think every day about school safety and how software (and hardware) can be designed to help districts ensure the health and safety of their community. We're aware of the trauma and pain that school violence leaves behind."
        - Nick Welch, Kokomo24/7® Marketing Lead

8. Package Tracking


Larry Goldsticker at Wasp shared this additional opportunity with us.

"Colleges and universities receive large quantities of packages for students and staff in a variety of locations as dorms and other campus buildings typically have their own mail room. [Tracking software allows staff to follow] packages from the time they arrive until [they're] delivered and signed for by the intended recipient, eliminating lost packages and wasted time searching."

Now is the perfect time for you to check in with your education accounts, offering to help troubleshoot new issues or address lingering ones. If buying into complete new solutions is outside their current budget, offering software trials or temporary help can make a big difference at the start of the new academic year. It might set you up for future opportunities, too.

John Martin
John Martin is BlueStar's Sr. Content Marketing Manager and host of The TEConnect Podcast. His career path includes stints in retail, textbook publishing, and food service equipment, but his true passion has always been writing. In his spare time, John is an avid consumer of podcasts, watches way too much TV, reads science fiction and comic books, and is consistently heartbroken by the Cincinnati Reds.

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