Empowering educators, inspiring students

April 29, 2012

Schools and universities now have a remarkable opportunity to transform education for a new generation. Integrated digital learning resources and professional learning services make it easy to tailor curriculums and monitor progress to help students shine. Educational institutions are at an important juncture. The road ahead is one of information abundance—and transforming K–20 curriculums to embrace this new reality is necessary to prepare students for the information-driven economy of the future. By collaborating to define a vision for Next Generation Learning and delivering on that vision through a highly integrated digital learning platform, educators, administrators, and IT decision makers can accelerate the journey.

At the outset, educators are facing some complex questions. What is the best way to blend online and offline content and integrate formal and informal learning? How can schools support an anytime, anywhere learning experience? How can teachers and instructors incorporate and encourage social and collaborative experiences within the learning environment? And what can schools and universities do to harness the power of learning analytics and become more proficient at fostering successful student outcomes?

As educators begin exploring these issues, common goals paint the picture of a highly integrated educational landscape, rooted in a unified digital learning platform with an intuitive interface tailored specifically for educators, students, parents, and administrators. This industry leading Next Generation Learning platform, based on Intel® technology, helps schools and universities streamline access to core educational applications—both new and existing—as well as rich media resources, education and operational data, and curriculum management tools. Integrating student information and teaching and learning data with predictive analytics also enables educators to monitor progress and tailor course content to meet individual student needs.

Professional learning is a key enabler for Next Generation Learning initiatives, helping educators to transition effectively from print to digital learning environments and to personalize the educational experience for individual students. It can include targeted training to incorporate digital collaboration tools, student engagement techniques, and teaching and learning data into daily teaching practices.

An Efficient IT framework plays a pivotal role in helping educational institutions support these initiatives. After years of budget cuts, schools are operating at a “new normal” level of reduced funding. At the same time, however, Next Generation Learning environments heighten demands on network bandwidth, IT security, system availability, and storage. To meet these demands, schools and universities are exploring innovative ways to drive productivity and enhance accountability. They are finding that a focused vision for learning coupled with an Efficient IT strategy is fundamental to the undertaking.

Rather than attempting to solve complex problems with short-term, ad hoc fixes, schools and universities need to take a comprehensive approach. By leveraging their existing technology investments, institutions can map out a clear, customized path of transformation to achieve their educational goals. The Dell strategy empowers K–20 educators and administrators to address these challenges by encompassing three principal areas:

•  Embracing technology to inspire student success and academic excellence

•  Providing accurate, actionable education data to make proactive teaching and learning decisions

•  Building an Efficient IT infrastructure to support Next Generation Learning initiatives

Inspiring student success and academic excellence
Dell helps K–20 institutions drive student success by delivering Next Generation

Learning platforms, powered by Intel. Dell™ learning platforms empower educators to personalize the curriculum and enable blended learning environments that help students engage in the educational experience anywhere and anytime. By leveraging synchronous and asynchronous instruction and collaboration, blended learning environments offer an accepted, effective method for extending and enhancing instruction beyond the physical classroom. This approach helps schools at all levels respond to increasing capacity demands and reach more students than is possible with traditional classroom methods.

Dell Next Generation Learning platforms provide easy access to digital content—including video and audio materials, instructional games, digital assets, simulations, and collaborative and research tools—that enables students to work at their own pace and learn in ways that appeal to and motivate them. In addition, the Dell learning platforms give teachers and administrators efficient ways to gauge the success of the learning experience and proactively manage learning outcomes through education data management and effective analytics tracking.

These technologies both require and enable effective professional learning for teachers, administrators, and staff. Preparing K–20 students for career readiness in today’s world calls upon educators and administrators to effectively integrate technology into their daily teaching practices.

To help accelerate the transition to blended learning environments, educators can take advantage of professional learning designed to help them optimize the use of available technologies. The Dell Professional Learning Services team works with educational institutions to develop customized, outcome based learning programs that mix one-on-one instruction, coaching and modeling, and sharing sessions for teachers and faculty.

Providing accurate, actionable education data
Today, virtually every aspect of teaching, learning, and administering the educational system generates data. Using this information effectively empowers schools to personalize learning, enhance accountability and transparency, and inspire student success by pinpointing effective teaching strategies and interventions. In addition, access to accurate, actionable education data from a variety of sources helps educators better manage the learning environments and develop curriculums that help individual students overcome specific stumbling blocks to their learning process.

Comprehensive education data management also allows educators to deploy real-time learning analytics and predictive intelligence to help proactively address any challenges to student success and academic achievement. This information helps to increase operational efficiency and assist educators with quantitative input to better measure classroom and/or courseware success.

Dell helps align classroom and operational decisions with learning objectives by providing tools designed to help educators and administrators understand their environment and develop plans based on accurate information. Dell Education Data Management (EDM), powered by Intel technologies, offers an integrated information management system for educational institutions that is designed to transform high-quality data into actionable knowledge.  It helps improve educational outcomes and allows educators to follow student information over multiple years, across multiple schools, between organizations, and even into the workforce.

Building an Efficient IT infrastructure
An Efficient IT approach helps educational institutions optimize services for students, educators, and administrators by making accurate, comprehensive, and consistent information available across all district and campus systems. This approach also helps schools and universities scale effectively to meet growing demands despite limited resources and budgets.

By using analytics to enhance success in communications and interactions with stakeholders, higher education providers can improve response rates throughout the admissions and fund-raising processes. Streamlined data handling helps eliminate manual processing of duplicate or overlapping records and supports security and regulatory compliance by feeding clean, consolidated, constituent data to identity management systems.

Dell supports educational institutions with a tightly integrated approach that encompasses industry-standard technologies such as interconnectivity, servers and storage powered by Intel processors, open source and commercial operating systems, and systems management tools and software. A Dell IT simplification assessment is an excellent first step toward building an Efficient IT infrastructure. This assessment helps an organization develop the appropriate implementation plan to prepare for a successful deployment.  A Dell IT simplification assessment assists with the evaluation of current IT (as-is) operations in the district or institution. It includes collection of discovery, financial, and qualitative data; effective rating of a customer’s complexity; calculation of cost; and assesses the overall current condition of the IT infrastructure. Specific findings and recommendations based on best practices are presented to the district or educational institution to help it develop and prioritize a road map for initiatives designed to reduce complexity and maintenance spend. Alternative hosting models for off-premises IT also promise to boost IT efficiency in education. For example, many colleges and universities are already moving a variety of services to the cloud. Potential advantages of leveraging cloud computing in educational institutions include the following:

•  Cost: Schools can opt for a subscription or, in some cases, a pay-as-you-grow plan—as suits the institution’s model.

•  Flexibility: Cloud computing allows schools to scale their infrastructure dynamically as demand fluctuates.

•  Accessibility: Cloud computing provides options to help shift workloads to hosted environments and reduce costs through services without jeopardizing the security of sensitive information.

Extending learning beyond the classroom
As mobile learning environments become prevalent, students need technologies that enable secure, seamless access to many different kinds of educational experiences. Dell offers a range of mobile computing approaches for education, from netbooks and tablets to laptops and classroom docking carts—all powered by Intel. Dell offerings also enable secure, cost-effective student access to learning resources using personal devices. In addition, Dell helps schools boost security by creating centralized data storage, so mobile devices function only as an access point.

Technology can also transform the educational experience by helping individuals with special needs to communicate, access information more easily, or provide a voice. However, successful deployment of assistive technology can be complex because each solution must be custom designed and built to meet the requirements of the individual student. Working with strategic partners, the Dell Assistive Technology Service, developed in collaboration with Intel, offers a comprehensive approach that allows schools and service centers to acquire technology items through a single purchase order and delivery.3 A dedicated Dell education specialist works with K–20 institutions throughout the ordering, delivery, implementation, training, and support processes to help ensure that both students and educators get the devices and training they need to enhance the learning experience.

Transforming education for Next Generation Learning
Through co-development with other education technology leaders such as Intel, Dell is committed to helping educators define their vision for Next Generation Learning. The company’s approaches to education focus on inspiring student success and academic excellence, making real-time decisions based on accurate education data, and building an Efficient IT infrastructure to support learning initiatives.

Transforming education to embrace interactive digital learning is not a books-on-tape approach but a tremendous opportunity for K–20, and institutions can benefit significantly from working with a knowledgeable technology partner. Making systemic changes to the education system requires a holistic view. Dell offers not only technology expertise, but deep education experience.

Dell has committed thousands of hours to testing and validating architectures that help take the guesswork out of deploying digital learning platforms. Dell also extensively tests popular higher education applications on Dell infrastructure in lab settings to help ensure it can support educational institutions in virtualizing common specialty applications.

These efforts have translated into custom learning platforms that blend on-premises and off-premises learning applications, mobile access, single sign-on capabilities, and support and managed services. And most important of all: the collaboration has resulted in an industry-leading Next Generation Learning platform designed to improve student outcomes and enhance career readiness.