Today, technology is now an integral resource for teaching and learning in schools. But the use of it varies from school to school. For independent schools, they harness the power of it at all ages, throughout all year groups. However, they do face unique challenges in keeping pace with new technologies and maintaining the level of ICT investment expected from staff, pupils and their parents.
Serval IT Systems have been providing IT solutions to independent schools for over a decade and are now part of the entrust IT Group. Our experience means we have a real understanding of the particular requirements of schools in this sector and the challenges faced in the past with IT. We have therefore tailored our solutions to match.
The Covid-19 pandemic has placed increased reliance on technology in schools. If IT issues in the school build-up, it can place immense pressure on your IT manager.
Serval IT Systems can provide your school with an all-inclusive support package designed for independent schools. Included are regular proactive site visits and a support hotline where issues can be reported and worked on remotely. This is available during school hours and the progress of issues reported can be tracked online.
Moreover, not all teachers are IT experts. We understand this and can provide IT training for your teaching staff to make sure lessons, whether they are remote or in the classroom run as smoothly as possible.
If you don’t have an IT manager on-site then not to worry, we can be there as complete professional advice and support for your school.
Microsoft 365 for Education
Microsoft released Microsoft 365 for Education in 2017. As it is designed for educational institutions, it contains all the essentials including the Office Suite, Windows 10, Enterprise Mobility and Security, as well as some added extras. Since its release, the solution has grown tremendously in popularity. It aims to help empower teachers to unlock creativity, promote teamwork, and provide a simple and safe experience for students in a single, affordable solution built for education.
Microsoft 365 for Education comes with a host of features, apps and resources that allow teachers to deliver more inclusive and inspiring lessons to students at al times. For instance, it is full productivity tools such as Word, OneNote, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook. Each of these work in conjunction with OneDrive, a cloud-based storage platform for staff and students to store their documents. Multiple students can simultaneously work on anything saved within OneDrive in real-time, allowing them to work together practically and effectively; any time, any place, any device, thus helping them share ideas with ease and become more involved in their learning.
Overall, Microsoft 365 for Education is an excellent tool for teaching and learning.
At the heart of Microsoft 365 for Education is Microsoft Teams. Teams is Microsoft’s hub for teamwork which enables teachers and students to communicate successfully using text, voice and video chat. It is available on all major devices and operating systems such as iOS, Android, Windows, Mac and Chrome, so that pupils can access their school work wherever they may be located, on whatever device they prefer.
For each class, teachers can create teams from within the Teams application and then invite pupils using their Outlook email address. From there, pupils can communicate in one place with others from the class as well as the teacher. For example, if they have any questions related to assignments. When it is time for a lesson, the teacher can block out a time to the pupils in the class using the built-in calendar. Then, to join the class, pupils simply click on the link.
Key features and benefits of Microsoft Teams for Education:
- Assignments – Assign, track and grade class assignments online to save time
- Insights – Access student engagement data from an intuitive dashboard
- Lesson recording – Record lessons so students can repeat content if they are struggling
- Screensharing – Share your screen or presentation to pupils in real-time
- Immersive reader – Easily read chats and conversations in a more personalised format
- Whiteboard – A freeform, infinite digital canvas for collaboration
- Raise your hand – Allow students to make their voice heard without disrupting others
- Custom backgrounds – Blur your VC meeting background or use an image
- Live reactions – Allow anyone in a Teams class to select an emoji and share it with the group
- Together mode – See a whole class in a new format which creates a more attentive and connected online class experience
- Integration – Create custom educational experiences within Teams and learning management system integration
- Reflect messaging poll – Send out and have pupils respond to polls designed to support social-emotional learning and well-being
An increasing amount of technology in your independent schools also heightens the chance of you becoming a worthwhile target for criminals. To protect from theft these days, it is clear on-site security is essential.
Cloud CCTV is a relatively new security prospect that is affordable and accessible for all. Rather than having a complicated DVR in your school that is the only place you can access footage and must be maintained, your camera recordings are stored securely in a Cloud portal. You can access these on your PC via the internet or on your smartphone via the app.
Cloud CCTV means you can view your schools feed in real-time or remotely. As a result, you can keep a watchful eye on your buildings and the technology within them at all times. Moreover, it will help to ensure the safety of students and staff when on-site.
Tackling cybersecurity needs to be a top priority for independent schools now, more than ever. Fortunately, at Serval IT Systems, security is our top priority. We have a host of solutions that can help independent schools stay protected.
The Serval IT web filtering service will help to restrict undesirable content such as pornographic images, gambling sites and drug references from being accessed on the school network. To suit the needs of your school, we can adjust the strictness of filtering.
The Serval IT anti-virus software will help to prevent your school network from becoming a victim of malware and other cyber threats.
The Serval IT cloud backup solution for schools is the preferred over on-site backup as it remains safe should anything happen to your buildings. Your school chooses the specific files or the entire contents of a hard drive to back up to our data centre. You can also decide whether to have files saved automatically to your online backup on a regular basis or for your files to be automatically backed up when changes are made.
In independent schools, IT hardware is now an essential resource. As part of the entrust IT Group, Serval IT Systems has built up close relationships with a number of leading vendors over the years. Therefore, we have access to preferential pricing for all your hardware needs.
We are also resellers of for both Smart and Promethean smartboards for independent schools, offering installation and upgrade services, as well as providing all the consumables required to thrive. If necessary, one of our experienced technicians can provide training to teaching staff on the best way to use the equipment and resources so you know you are getting the best use out of your investment.
Moreover, in independent schools, we have seen the number of students bringing in their own devices to complete classwork on rising drastically. We have much experience in ensuring devices are compatible with school networks and can help make BYOD a success in your school.
Don’t just take our word for it!
Serval Systems Ltd has provided us with a highly reliable IT support service for over 9 years. Two years ago we extended our link further, and outsourced our entire IT provision to them across the full range of services including ICT Strategy, server hosting and help desk provision. Our partnership has given us a definite business advantage in a highly competitive market