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By Hillary Ramirez on November 19, 2020

Education Technology in the "New Normal"

Read about how Datalink Networks helped long term client, Birmingham Community Charter High School, with their education technology during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Introduction

In March 2020, schools across the country began shutting down amidst the COVID-
19 pandemic, forcing schools and school districts to initiate a remote learning agenda. As the 2020- 2021 school year was set to begin remotely, Birmingham Community Charter High School (BCCHS) sought out to provide the best remote learning experience for its students and educators.

As a long term client of Datalink Networks, IT director of BCCHS, Vic Chalabian, reached out to Datalink to find the right IT solutions for his students and
faculty.

Microsoft Teams Implementation

Sarah Obloy, Technology Coordinator of BCCHS, stated that "the changing landscape of schools due to mandated distance learning has required school leadership to
take a hard look at how content is disseminated and what tools are required to keep the connection and collaboration between students and teachers safe, secure, and easy.”

Given the clear needs of BCCHS, Datalink Networks issued the campus Microsoft 365 licensing for all students and faculty as well as recommended Microsoft Teams as
the trusted web conferencing platform and collaboration tool.

However, upon implementing Teams as the new web conferencing platform, Datalink Networks understood that a learning curve would prohibit educators from
conducting their online classrooms.

With a busy school IT team focused on network issues, leadership at BCCHS quickly found a Teams training program to be a necessity for their school educators and faculty.

Datalink Networks controlled this issue by implementing the CoreView Microsoft Teams training program. This program included a library of short and searchable training videos on a variety of different Teams topics that faculty members could easily search for themselves. This program put teachers at ease and helped improve overall Microsoft Teams adoption.

School Data Sync

Datalink Networks engineers integrated Aeries, BCCHS' student information system, and ran a school data sync. This took the students and educator's schedules and automatically created Teams classes around them. Educators were then able to add files or documents, create channels, and integrate other applications directly into their Teams interface prior to admitting students. As students exit old classes and enter new classes, the student information system updates and makes new classes so educators always have updated Teams classes.

Coreview for M365

To follow FERPA guidelines, Datalink Networks installed CoreView's Microsoft 365 configurations within Microsoft Teams. With this, Datalink Networks and the BCCHS IT staff can create custom automated alerts for policy monitoring and enforcement. It also allows the school to restrict admin access to improve efficiency, utilize built-in reports, and automate processes through the use of workflows. This took the pressure
away from the BCCHS IT staff to manually monitor their network security and compliance

Student Intern Program

To provide an engaging remote program for students, BCCHS and Datalink Networks partnered with New Horizons, the world’s largest IT training company, to introduce an
innovative student intern program

Lindsey Surendranath, the Special Projects Officer at BCCHS, stated that “students receive excellent academic preparation, but we are working hard to ensure they are
equipped with life skills, professional skills, and soft skills so they can navigate the world of work”

The student intern program launched in August 2020 and comprised of 10 selected students whose interests fell in the technology industry. The program courses consists of soft skills training in employability and cyber safety, Microsoft 365 Basics training, CompTIA training, and specialized Microsoft Teams training.

Upon completion of the program, students will receive certifications in the courses listed above and become student interns to work in their school’s helpdesk assisting faculty and staff with IT related questions and concerns.

Published by Hillary Ramirez November 19, 2020