The COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 presents unique challenges to educational institutions around the world. As social distancing and self-isolation measures were imposed in the spring, many schools were forced to quickly pivot from face-to-face instruction towards online-only instruction. This presented challenges for many institutions. The success of schools overcoming these challenges was largely influenced by the IT infrastructure and IT leadership approaches in place prior to the pandemic. K-12 schools in Western Canada exceptionally well positioned to navigate the challenges of online-only instruction.
This presentation will describe the underlying IT infrastructure that exists in Western Canada, based on an exhaustive study of all 75 large K-12 districts in Canada’s three westernmost provinces. Multiple case study analysis, followed by correlation analysis, was used to explore the nature of IT infrastructure and cloud computing use in these provinces. A data transformation model mixed methods triangulation design methodology was used. This study encompassed over 1.1 million students and a geographical area of over 2.2 million square kilometres.
Building upon this foundational cloud computing IT infrastructure research, this presentation will discuss the current and emerging IT practices in Western Canadian K-12 schools during COVID-19. This session aims to inform educational leaders concerning successful approaches that can be used to help navigate ongoing instructional challenges during the pandemic. These recommendations can be implemented to improve student access to technology during COVID-19, as well as more permanently in the years following. Central to this presentation is the notion of the digital divide, social justice, and broad access to technologies. All recommendations are intended to meet the needs of a wide audience, ranging from under-resourced schools to elite preparatory schools with a discerning community. As cloud computing becomes the dominant paradigm of IT infrastructure, the barriers to educational technology resource access continue to diminish.
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