Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining

By Professor Steve Molyneux, CEO, Tablet Academy International

The Coronavirus pandemic, like many other global catastrophes, whether created by man or nature, has brought with it an unimaginable amount of hardship and sorrow, and my heart goes out to all those who have lost a loved one, a friend, a colleague. Conversely, my thanks to all those working hard to ease the hardship of others and overcome this crisis; our politicians, manufacturers, shopkeepers, inventors, scientists, police, health workers, in fact every member of our communities working to keep the fabric of our society secure.

They say ‘every cloud has a silver lining’ and the lessons and skills we will have learnt in coping with, and fighting, this pandemic will have a marked impact on the way many of us may work from now on. I hope it will have also opened politician’s eyes to the realisation that funding the deployment of technology in schools requires more thought than just replacing the quill with the slate, the slate with the pen, the pen with the computer, and the textbook with online content, and that some promises made by the latter day alchemists of the late 90’s that technology would transform education were misleading.

Introducing VLEs/LMSs to every UK school in the early part of the 21st century did not usher in an era of online school education as none of these technologies supported the most important element of school education – Teaching. It’s why teachers have not been replaced by automatons in the way some workers from other sectors of society have been such as in Retail, Manufacturing, Finance.

The closure of our schools as one measure to combat the Coronavirus pandemic had led school leaders and teachers to adopt online services and related technologies far more rapidly than expected. It has also forced changes in work practices, and pushed training in using these technologies to the top of the agenda; not just in schools but across all sectors of society, including government itself.

How wrong you would be in thinking that, as a small company whose expertise lies in assisting educational institutions and other organisations with their ‘Journey To The Cloud’,  that we were ready for the circumstances forced upon us, and every other business, by a Coronavirus pandemic lock-down.

Never in a million years did I believe that we would have to react so swiftly to market forces to ensure that our reputation as a world leader in our field would remain untarnished, and that we could continue to provide our current and future clients with our consultancy and training services, therefore ensuring the continuation of the company and the economic wellbeing of all our staff.

Luckily, as consultants and trainers in the field, all our team are already fully acquainted with the use of the relevant technologies, and we manage our entire organisation using cloud-based services. It was therefore just a matter of restructuring our client service offerings and implementing work processes that allowed all our staff to work remotely

Within one week we had taken 99% of all the services we would have normally delivered face to face and converted them to remotely delivered services. 

And how have our clients reacted? Never better. In fact, the silver lining I spoke of earlier has made us a much leaner and streamlined operation, delivering our services more efficiently and with less inconvenience to our clients. It also has allowed us to lead by example in showing the opportunities that working in the cloud can bring with the right implementation and training of staff.

The outcome of all of this on our clients will be that on the passing of the pandemic they will be far more efficient in their work practices, and be ready for next catastrophe aimed at disrupting the education of our young people; be that school closure due to heavy snowfall or whatever else man or nature throws at them.

Professor Steve Molyneux is co-founder and CEO of Tablet Academy International, a world leading platform agonistic company founded to assist  educational institutions and other organisations  in transforming to the 21st century practice of working in the cloud.  

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