Wednesday, June 29, 2011
This past week I attended an event hosted by the International Society for Technology in Education
(ISTE for short) at the Philadelphia Convention Center. I wasn't quite sure what to expect never having attended before. Walking away I was very impressed by the energy, diversity and professionalism of the show. I also left thinking this could have been an education focused hall of a larger IT event. Think Comdex meets classroom.
Technology use in education continues to climb the ladder. From collaboration software, to smart boards, IP clocks, WiFi amplification and infrastructure backbone, many schools are indistinguishable from the IT infrastructures found in Fortune 1000 corporations, and in some cases, I'm sure have surpassed them.
Today’s kids are learning in ways that simply didn’t exist widely a decade ago. Interactive whiteboards, classroom management software, wireless networks and audio augmentation are changing the way teachers teach and students learn. Based on findings from our recent research study, “IT Opportunities in the Education Market
,” technology is a friend, not an enemy.
The study, based on responses from 500 educators, school administrators and staff from kindergarten level to college in the U.S., revealed high marks for the effect technology has had on education. Nearly 80 percent say that technology has had a positive impact on overall education, while two-thirds believe students today are more productive than three years ago because of technology. Likewise, educators themselves report that the use of technology has helped them do their jobs more efficiently and effectively.
So who said kids waste too much time online? Jokes aside, the education market has many variables: number of students per school, size of operating budget, regionalism and overall attitude toward technology. But one thing is clear; technology’s positive impact – even in a time of tough budgets – will continue to move forward. Smart phones, tablets and other devices that bridge home and school environments will only drive demand deeper in the years ahead.
During the ISTE show, Randy Gross, CompTIA’s CIO, and I both remarked, "Who takes care of and sets up all this stuff in schools?” When you add in the amount of handheld devices to the embedded hardware and networks, there's a lot to keep track of, secure and maintain. All of which means tremendous opportunity for MSPs, cloud service providers and break-fix technicians too. As I've said in this blog before, companies and individuals adept at systems integration (voice, data, storage, networks, wireless, apps) will earn the highest margins and the longest running customer loyalty.