The Nostradamus of K-12 Technology


Mayan CalendarBack on December 31, 2010, I went out on a limb and made some technology predictions for 2011 in my post “Five K-12 Tech Predictions for 2011.” Granted, I wasn’t pondering the Mayan Calendar, the writings of Nostradamus, or consulting with Giorgio A. Tsoukalos. Heck, I wasn’t even combing my hair like Giorgia. In fact, my predictions might have been about as creative as the title of the posting itself (I’m my worse critic). The point I’m trying to make here is that I prognosticated. Like most great prognosticators, I made sure my predictions were based on some kind of logic, which of course gave me better than a snowball’s chance of hitting my target.

Here were my predictions and how they have fared nearly two years after I made them.

  1. HP Thin Client T5730Everyone will be getting thinner.
    The prediction here was that virtualization would quickly move outside the server room and migrate its way to the desktop. Thin clients would be replacing thick clients. Truly we’ve seen this come to fruition in many school systems.  I personally have been involved in projects over the past twelve months that have resulted in more than 3,000 virtual desktops. VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) is here and it will continue to grow in 2013.
  2. iPadMore mobile devices will move into the classroom.
    Well, we’ve certainly seen this happen. When I made this prediction my kids were not carrying cell phones to school, but they are today. Likewise, there are literally thousands of iPads in the classrooms of my just my clients. “I’ve never seen an adoption rate like this in the past,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook at the end of the third quarter this year. In the third quarter alone, Apple sold 1 million iPads for education purposes. That’s precisely 1 million more than were sold when I made the prediction in 2010. It’s a little tougher to track the use of Android tablets in schools, but arguably there are just as many of those devices infiltrating the school systems. While mobile device infiltration in education is apparent, it’s also quite apparent that many schools deploy these devices and then do nothing else. As soon as the “cool factor” wears off and “buyers remorse” sets in, schools will have to come up with a plan on how to effectively use these devices.
  3. The forecast calls for clouds.
    Let’s just say it’s been partly cloudy. I believe I was spot on in my observation that the K-12 community would move to the cloud, but they would be conservative in their approach. We’ve seen outsourcing in the form of the use of Google Docs, Gmail, Office 365, and even VOIP in the cloud. But what we have yet to fully see is the placement of key data in the cloud. Greening of IT It will happen, but I’m fairly certain education will wait for the corporate world to get the bugs out first.
  4. Things will get a little greener. 
    Things certainly did green up and all those clouds had a a little something to do with that. We’ve seen almost every manufacture decrease power consumption in their products. Monitors and projectors are utilizing the more energy efficient LED technology and as VDI moves in we are seeing overall less power being used at the desktop.  Pay particular attention in the coming months to the number of power over Ethernet monitors with built in thin client.
  5. Computer RepairOutsourcing of technical services.
    Certainly not fully adopted yet, but there has been an increase in outsourced services. IT departments hare trying to operate more efficiently as they prepare for BYOD, VDI, and the Cloud. To that end, I’ve seen everything from infrastructure as a service to simple break-fix warranty repair being outsourced.  This leaves the internal IT department to do triage and spend more time on business needs like spinning up another virtual server. In other words, the mundane IT tasks are moving to a contractual model.

Maybe I chose some softball pitches for my predictions, but I can tell you these were hot debate topics at the time and still occupy a lot of thought even today. I plan on taking the next month or so to go over my meeting notes from the year, compare those to industry trends that I’ve been reading and take another stab at what’s to come. However, I think I’ll wait until after December 21st…just in case Nostradamus and the Mayans were right with their predictions.