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.


HECC, that was a great show.

I wanted to jot down some notes about the recent HECC (Hoosier Educational Computer Coordinators) show while it was still fresh in my mind. The November 18, 2010 & November 19, 2010 conference at the Crowne Plaza Union Station in Indianapolis, IN was one of the best.

HECC Conference

HECC Conference

While attention to the MCPc booth didn’t allow me to attend any of the breakout sessions, I consistently heard that the sessions were excellent.  But what I found to be even more excellent was the true interest of the vendors at the show to help Indiana K-12 schools in these lean economic times and the thirst of the K-12 technologists to provide for the students on a limited budget.

I had the honor of working with ViewSonic and Hewlett Packard in the MCPc

booth this year. Sure, these manufacturers compete with each other on some product lines, but they were able to come together under the MCPc banner to present new technology to Indiana’s K-12 technology coordinators.

ViewSonic’s PJD7383i is an ultra short throw DLP projector with interactive whiteboard functionality. Built for flexible and engaged learning, the PJD7383i offers industry-leading educational interactivity. The included pen turns any available surface (including blackboards and greenboards) into an interactive whiteboard, allowing for cost-effective presentations.

ViewSonic Projector

ViewSonic Interactive Projector

Compatibility with PowerPoint and WebEx software, in addition to a PC-less display function allowing students to present via USB, make this projector a flexible solution for all learning group sizes and setups.

Offers full network display functionality. With the ability to connect globally over the internet via IP and access other learning sites remotely, as well as multi-user options, allowing up to four individuals to present at o

nce via split screen matrix, this projector offers a new level of classroom-to-classroom connectivity at a low price point.

Leverages BrilliantColor™ technology to produce flawless, vibrant colors, while high brightness and contrast ratios ensure that the images are clear and crisp even in varied lighting situations. Delivering 2500 lumens with a 1024×768 XGA native resolution, the PJD7383i provides the power and interactivity of a traditional interactive white board at a fraction of the cost. With a throw ratio of just 0.61:1, the PJD7383i displays an 81” interactive image from a distance of just 39”.

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