In my last post I explored the challenge and needs around developing a ‘strategy’ for ICT. Across the summer I eagerly dived into drafting initiatives and structures. I looked at projects of all sizes, programs and priorities. What immediately became apparent, however is that I’d neglected to properly explore the context for that strategy.
What we do – our activities and particularly our priorities – is a reflection of our values and our beliefs about the world now, and into the future. To plan through to 2018 we must be able to clearly articulate the assumptions we’re making about what the next three years will look like – in ICT and in education. We also do well to calmly assess the present and recent past.
The past four years
In late 2011 the College embarked on a path toward the modernisation of ICT. A new strategy was launched that addressed several key goals:
- Establishing a BYOD vision and practice
- Moving from trolleys of laptops (20+) and computer labs (12) to a model of personal learning technologies
- Launching an iPad program in Years 5-8, developing to a multi-platform K-12 program
- Partnering with teachers, students and parents to develop a model that works
- Building infrastructure
- A five-fold increase in size and capacity of the wireless network
- Improving our classrooms, servers, network and other systems
- Developing a cloud strategy: Software as a Service (SaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).
- Introducing a fresh set of online systems: communication portal, Learning Management System, and more.
- Developing a mature ‘service’ practice: a focus on the customer, systems and processes
Looking toward 2018
Being prepared for the next three years requires a balanced and informed assessment of the future. This is always a risky endeavour and needs to balance bold prediction with conservative caution. Our vision comprises five key observations.
1. The cloud will play a central role in all ICT
- Businesses won’t have/need servers
- Connectivity is everything
- We’ll use more and more applications – mostly in the cloud.
2. Particular devices will come and go
- The ratios of users to devices will change just a bit – they grew from less than 1:1 (2010) to 1:3 (present) but will likely top out at about 1:4 (2018)
- Internet of Things (IoT) growth will continue to see more and more connected ‘things’ across the College
- The major vendors will focus on ‘ecosystems’ more than just devices:
- Apple: iCloud, iTunes, App Store
- Google: Android, Chrome, Google Play, Google Apps
- Microsoft: Office 365, Azure, Windows
3. The focus of effective ICT organisations will shift from devices and servers toward services. Absolutely key is:
- How we streamline communication
- raising expectations (customer focus)
- time management challenges / work-life balance
- How we manage information
- increasing volumes of data
- simplify complexity
- How we simplify the user experience
- link systems together
- assess new platforms – and manage risk (esp. archiving) and the transition between platforms
4. Compliance concerns (formal and implied) will increase
- Security and privacy will become increasingly prevalent – and increasingly difficult to prevent
- Staff education of privacy, security, IP/copyright, etc. will be paramount; in most of these contexts schools are working from relatively low position
- Archiving (for compliance, not posterity) needs will likely be formalised beyond the current requirements and will grow increasingly complex given the expanding array of services – and service providers
5. Consequently, effective learning will include ICT in myriad ways
- Use of data and information in the classroom – and linking the classroom with other areas
- Students and teachers will look to continually innovate: creating, organising, personalizing and connecting.
- ICT will need to be an agile partner in that innovation, providing and brokering solutions.
- Support for skills development will remain an essential component
Do you agree? What else will 2018 look like for ICT in K-12 education?