Insight Lists Top 5 Ed Tech Issues as Schools Enter Buying Cycle
Students with mobile devices, wireless network stress testing and bandwidth issues are top of mind as school districts enter the annual technology buying season, according to Insight Public Sector, a division of Insight Enterprises, Inc. (Nasdaq:NSIT), a leading worldwide technology provider of hardware, software and service solutions for districts and schools across the U.S. Insight has identified the most critical issues facing school districts as annual budgets are outlined for the 2015-2016 school year.
To inform the annual buying season, which runs from now until July, Insight has made available through its news and information resource Insight ON: Education the five key issues education decision makers must consider as they plan their budgets for an environment where technology is placing heavier demands on network infrastructure. The top areas for consideration, based on Insight's work with technology leaders in school districts nationwide, include:
1. Spending on IT architecture
The ways that various gadgets are deployed in schools will impact budget planning depending on the age of the building and how the school was initially wired. Schools must plan for students accessing the technology network through a hard-wired connection in the wall or wirelessly through a router. The Wi-Fi approach may have some schools doing math on how many routers they need - and budgeting for whether a classroom can share a router with neighboring rooms. All of these solutions can create bandwidth issues and affect students' abilities to access content.
2. Ditching the computer lab
Instead of using technology in areas outside of the classroom, schools are looking to adopt budgets that bring tech within arms' reach. One solution is introducing mobile, digital learning carts as an alternative to traditional computer labs. This requires districts to weigh budgets that provide wireless access to the internet throughout the school.
3. Replacing textbooks with eBooks
Print books are still used in classrooms around the world, but according to the Association of American Publishers, eBook sales continue to rise steadily (45 percent since 2011) and are now outpacing print sales. Schools are adopting budgets to address eBook demands in the classroom and finding that eBooks save money in the long run. Even with the extra costs of purchasing devices to read eBooks, schools are weighing whether it is cheaper to provide devices that can download a book than to buy a printed one.
4. Adopting digital assessments
Schools are moving toward tests and quizzes that are designed and stored on a digital platform. Schools have found the digital approach can more easily demonstrate student progress, identify trends, and provide immediate feedback to students.
5. Clicking into a digital response world
Schools are considering the cost of introducing "clickers" in the classroom. These devices allow an entire class to simultaneously answer questions with the data recorded in real time. They can be coupled with other mobile devices and smart boards to create a fully digital environment.
"Tech has arrived in schools, but the coming year also brings potential for costly failures as districts make the jump and increase students' usage of a wide range of devices," said Dave Cristal, vice president and general manager of Insight Public Sector. "Whether it's laptops, tablets, smartphones or desktops, teachers and students are using devices more than ever before, and it is vital that school districts prepare their infrastructure for what lies ahead."
Insight works hand-in-hand with school leaders to help them meet the demands of the evolving classroom IT ecosystem. As part of that effort, the company has made the Insight ON: Education news portal available as a conduit for news and information sharing to help the education community use technology to improve teaching and learning.
For more information on Insight, please visit http://www.insight.com or call 800-INSIGHT.
Insight Enterprises, Inc. is a leading technology provider of hardware, software and service solutions to business and government clients in North America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific. Insight is focused on helping organizations move technology goals forward in the areas of Office Productivity, Unified Communications and Collaboration, Mobility, Network and Security, Data Center and Virtualization, Data Protection and Cloud. Insight has sold over seven million business and public sector client cloud seats across the globe. With approximately 5,400 teammates worldwide, Insight is ranked No. 483 on the 2014 Fortune 500 and generated sales of $5.3 billion for the year ended December 31, 2014. For more information, please call 1.800.INSIGHT (1.800.467.4448) in the United States or visit www.insight.com. NSIT-M