Personally, I’m looking to iTunes U. My project for the next three years is to lead a transition to using iTunes U across the whole of our school. Initially, we will adopt it for assignments and content distribution. Next year, as the new National 4/5 exams come in, we will be redesigning our courses on the assumption that this kind of technology is available to us. Further down the road, I hope to use iTunes U to expand the range of courses available to our students and, once that model is proven, make those courses available to schools across Scotland.
The second trend I picked up on was the continuing shift towards total student autonomy in IT. The shift to mobile is eliminating the need for dedicated computer space in schools. The shift to iOS is eliminating the need for dedicated server hardware, home directory infrastructures and backup systems. On iOS pupils can genuinely administer their own devices in a secure and stable fashion, eliminating a broad range of tech support oversight functions.
The final step is to eliminate the network. I had several conversations about the difficulty of scaling school networks beyond the 300-400 device range into the multiple thousands of devices in larger schools. Several people observed to me that mobile networks are designed to scale to those numbers without issue. The shift towards LTE cellular networking – which is typically faster than the broadband in a school – is starting to look like an interesting option for schools that cannot provision or scale their networks to multiple thousands of devices.
Imagine, in 5-7 years having gone from the complexity of laying ethernet in fixed locations in schools, building broadband, deploying servers and switches all over the school to the simplicity handing out an iPad and a SIM card and getting on with the learning.
[Interesting. So far, my experience with using an iPad for “work” is a mixed bag. I can code, I can write, I can communicate. But sometimes I do all that stuff in rapid succession, and need awareness of them all. OK, so maybe a laptop is the correct tool, and that’s fine. But I will continue to explore what the office of the future looks like, and am heartened that such great strides are being made in the field of education, and am looking for ways to incorporate the same type of thinking into our office.]
Source: Fraser Speirs