Monthly Archives: December 2014

2014…Ed Tech Year in Review

Well here we are at the end of another fun-filled and dynamic year in Educational Technology….let’s take a quick look back at some of the buzz and trends…… are they already getting stale on the shelf, or are they the pathway to new and innovative trends?

In 2014 we really started to see the 1:1 vs BYOD discussion be “waxed” eloquently…”on and off.”

byodAs you know, at VIDALCASEY, we believe that these types of technology initiatives are device-centric and draw attention away from the true focus, curriculum, learning and RESULTS.

Both 1:1 and BYOD, whether implemented, or simply “talked about” required significant investment in wireless.  Wireless coverage, saturation, management and ultimately core infrastructure upgrades.

Remember more wireless needs more wires.  If your district invested and implemented wisely, you should be able to grow into your curriculum and testing requirements smoothly.  If not, get ready for a bumpy year ahead.

broken iPadMany 1:1 projects drew scrutiny and criticism due to inappropriate use of long-term debt, and massive deployment of technology resources without the ability to manage and control the inventory.  Many projects have been rolled back, halted, and some, such as LAUSD, have drawn investigations into misappropriation of funds and non-compliance with Public Contracting and Procurement laws.

Lessons learned?  Take a technology independent approach to determining device requirements.  What does the curriculum require and when is it required?

sbac3For some schools SBAC testing was a big reactive focus.  What did we learn?  We can throw a lot of money at something, but if the assessment methodology, infrastructure, device deployment, and professional development wasn’t well planned, and in-place, you probably had a couple of major fire-drills occur in 2014.  Stay ahead of the game on this one.

teacherMany school districts are moving forward in classroom technology projects.  Even though these are not the most earth-shattering new technologies, projection and audio/speech enhancement are still sound investments and have shown objective results.

Implementing these technologies school-wide can have REAL impact with teaching and learning. At least most have stopped purchasing Interactive White Boards (IWBs).  Although interaction is still embraced, primarily at elementary levels, the day of the dedicated board that you can’t write on is gone.  Interactive projectors (that can project on dry-erase boards), video sharing and SmartTVs have seemed to become the classroom display topic of 2014.

EdTech_platform

2014 has definitely been the year of the LMS.  For some anyway.  I was consulting with a not-so-advanced district recently who said, “What’s an LMS?”  Sorry to be so presumptive, adoption of an LMS really comes after significant infrastructure, device deployment and curricular professional development has already taken place.  The Ed Tech needs to take the lead on curriculum definition and applications management: secure user login, single-sign-on, collaboration tools, weblockers, and electronic portfolio.

It takes VISION to take your district there.  Take the lead, assign the lead, support the leader, or get out of the way….

I’m sure that 2015 will yield many new innovations and trends for our field….can’t wait to see our VISIONS take shape.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

dv_headshot2Darryl Vidal

In the news…

Here’s a couple of recent press releases and interview…

K-12 Tech Expert publishes new book on Educational Technology Strategy and Vision…(click here).

And this Interview with Matt Brown from CRN made the front page of the IT Best of Breed website  where Darryl discusses where resellers can expand and find new opportunities in the K-12 marketplace (click here).

And we were also picked up in Tech & Learning (click here).

This should scare your pants off…

LAUSD once again sets the stage for a 1:1 implementation nightmare and the follow-on scrutiny and district liability.

It’s bad enough that many school districts are using 30-year bond monies to purchase 1:1 devices that will barely last 3 years.  It’s a classic example of using public funds for ill-advised purposes.  Superintendents and school boards must justify their use of funds in this matter.  Especially now with the LAUSD debacle.

But worse yet, not following state and government procurement standards is not only irresponsible, it’s quite possibly illegal.

The FBI has seized LAUSD’s iPad procurement documents.

“the FBI was investigating, legal experts and education observers immediately focused on Deasy’s relationship with Apple and Pearson and the use of construction bond proceeds to spend money on a short-term device purchase.”  Read about it here (click here).

whitecollar

Any type of non-competitive procurement activity with public funds, adding up to this much money, should ALWAYS be procured through the formal competitive bid process.

It is the ONLY way to insure that the district is getting the best price.

As an example, purchasing laptops or tablets for “street price” or a reseller’s advertised discounted price, is still likely 15-20% over the possible formal bid price.

Projected over a $1 million dollar procurement, that could be as much as $200,000!  But you’ll never know how much of an additional discount might be obtained if you don’t go to bid.

Do your homework.  Follow the process.  Stay out of the spotlight.  Do right by the kids…