By Adam Rosenfield
2015 was a year celebrating milestones in educational technology. According to Audrey Watters, who runs the website HackEducation, this past year was the 25th anniversary of the first one-to-one laptop program (at the Methodist Ladies College in Melbourne, Australia), and the fifteenth anniversary of the Maine Learning Technology Initiative, which made Maine the first state in the USA to provide laptops for all its middle schoolers. Those might have been some major achievements, but in 2015, the mobile phone reigned again as the technology that’s been changing education, and it looks like 2016 will see the continuation of that trend.
According to Project Tomorrow CEO Julie Evans, “If there was any doubt in our mind that we were beyond the tipping point in terms of kids carrying a computer in their pocket or purse,” she said, “we’re there.”
Eighty-nine percent of high school students and fifty percent of students in grades three through five have access to an internet-connected smart phone, with sixty percent of students using mobile devices for anytime research.
BYOD: Coming Soon to Your District?
BYOD continues to be on the rise, as more and more students use their mobile devices for collaboration. According to MDR’s State of the Market 2015 Report, twenty-one percent of school districts have implemented BYOD programs. Once a device loathed by teachers and administrators due to its distracting nature, cell phones are now embraced by school districts as another way to engage students.
Because of increased mobile device usage in the classroom, it is imperative that schools create effective inventory management practices to better track this influx of devices. We know that you have critical student achievement goals you want to accomplish when you implement these new initiatives and thinking about inventory processes is the last thing on anyone’s mind, but poorly managed inventory practices can make sustainability a constant struggle. Especially with devices getting smaller and smaller, it’s important for your district to prioritize ways to better track, report, and manage these assets.
Chromebooks Take Control
While the continued emergence of the use of mobile phones as an educational component is the primary trend this year, there is another piece of technology looking to make its mark in 2016. The MDR Report says Chromebooks are on the rise, with the implementation rate in districts jumping by seventeen percentage points, and forty-nine percent of districts calling the technology a “high priority” for 2016. Have you thought about how your district will respond as this device quickly becomes the go-to tool for mobile learning?
In addition to Chromebooks, instructional materials continue to be an important part of a school curriculum. As the shift from print materials to digital continues to grow, many districts in the South, Midwest and the West are experiencing budget increases to keep up with this trend, as ninety percent of districts expect digital materials to be compatible with mobile and other devices.
You and your staff face constant challenges when it comes to inventory tracking and reporting, and we’re passionate about helping you reduce the amount of man-hours you spend on it, so you can spend more time working with your students in the classroom. To learn more about how we can help you meet your inventory control goals for 2016, contact us here!