10 Takeaways from FETC 2016 After Meeting With 5 Top Education CIOs

By- Andres Campo

Last week was the 36th Annual Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC), which brings together K-12 district leaders to learn and discuss all things Ed Tech. From 3-D printing to robotics, and from assessment solutions to educational software, FETC’s Expo Hall hosted more than 500 leading manufacturers — each featuring the latest technologies and newest products on the market.

I was invited by United Data Technologies (UDT), a technology leader in the education space and pioneer Digital Learning Convergence, was invited to participate in a round-table discussion with 5 of Florida’s top education CIO’s. The conversation focused on the digital transformation happening in the classroom, new learning resources and their impact on today’s learners and teachers.

Here are 10 major takeaways from FETC:

  1. 85% of schools are not ready for the cyber security challenges of 2016. Government agencies, businesses, hospitals, and universities are targets of overwhelming data breaches that can affect millions of people. Now, K-12 schools are also at risk from outside threats, and students, as schools rely heavily on technology for day-to-day operations and include more software, apps, online programs, and web-based testing into classes.
  2. School districts must ensure that they have the right online environment to accelerate the delivery of quality academic content. It is predicted that content delivery networks will account for 62 percent of internet traffic by 2019.
  3. Bridging the gap between procurement and instructional technology. Purchasing decisions need to shift from evaluating pricing alone to understanding the value of solution-based purchasing and the requirements of the new learning era.
  4. Where is the budget? Educators and school administrators are juggling a restricted budget and governmental demands to meet Core Curriculum Content Standards, while attempting to create a technology budget.
  5. Increasing adoption of applications like Microsoft One Note is a must in order to scale and grow collaborative, personalized learning within the classroom. Office and productivity tools are currently the third most-used applications.
  6. Digital textbooks are becoming the norm and backpacks carry mini servers to share content. Publishers cannot focus solely on producing content, they must also evaluate its contribution to student learning. Strong results can come from enabling adaptive learning, providing modular content, and assessing progress.
  7. Our students don’t have internet at home! Funding is needed to create a digital community, not just a digital classroom, to prevent students without internet at home from being denied equal access to knowledge. In some districts, it’s common for 80% of students to not have internet access at home, limiting their ability to continue learning beyond the classroom.
  8. State standards continue to challenge and drive tech compliance. It is important for these standards to evolve with the requirements of today’s learner and make changes according to their needs.
  9. BYOD has become a challenge in existing classrooms infrastructures due the number of connected devices that each student owns, an average of 4 per student, and are allowed to bring to school. How to manage?
  10. Cloud technology takes up to 30% of K-12 budgets today. Their biggest concerns are the security of proprietary data and applications, as well as the technical aspects of integrating cloud applications and infrastructure with legacy systems.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION IN THE CLASSROOM