Read a couple of articles recently that showed technology use in education being pulled in two different directions. I'm talking about the devices that we place in students hands here. I really prefer not to get too worked up about which laptop/tablet/device is best for students, as it is really the use of the device, the pedagogy, that is key. But these two articles came out on the same day, which tweaked my curiosity.
More traditionally, this first article looks at the development of a new chipset for PCs and laptops, with much smaller transistor size. Smaller transistors allow for a more complex CPU, as well as faster switching and information processing. This one, the Ivy chipset is particularly exciting for a number of reasons. I'm not sure why, but the article specifically refers to its use in education, but it will really improve processing speed in PCs in all sorts of industries.
Computing in the Cloud
The second article (here) to me is the really exciting one, and I think indicates the real future of computing for many schools - cloud computing. Google is offering a much expanded Google Drive, as well as online productivity apps. I use them a bit and find them more than adequate for most purposes. Cloud computing, along with the NBN (either the Labor or Coalition model) offer some real benefits to schools in Australia.
Cloud computing means that a lot of the storage and processing of documents happens offsite, somewhere over the rainbow. It almost makes the choice of technology redundant. As along as you have quick enough accesss to the 'net, you can do your work. You don't even need to use the same device each time (even your smart phone will do it). For schools, it means no need to run and maintain their own servers, no backups, less technical support required. Potentially large savings.
BYOD (Bring your own device)
And then the device - Hawker College in Canberra is doing what a lot of switched on businesses are doing - allowing students to provide their own device. While Education Departments in Qld and NSW are tying down their networks tighter and tighter, the ACT is opening theirs up. Benefit for the school? Lower costs for maintenance and technical support. And for students, they can choose a device that matches their own needs and budgets.
For school administrations, Cloud computing and BYOD has to be the way to go. The financial savings from reduced maintenance and technology can be put to much better use in the classroom, and the savings in time can allow them to focus on what really matters in the end - teaching and learning.