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Significant technology developments continue to hit the USA K-12 market.

With Apple’s digital textbook announcement last week, we are now likely to see more acceleration of the spread of new student devices. Is this major announcement by the company that rapidly transformed computing, music and mobility the boost schools need to drive toward the promise of digital technology for all students? And what’s the resulting impact on device and computing trends in K-12?

On the topic of devices, we asked two of our leading K-12 Chief Technology Officer (CTO) customers to give us their opinions. BYOD? 1:1? What’s the better course to pursue? The answer would make Nike proud. While both noted device and equity issues one way or another, all said simply” “Just do it!”. What’s even more interesting – it wasn’t actually all about the device.

Let’s talk about “BYOD” first. BYOD (bring your own device) hit crescendo levels late last year in K-12 technology discussions. Panacea or plan?

Cisco Point of View

Going in, here were four of our key assumptions on needed elements and considerations for any comprehensive K-12 BYOD plan:

Katy ISD Point of View

Here’s what KATY Schools outside of Houston, had to say about their recent successful BYOD experience regarding the four bullets, above:

And how did Katy ISD find these above considerations to be different than full 1:1 computing?

Mooresville Graded School District Point of View

At the other end of the spectrum, we previously profiled Mooresville Schools in North Carolina. Mooresville is the site of the nation’s leading 1:1 computing program, called affectionately their “Digital Conversion” initiative.

Mooresville Graded School District (MGSD) continues to expand their successful Digital Conversion.  In 2011-12 MGSD expanded their 1:1 rollout to 3rd grade.  Whereas students at that level do not take their laptops home, all 3rd graders now have a laptop.

MGSD continues to explore opportunities for K-2 and is contemplating iPads for these early learners.  In addition, MGSD plans network infrastructure upgrades for the elementary schools to handle additional wireless devices. Professional development courses continue to be offered and improved for the key MGSD team and staff.

Both CTO’s noted that financially, 1:1 computing can more easily happen in smaller (<6,000 students) level school districts where the investments, deployments and training can be more easily controlled and managed. Each noted the success of their own path, citing the undeniably strong test scores backing up their rollouts, and each indicated the “time is now” to begin driving these plans.

With more than $8B in education revenues worldwide and the news of a significant push into education last week, there’s a company in Cupertino, California that agrees with that.

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