Digitization, enabled by new and emerging technologies, has the power to change education as it has disrupted other industries: travel and transportation, retail, healthcare, and financial services offer consumers completely different capabilities and experiences today than in the past. We find ourselves solidly in the center of the service and information-sharing movement and community.

Digitization enables all this. Content, workflow processes, reservations, customer support, and a multitude of other activities are possible today because of digitization. We explored digitization in detail in our new book published in partnership with the Public Technology Institute, The Digital Journey in K-12: Overcoming Roadblocks and Embracing Innovation.

We saw that education is not immune. Our students (consumers of learning) are demanding new ways of learning, in new places, with new ways to engage.

Students no longer want to be bound to a classroom or set schedule. They want to learn anytime, anywhere, and on any device. They want to consume information and knowledge in their own way. And, they are demanding immersive, engaging learning experiences. They want to hear from outside experts, connect with students and subject matter experts from beyond the traditional walls of the classroom, and obtain tutoring and support regardless of the time of day.

One of my favorite quotes from James Hurst, “Pride is a wonderful, terrible thing, a seed that bears two vines, life and death,” reminds me of technology, which is truly a wonderful, terrible thing. The opportunities it provides to us, including our students, is wonderful. Privacy, the protection of students and student information, the risk of cybersecurity attacks are terrible and must be top of mind.

An additional consideration is how schools will find the funding to pay for these new technologies, which when properly applied, will dramatically improve engagement, the student experience, and student learning outcomes. The Cisco Digital Education Platform sets the foundation for your digital future, and at its foundation, includes a solid core network, wired and wireless technology, and security everywhere, many of these items funded through the E-rate program. Learn more about how Cisco enables you to take a platform approach and supports E-rate.


Renee Patton

Former Global Director of Education and Healthcare

Global Industry Solutions Group