Thursday, 13 January 2011

@BETT: Paul Bell's predictions

At the BETT London show and heard Paul Bell (President, Public Sector, Dell) give his presentation on where we are and implications for the future.
He stated that users would want devices which were fit for purpose and aimed at them. He mentioned the Dell Latitude 2120 with its rotating screen - tablet and notebook - which had been "soldier-proofed" further. He also considered large screen Smartphones as appropriate too.
Does this mean that we should be wary of using whatever technology is at hand, where students might have a variety of types of Smartphones/pads/touches? The advice does come from a laptop manufacturer but I do think that he is right. Classroom use needs to be tech-problem free - the teacher does not need to spend time on "how do I get that on my phone?" situations.
The "Implications for IT leaders in education" were interesting:
We should be ready for radical transformations so as to get the appropriate cost structure, to keep up with the pace of innovation teachers and students are going through and so fund different architecture; storage is certainly an area which we must consider - we are weighing up whether to buy another storage server ($20K) or put that in the cloud also.
We should also consider the service that we are providing, getting a higher level of service with lower costs by redirecting our small support staff to add value - to be partners for our teachers and support them rather than be fixers of technological hitches.
Storage caps need to go away, so that we do not limit storage since this will limit usage and creativity. Again, we need to enable value being added - however, with the cloud comes the need to ensure a sufficiently fast and reliable connection - that goes hand in hand. We have problems in that regard despite a dedicated 8 megabits service.
Finally, he finished his presentation with the last point - imagine anything is possible - well yes...
...that is the problem when we are working on the architecture for the next few years. However, I take away from this the need to do just that - imagine what will come and not return to what was.

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