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Thursday
May242012

Changes in software will cause ripples

12 Massive Changes That Will Transform the Software Industry Within 5 Years

  1. Cloud computing changes how companies buy software.
  2. Bottoms-up marketing tactics change which software companies buy.
  3. Desktop virtualization changes how companies deliver software.
  4. Windows 8′s ‘Metro’ interface will change how people use Windows.
  5. The move to Web apps is breaking Microsoft’s monopoly.
  6. Mobile computing changes where software is used.
  7. App stores change how much people are willing to pay for software.
  8. The death of the mouse changes the software user interface.
  9. Open source changes how software is written.
  10. Open source changes who controls software.
  11. Big data changes what can be done with  software.
  12. Social media changes how software is used.

To anyone who is actively involved in educational technology, these changes aren't exactly surprising. Here are some everyday ripples the changing software scene is causing in our district...

 

  • Our software budget is a pale shadow of what it was only five years ago. We're no longer installing Office on elementary lab computers and questioning whether it needs to go in middle school labs given the functionality of GoogleDocs. Of course system software costs - student information system, data mining, payroll, etc. - continue to grow. 
  • Why pay for software if a free app does the trick? Are we more mindful of what we are actually spending our software dollars on?
  • When most software is cloud-based, the brand and capacity of most devices is moot. Hard drive size - who cares? Windows or Mac - who cares? Give users access to Firefox or Chrome and lock the OS down. Why buy a $1000 new desktop computer for a lab when a $500 reconditioned machine with a 5 year warrantee will do just fine? Or a $500 tablet or netbook?
  • Software selection is being individualized. The special ed teacher and the PE teacher and the third grade teacher and the HS English teacher all want their own "apps" that meet their own specific needs. District-wide software adoption? I don't think so. Oh, it's the content area specialist who is the software expert rather than the district technology department - at last. We techs just help with acquisition and deployment, not so much selection. (See number 2 above - it's not just schools.)
  • Labs are increasingly relics. A single lab in the elementary buildings for testing is all that's needed if there's a cart of iPads available (at about half the cost of a new lab and without real estate needed). Writing and general purpose labs in the secondary can be shut down with only specialized stations for productivity (video and photo editing, programming, CAD/CAM, business, and science applications) remaining. Any bets on how long before these move to the cloud?
  • It's capacity not just coverage that's the concern for wireless access. It's one thing to provide a wireless connection for a couple devices; quite another for 30 or so. The need to upgrade the WAN and pipe to the Internet is crucial. As is reliability, as Moodle replaces the textbook, worksheets and classroom video.

 

 Other changes that low-cost, open source, cloud-based, user-selected software is causing in your school?

 

 

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