NEW YORK, Nov. 15, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- In 2013, the federal government introduced the ConnectED initiative designed to help America's K12 education system employ technology to deliver a more personalized learning experience. As part of this initiative, 99 percent of American K12 schools are expected to have access to next-generation broadband by 2018. But better access to bandwidth is just the first step in a comprehensive plan that opens the door to a whole new technological world for K12 students: the world of personalized learning. The idea is to deliver personalized learning profiles and pathways for each student, evaluations that are based more on measurable competencies than grades, the development of a flexible technology-based learning environment, and the development of a more structured emphasis on college and career readiness. According to Logicalis US, an international IT solutions and managed services provider (www.us.logicalis.com), the stumbling block for many K12 administrators to date has been a lack of direction about the kinds of technologies to implement and the best ways to roll them out to deliver the desired end results.
"There is enormous pressure on K12 administrators – and by extension, on district CIOs – to elevate student test scores, get more students into college, and really transform the way children learn," says Adam Petrovsky, GovEd Practice Leader for Logicalis US. "The key lies in the successful implementation of personalized learning strategies and the deployment of technologies that make it possible to deliver meaningful results across the board that transcend both demographics and socioeconomic class. Introducing personalized learning strategies into the K12 curriculum demands time, money, resources, technology and creative expertise that may require partnering with an experienced solution provider that knows and understands personalized learning as well as the educational and technical requirements for a successful implementation."
Five Steps to K12 Personalized Learning Implementing personalized learning is a huge undertaking that requires the assistance of a multi-disciplinary team of experts who can guide school officials through the process. It's not just about bandwidth and devices – it's about the strategy for rolling out the program, keeping the network and the kids who use it safe from cyberthreats, and the development of best practices that can be shared with other districts nationwide. To jumpstart conversations between school administrators and district IT personnel, Logicalis' government and education experts have outlined five important steps along the road to personalized learning.
Internet Access is Key: One of the top objectives that must be met before personalized learning can become a reality is to deliver next-generation broadband access – either at school or through the local public library – to every student in America within the next two years. This requires assessments of existing infrastructure, strategies for introducing or increasing bandwidth based on long-term usage plans, and the capability to tap into both public and private funding to pay for it.
Infrastructure Can't Be Ignored: Delivering bandwidth to every classroom is a tall enough order, but this isn't just about one teacher per classroom accessing the Internet and sharing that information on an overhead projector anymore. This initiative is meant to give every student Internet access, which means there may be as many as 30 notebooks or tablets per classroom – as well as each student's mobile phone – all accessing the Internet via wi-fi simultaneously, a change which places significant demands on the school's network and infrastructure, not to mention creating a need for significantly enhanced security, identity and device management, and application management techniques to protect the students from unwelcome content and to protect both the school's intellectual property and each student's personal data from breaches.
Your Success is Only as Good as Your Strategy: The Learning Management Systems (LMS) being developed to satisfy this initiative are significant and powerful toolsets for educators and students alike, but they are as complex to deploy as any major business application. K12 CIOs may want to find a consultant that specializes in LMS solutions and to work with that consultant and its team of strategists to design and implement a plan that examines every aspect of personalized learning from content and student interactions to the most technical details involved in product selection, Internet usage, security and rollout before taking their first steps in the direction of personalized learning initiatives.
Mobility Matters: Because the devices most schools will deploy are mobile devices, it's critical for K12 CIOs to engage the right kinds of specialists at each stage along the way – and that includes mobility experts that can help them from device procurement through deployment to students. Together, district IT experts and mobility specialists can develop a comprehensive mobility strategy that addresses the best ways to roll out and use these learning tools while minimizing damage and loss.
Best Practices Need to Be Shared: While no two schools are identical in the ways they will choose to implement personalized learning initiatives, there are some important similarities that can be shared nationwide to develop a set of best practices. As a result, this is something everyone from the superintendent and district CIO to individual school principals and faculty should be prepared to discuss at regional, state and national association meetings.
About Logicalis Logicalis is an international multi-skilled solution provider providing digital enablement services to help customers harness digital technology and innovative services to deliver powerful business outcomes.
Our customers cross industries and geographical regions; our focus is to engage in the dynamics of our customers' vertical markets including financial services, TMT (telecommunications, media and technology), education, healthcare, retail, government, manufacturing and professional services, and to apply the skills of our 4,000 employees in modernizing key digital pillars, data center and cloud services, security and network infrastructure, workspace communications and collaboration, data and information strategies, and IT operation modernization.
We are the advocates for our customers for some of the world's leading technology companies including Cisco, HPE, IBM, NetApp, Microsoft, VMware and ServiceNow.
The Logicalis Group has annualized revenues of over $1.5 billion from operations in Europe, North America, Latin America and Asia Pacific. It is a division of Datatec Limited, listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and the AIM market of the LSE, with revenues of over $6.5 billion.