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April - 2016 - issue > CIO INSIGHT

K12 Education and Technology - Challenges and Opportunities in a Connected World

Deepak Agarwal
CIO-Palm Beach County School District
Friday, April 1, 2016
Deepak Agarwal
The marriage of technology and education would seem to be a natural fit - transform schools to the digital classroom model, provide a laptop or tablet for every student, beef up the technology infrastructure and watch as creativity, test scores, teacher ratings, and graduation rates go through the ceiling. Simple, right? OK, maybe not so much. There are major hurdles, both internal and external to transforming our national education model from one designed to support an industrial society to one that prepares students for the expanding global digital economy.

While progress has certainly been made in leveraging technology in schools (e.g. computer labs, electronic textbooks, virtual classes, online sources & tutorials, etc.),we stand the cusp of a real revolution in the possibilities of technology to fundamentally alter the way kids learn and instructors teach. The increased attention and importance placed on Science, Technology, Engineering & Math(STEM) in K12 education is overdue and much-needed to maintain our position as innovation leaders, but it's not the complete picture.

Introducing rapid, severe technology modifications into our current K12 education model would almost certainly do more harm than good. While a more gradual, iterative approach is preferred, change must not lag too far behind mainstream adoption. Teachers, students, and administrators will need to accept, even embrace new technologies and different educational paradigms(personalized learning, active learning, etc.).

As we move from the Internet of Things (IoT) to the Internet of Everything (IoE), it's inevitable that technology will play a larger and more critical role in the buildings, teaching methods, measurement and ultimately, the success of K12 schools. Shepherding those changes in a climate of limited funding, competing priorities and embedded belief systems will require leaders who can communicate, build consensus, inspire and execute on the collective strategic vision.

Bridging the Digital Divide


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