Noel Erskine, Technology Coordinator Norris Schools

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What will school networks look like in the future?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Quick answer: Wireless...Wireless...Wireless....  As a school networking person, I am still very fond of the fast speed, reliable, and controllable network wiring.  Yes, give me fiber, Cat5, Cat 6, or beyond.  But that is not what I see in the crystal ball for school networks in the next ten years.  We are not ready to totally cut the wires yet, but as wireless matures and wireless access is required, our school networks will evolve.  Students and staff will need Cellular service and wireless access for the many handheld devices that will service education and personal needs of our clients.  Our "wired" network will still support some file and print services, but most services will be supported on the cloud.  With all of our applications moving to the cloud,  we need more wireless and more bandwidth.

What wireless devices?  Well, the answer remains to be seen.  I like the iPad for it's battery life, but I do not see it as a total computer replacement.  The iPad is great as a media delivery device with good battery life, but I do not see it as a full service internet client, especially with it's lack of support for Adobe Flash.   There may be hope for the new Android tablets, but time will tell for their laptop replacement capabilities.

I have had the opportunity to review the Google Chrome Laptop and have been very impressed with it's battery life and possibility for use in a 1 to 1 computer initiative within a school district.  Second party review here: http://www.engadget.com/2010/12/09/google-cr-48-chrome-laptop-preview/ With many applications heading to the cloud, this device holds a lot of promise.  I think the deciding factor for this device will be it's price point.  If they can come in with a price point of $249, it will be a winner for education.

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