Mobile, Mobile, Mobile – Florida Education Technology Conference Highlights

Other Posts
Feb 5, 2013

If there was one word I could use to describe FETC 2013, it’d be mobile. Two words? iPads and Security. The exhibit hall contained a variety of vendors offering course/class management software, education social media platforms, grading software, to mobile device management vendors; and almost all of them included a mobile component with their offering. While the conference focused more around the K-12 market, many of the exhibitors played within the higher education space. Attendees included teachers, administrators, and IT directors/coordinators with either two major concerns in mind: how can I optimize or secure my current mobile device infrastructure or how do I implement a successful BYOD program?

The majority of learning sessions and workshops involved mobility as well, like best approaches for mobile device connectivity in the classroom, the top education-based apps that benefit teachers, how to best leverage mobile devices in a classroom setting, or overcoming security concerns with a BYOD/mobile program.

So with all this focus on mobility, I wondered what educators thought about this approach in their classrooms. Then I looked around…99.9% of attendees were using a tablet (I did see one lone women taking notes on a sheet of actual paper, so she’s the accounted .1%). People were using their tablets (predominantly iPads) to follow along with presentations, take notes, find exhibitors, and social network with their school districts/students. Those attending sessions were fully engaged in how to launch a BYOD program within their school or develop tips and techniques for better mobile device learning within a classroom.

When InfoTrends asked K-12 teachers in the Business Process Automation Opportunities for Vertical Markets study about improving typical education processes with mobile technology, at least 30% or more of them somewhat or completely agreed that mobile technology could improve each of those processes. Mobility is pervasive and adoption is only going to increase. If vendors are not offering some type of mobile strategy to align with what vertical markets are currently doing with mobility, they will be left behind.

When thinking of security in regards to vertical markets, usually Banking, Healthcare, or Government come to mind. And if I didn’t know any better, I’d think I was at a conference geared toward one of those markets. Between the abundance of MDM vendors and sessions focusing on securing networks, devices, and limiting student access, security is still a top concern in education and BYOD. As one presenter said “BYOD can quickly turn into Bring Your Own Disaster” and if IT administrators don’t have a control over their WiFi networks and firewalls, a disaster will surely ensue. Students are smart. They can hack into places where they don’t belong and wreak havoc on a school’s network if MDM and AUP policies are not put into place. And these issues only worsen when cloud applications are brought into the picture (and teachers and students are using them, a lot).

Vendors need to consider all these mobile and security implications within the education market that may be overlooked. Many of the mobile policies and cloud-based software educators are using could be a lucrative area for vendors to offer their own solutions to the issues of security, accessibility, and productivity. And if vendors aren’t offering their own solutions, there are plenty of other providers that are, and partnering with these types of ISVs may even be a smarter move.

More blogs from

2016 InfoTrends, Inc.

WordPress Appliance - Powered by TurnKey Linux