Time to Support Mobile Computing
If you follow my blog you know that I tend to get interviewed frequently by Tech Trade news services about trends in Higher Ed IT. Mobile Computing is a common topic especially with my rather unique involvement with the distribution of laptops and iPads. These interviews continue but they tend to be looking for the old easy story. Why, what, when and how is your mobile initiative going to impact your community. If their story really doesn’t have much meat beyond just writing about examples then they tend to back off when I tell them that we are getting out of the device provisioning business.
We are also going through our University’s Board of Trustee meeting right now and they are hitting me with these same questions because the impact of not spending $650K on laptops does interest them. However, they are very interested in the real reason which is that technology is moving so fast right now that we should not be trying to control it but rather support it. Support, as in, a major upgrade to our managed WiFi campus solution, a major upgrade for media enabled classrooms that anticipate that students will have mobile computing devices of their choice. And investment in a different style of public computing or information commons that are geared to supplying the 10% of computing needs that our students should not have to worry about.
I say it is time to move into this new era of personal computing. Our previous management of student computing is not wrong it is just not needed any more. Access to information in Higher Education is pervasive. We accomplished a major goal and it is OK let our children leave the nest. Sure we will still offer them support and advice but we need to shift our focus to embracing this new era. We need to focus our support on our response to mobile computing. How do we help our faculty redesign their pedagogy to leverage this “Information at their Student’s Fingertips”?