Here is a newly posted video about the changes in technology that led me to write Teaching Naked: http://mcs.smu.edu/media/content/jos-bowen-universities-should-embrace-tech
It is the beginning of the year so lots of meetings, including meetings with my technology folks. Technology needs have exploded, but budgets have not. (Yes, really, we have to spend money to protect ourselves from cyber attacks from other countries trying to mine our course catalogue. Wow, I only wish the students were as interested…)
We are trying to rethink our technology budgets. Remember “replacement cycles?” Traditionally you have a budget for computers and another for servers and network and software. Add wifi, security, tech support and more wifi. We asked a different question: suppose we STARTED with the user experience. What do people need to get the work done? We wanted to buy laptops for everyone, so we knew something would have to go. We got rid of computers in the classroom and of most of our computer labs and that saved enough money to put every faculty and soon every student on a laptop. Using the same computer for almost everyone (we made a few exceptions as needed) saved tons of money in support but limited choice, but moving to the best new models helped. (We have just moved all faculty to new Mac laptops with a choice of two machines.) We’ve also been able to put much better projectors in classrooms–since now the “refresh of a classroom” means only the projector and maybe a few buttons.
The new Macs have the amazing retinal display, but no DVD/CD player, so again we’ve had to push more support to helping faculty digitize materials. (And secretly–ok maybe not so secretly– I hope this is an incentive to show fewer complete movies in class. We can digitize a clip for you and put it in the cloud, but do you really need to show the entire movie in class?
The BIG issue though is how to think about the budget. Adding iPads adds cost and devices to support. We can’t scrimp on WiFi, but the number of devices continues to increase. I think Technology departments need a radically different budge model. What are the priorities? As software costs go up, students will need to purchase more software as part of courses, but we will need to be more careful about what students REALLY need–no more Adobe Creativee Suite for everyone. And ultimately, we are getting close to a point where not everyone needs a phone (certainly not on your desk), iPad and a laptop. But device will it be? Probably different for different types of faculty.
What seems clear is that business as usual won’t do and we need to reinvent what campus technology means.