By Steven M. Baule, CIO Advisor
I was recently reading a tech facilitator's blog and saw the term futureproof. It has been a while since I saw that term. It was common in the 1990s, as everyone was preparing for Y2K and the potential end of the digital world as we knew it. (Yes, I do know people who bought stashes of bottled water, extra gasoline and such at the end of 1999.) However, I haven't seen the futureproof term being used as much lately. I started to wonder why? Has the potential direction of educational technology been more clearly identified than it was 20 years ago? Or have we simply given up on trying to anticipate the future as things have been changing too rapidly to try to prepare for the future? I have my thoughts, but I am interested in those of other readers.
Another issue that used to loom large in most educational settings was the Mac v. PC debate. With the rise of online and interactive Web 2.0 applications, this issues seems to rarely raise its ugly head these days. People seem to have moved one way or another and the issue is generally settled in most schools and districts. Again, what do you think?
A third issue that really has died is the issue of copper v. fiber. The days of arguing about Cat 5 v. Level 7 cabling seem to be gone with the advent of ubiquitous wireless networking. (Of course, ubiquitous has become a ubiquitous term in the last 20 years.) Non-technical staff don't seem to ever venture down that conversational road at all these days.
The arguments about Word Perfect v. Word are long gone, but they have been replaced by the Office365 v. GoogleApps conversation or even the conversation about whether students need to learn using traditional office v. whether the skills taught via GAFE, etc., are truly readily transferable. It seems in IT there is always a choice to be made with advocates on both sides of the issue. Rarely is there a single correct answer (maybe with VHS v Beta). The key is deciding not which choice is right, but which choice is right for your school and its students, staff, and environment.
Steven M. Baule is superintendent of North Boone CUSD 200 in Poplar Grove, IL. He has written several books on aspects of library and technology management and planning. Follow North Boone on Twitter @NBCUSD200.