As AV device adoption in United States K-12 schools reaches the saturation point, uptake of interactive devices is primed to accelerate over the next two years, displacing projectors and front-of-room displays. That is according to a new research study from Futuresource Consulting, which polled IT decision-makers across more than 400 U.S. K-12 school districts and revealed a widespread trend towards interactive school classroom experiences.
“U.S. schools are telling us there’s an abundance of display tech already installed in classrooms,” said Chris Pennell, principal analyst at Futuresource Consulting. “On average, 87% of classrooms have at least one form of display installed. In some cases, schools reported coverage in excess of 100%, though this trend was more prevalent in smaller schools. However, there are still AV opportunities in education. Respondents told us they expect a 28% increase in the number of installed interactive flat panel displays over the next two years, with interactive whiteboards anticipated to grow by 7% over the same period. To some extent, this growth is at the expense of projectors, which will experience a decline of around 2%.”
And, believe it or not, the data shows that COVID-19 will accelerate technology in schools, not delay it.
The Futuresource research, which underpins this new report, was conducted as COVID-19 began to emerge. The outbreak has had an unprecedented impact on how schools deploy technology, yet tech was already reshaping the learning experience and redefining how students and teachers interact. Social distancing measures have accelerated the trends that were already happening rather than altering the path of technology in schools. Technology is now being adopted across a greater range of activities, and budgets are evolving to address these changes.
“Since 2017, IT budgets have increased by around 12%,” said Pennell. “However, as schools are using technology to support personalized learning, overall IT budgets are becoming increasingly fragmented. Computing devices, IT infrastructure and apps account for two in every three dollars of IT spend. On average, schools spend 9% of IT budgets on AV devices.”
When considering an interactive display purchase, ease-of-use was the top priority. User-friendly devices mean that different teachers can use the same equipment for various purposes, or students can make presentations with as little time as possible spent on the changeover. The second position was high-quality video, which was seen as a third priority ahead of screen size.
“Schools are also focusing on the quality of AV devices and this is a key factor in their decision making,” said Pennell. “In many cases, they are turning to vendors for advice but aren’t finding the answers that they need. To make the business case for investment, IT decision-makers in education need to demonstrate how the technology will benefit students and how well the tech will endure. At the moment, there seems to be a disconnect between the information that many vendors are offering and what schools require. When we asked schools about barriers to adoption, they told us they have difficulties finding solutions that perform to their expectation, which could also point toward this disconnect.”
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