|This post is from the March edition of “Acrodex This Month”, a newsletter featuring a wide array of articles, including “Staying Secure in a BYOD Environment”, “Feeling Lost? Cloud Enablement Provides a Virtualization Compass”, and much more. Access the newsletter here.|
By Ariel del Rosario and Victoria Carnaghan, Acrodex Marketing and Communications
It’s widely recognized that technology is changing the current paradigm within today’s world of education and that IT departments are faced with different expectations and are being forced to rethink their traditional governance models.
On Feb. 23 and 24, Acrodex hosted the Enabling Education through Technology Symposium at the Sutton Place Hotel in Edmonton. This two day open forum brought together educators, technologists, and policymakers from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario to talk about current and emerging technology issues and trends impacting learning and teaching today.
Event speakers sparked imagination
The event’s keynote speaker was Microsoft Canada’s Director of Education Shann McGrail, who spoke on Microsoft’s Vision of the Future.
Other speakers included Don Reece, Director of Information Technology for the Pembina Trails School Division in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He explained how his division installed its own high-speed fibre optic cable throughout its facilities which patched directly into the internet – without going through a telephone or cable company. Of further note was that Pembina’s project runs its own voice network over the network, and even sell surplus bandwidth to other organizations.
Renowned speaker Max Valiquette gave a thought-provoking address to the audience, and explained how technology, culture, branding and marketing continues to change as incoming generations interact with one another with a speed and digital intimacy yet unknown.
Tania Sterling of the York Region School Board Division in Ontario presented on Digital Citizenship in Schools and used a pilot project called [email protected] to highlight new technologies into today’s K-12 curriculum in order to prepare students for a digital – and media-focused – future. Tania focused on how the York Region DSB in southwestern Ontario scaled up its [email protected] ([email protected]) Learning Centre program to foster digital citizenship in its 200+ schools. Participants also learned about a successful three part job-embedded teacher in-service strategy that is impacting teacher practice and student learning in Sterling’s K-8 school.
Angie Tarasoff, Senior Manager for Technology Planning and Management with Alberta Education discussed current trends in education technology, including the popularity of cloud and the difficult questions of cost versus outcomes.
Leading technology vendors such as Microsoft, Cisco, HP, Google, Citrix, Adobe and Polycom also had the opportunity to take part in panel discussions and exhibit to attendees on various topics such as Cloud Computing, Unified Communications, Security, Identity Management, Mobility and Infrastructure.
Educator panels included discussions on “Technology Dreams, Needs and Wants” as well as “Reflections From Practitioners” where real-life examples of using innovative technology plans to bring technology to students have been successful and have overcome barriers to deliver those.
About 200 participants attended from a variety of organizations and with different technological, educational, administration and government backgrounds. Interestingly, the event was assigned a Twitter hashtag (#abedtech) which became one of the top trending topics in Canada on the first day.
For over 25 years, Acrodex has been a leading provider of strategic IT services for Canadian business. Today, the company is one of Canada’s largest IT solution providers, and provides a full suite of IT services including: IT Architecture and Design, hardware provisioning, software licensing, network & server infrastructure, managed infrastructure support, application development and project management.
Acrodex customers include leading enterprise and medium sized organizations across the country, in such industry segments as the public sector, energy, healthcare, education, and oil and gas. The Acrodex team is comprised of over 600 dedicated IT professionals located in Edmonton, Calgary, Fort McMurray, Toronto, Winnipeg, Regina and Vancouver.