While the new tools are creating more opportunities in terms of learning and growth for the students, it’s offering an easy and cost-effective way for administrators to drive value into their institutions. From building robust infrastructures that support strong wireless networks to implementing innovative learning management systems, K12 institutions need the support of innovative technology providers, to achieve their objectives.
To say the least, 2017 promises to be an interesting year for K12 education. Thanks to entrepreneurial activity in the broader education space that boosts the opportunities to improve outcomes for the K12 system. And, there are many disruptors in education technology that are helping to redefine the way students learn, obtain skills, and get credentialed. In this edition of Education Tech Insights, a distinguished panel comprising of CEOs, CIOs, VCs, and analysts including the editorial board has chosen the “10 Hottest K12 Solution Providers - 2017.”
The Power of Technology to K12
It is well understood that innovative technologies are performing the role of a trailblazer—opening up new opportunities in the educational sector. However, Darryl Vidal, VP at Networld Solutions—a value-added IT consulting company, points out one of the biggest challenges in this realm, especially within the K12 landscape: “Amidst the intense pressure to implement technology initiatives, many programs such as one-to-one, and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) are device-centric and not focused on curriculum goals and academic achievement. Schools are swamping their classrooms with tablets and iPads without clear plans and professional development focused on district objectives and student learning.”
Headquartered in San Diego, CA, Networld Solutions helps clients understand the “what” and “why” they need to invest in, and balance the expenditures in infrastructure and impact. The firm’s MAPIT (TM) Methodology is specifically developed to plan and implement complex, but medium-scaled IT and Ed Tech programs.” By leveraging MAPIT (TM) processes for project management, we help our clients implement successful education technology initiatives, on time, and on budget,” says Vidal, who has personally developed the technology over a two-decade period. Being an expert in the field, Vidal has authored three books on education technology: Confucius in the Technology Realm, Vision, and N3XT Practices. Taking the power of MAPIT (TM) to the masses, he is set to publish his latest books on MAPIT (TM) Education Technology Strategic Planning, and MAPIT (TM) Implementation Planning and Project Management in 2017.
“The MAPIT (TM) processes focus on two core areas: strategic planning, and tactical or implementation planning,” says Vidal. On the strategic front, it provides the methodology to define program and project objectives that are based on business strategic objectives, or in Education—district academic goals, and leverages these strategic goals, to define business, systems and technical needs that will support these goals. On the Tactical or implementation planning front, MAPIT (TM) processes provide the structure to handle the “triple constraint” of project management: Scope, Time and Budget. These processes also provide milestones and checkpoints to insure plans and execution are moving forward on schedule. These practices and procedures help school districts insure their initiatives are goal and curriculum-based, and that they stay on track with their budgets and timelines.
For instance, many school districts are using Bonds to fund modernization projects and technology initiatives. Millions of dollars are borrowed and spent on technology infrastructure and devices. But many institutions struggle with four specific areas concerning technology: Education Technology Standards, Education Technology Initiatives, Project Management Office and IT Operations. Networld Solutions has developed the Education Technology Strategic Assessment (ETSA) that allows their consultants to identify key factors in each of these areas that can help a school or district fast-track their implementation and planning. On completing this assessment, a school district can provide these standards and initiatives to architects and program managers. Further, the PMO and IT Operations portion of the assessment will help a school determine if they are prepared to implement
large scale technology programs and if they are prepared to manage and maintain these technology systems over time.
This methodology has gained Networld Solutions a strong list of clientele. “We partner with our clients, we act as their agents, and we attempt to build long-term trusted relationships,” notes Vidal. As a corroboration of such expertise, many of their biggest clients such as Rady Children’s Hospital of San Diego, and San Diego Unified School Districts has been with Networld Solutions for almost 20 years. With the success of such partnerships, Networld Solutions seeks to continue to provide the highest-level of technical consulting and engineering services in all areas of IT and Education Technology throughout California.