By Aaron Overington

eduTech 22 in review

What a fantastic few days it was at eduTech 22. Hear from Cyclone's very own Aaron Overington as he reviews his experience.

eduTech 22 in review

I recently returned from the eduTech 2022 conference in Melbourne where I, along with over 11,000 other people, enjoyed networking and listening to a range of great speakers including a number from Aotearoa. There was a lot of reflection of the pandemic and the way it has driven change across not only education, but the whole world. 

As Richard Culatta, CEO of ISTE said in his opening keynote, 2020 was all about emergency remote learning, not necessarily effective learning. And this was a repeated theme across a number of presentations. We now need to embrace the ‘new norm’ of hybrid learning, take forward skills and pedagogy changes that worked, and leave behind those that didn’t (including practices pre-COVID that may not work well now). 

We need to re-look at the tools that were in use during the last two years and ensure they meet minimum security and student safety standards. So often well-meaning teachers found a new online tool to support their class during the peak of the pandemic and used it to fill a gap. These are often free, full of ads, and send PII data to offshore servers in places like Eastern Europe where privacy may not be a high priority. Or worse, open unforeseen security holes in the school network to allow unauthorized access. 

State and State Integrated schools in New Zealand have free access to both Google Workspace Plus and Microsoft 365, something many Australian educators I spoke with are envious of. Schools need to continue leveraging Google Classroom and Microsoft Teams to support hybrid learning and use classroom technology such as the Jabra Panacast 50 to provide equitable access to students regardless of their geographic location for learning. During the lockdowns, schools used these tools to varying degrees of success and depth. Now is not the time to revert to the ways of teaching pre-2020 and put these toolsets on the shelf. 

Modern management of both school-owned and BYOD devices came up in various conversations, as a simple way to deliver learning ready devices to ākonga at home or school. Schools have realized that old ways of supporting devices don’t work effectively anymore; manually preparing them for teaching and learning, using a gold Windows image, or just leaving students & teachers to add in the tools they need to succeed in the classroom. It just isn’t practical anymore. And again, the platforms from Google and Microsoft to enable this are free to State and State Integrated schools in Aotearoa. Cyclone have delivered many modern management projects over the last few years to support schools adapt and save time & money. 

One interesting topic I found was the lack of desire from several vendors to introduce recyclable packaging and build devices in a more sustainable way. In fact, I had a couple state that in Australia it wasn’t a high priority! This is in stark contrast to here where schools are demanding, and rightly so, to have products in packaging that is planet friendly. We work hard with all our business partners to remove plastic and non-recyclable materials from their products before they arrive in country. And we promote the full lifecycle of device management to reduce cost and recycle or upcycle devices at the end of their life. 

Two years of adaptive practises have left their indelible mark on all of us and will shape the future of education for years to come. What we learn from this period of flux and embed in everyday practise will define the next generation. Technology can bring students closer together and allow them to create content collaboratively. We need to be moving away from the all-too-common content consumption model to one of content creation and allow this collaborative change to organically grow, with appropriate student-safety scaffolding in place. Then we will be preparing life-ready students that are engaged in learning and have the skills to thrive in the communities they live in. 

One of my favourite quotes is from Maya Angelou and seems to be highly relevant to the past couple of years of pandemic and emergency remote learning: 

‘I did then what I knew how to do.  Now that I know better, I do better.’ 

So I ask you – now that you know better, how are you going to do better? 

Subscribe to our newsletter

Subscribe to Cyclone news to keep up to date with new technology, current trends and future thinking.

Aaron Overington
written by our very own

Aaron Overington

Aaron is an IT management veteran with over 20 years experience under his belt, but his passion for technology started even further back in the early days of desktop computing with the ZX Spectrum, the Amiga and the BBC Micro.

Aaron is a key part of the Cyclone team and works as our K-12 Education Strategist we simply know him as a trusted advisor and a safe pair of hands. Aaron takes the time to understand the demands and needs of NZ businesses and schools before developing tailored solutions.

connect with aaron on linkedin