As students move through different phases of their education, the shape of their learning spaces changes. Young students see brightly-colored bookshelves and reading areas, where middle school students have lab tablets and desktop computers. Just as the atmosphere in the classroom changes to suit the students’ age and learning requirements, the technology in the classroom also has to accommodate the learning requirements of that age group.

According to a survey from Front Row Education, elementary school students mainly use iPads whereas middle school students are using Chromebooks. But what happens when students bring iPads into a room designed to work with Chromebooks? How does a school future-proof its classroom technology?

The Power of Interoperability: Use and Budget

The technology in the classroom has to be interoperable as students pass into different grades and their personal technology evolves. This is essential to meeting the needs of students in different phases of learning and to ensuring that the classroom technology is a worthy investment of tight school budgets.

As new technology is available and students’ personal device preferences evolve as they grow, classrooms need to be able to adapt. Costly equipment could be virtually unusable if the students’ devices are incompatible, and schools don’t often have the budget to purchase new systems every few years—to future-proof the classroom for whatever technology students prefer to use, schools can’t afford to bet on predictions about the winner of the battle for the classroom and if it will be Windows, Google or Apple.

Identifying the Components of a Great Technology System

1. An education technology system should be able to work with any device or platform so students and teachers aren’t limited to what and how they can share content now and in the future.

(Next page: 4 more components of a great technology system)