Large Format Displays
Whiteboards, flat panel displays, smartboards, projectors
Furniture, sit-stand desks, AI LMS, digital assistants, etc.
Webcams, document cameras, microphones, etc.
Surveillance cameras, smart locks, asset tags, etc.
STEM and Extended Reality
3D printers, AR/VR, robotics
4K monitors, green screens, graphics cards, etc.
Gaming chairs, headsets, towers
Assistive technologies, adaptive furniture, Chromebooks
Professional Services, SaaS, DaaS, asset management
August 17, 2022
CDW's 2022-23 K12 Buying Guide
Use this buying guide as a cheat sheet to cram in those last tidbits of tech—from hardware and software to managed or professional services—to launch into the 2022-23 school year with some of the most popular Edtech K12 tools available.
School is back in session. Do you have what you need to make a difference?
There is no doubt your IT staff, tech integrationists and educators have spent the entire spring and summer gearing up for the 2022-23 school year. However, there is always the possibility that you’ve overlooked a piece of necessary equipment for a certain specialty class, an administrator’s pilot initiative or simply legacy and broken equipment that should be retired.
Whether you know exactly what is missing from your outfit, or you’re uncertain and curious about what others are buying and the surprises that might present themselves this year, use this buying guide as a cheat sheet to launch into a stellar school year with some of the most popular tech tools available.
1. Large Format Displays
Large format displays, or LFDs, go by many different names: Interactive whiteboards, flat panel displays, smartboards and projectors. There are many types of large format displays and school districts have a need for them all, including for stadium gridwall signage, front-of-classrooms and conference rooms, table displays in STEM labs—the list goes on. As schools look to replace their outdated equipment price point should not be the only criteria considered before purchasing a display. Here are three things to keep in mind:
- Operating System: Will your Interactive Display work with the classroom management tool your district is using? If not, you may find it difficult to connect wirelessly.
- Training: For impactful ROI, teachers need to maximize its use. Do you have the IT manpower available to achieve buy-in?
- Bandwidth: When it comes to 4K displays, schools should consider if they will have enough network bandwidth, as the amount of data being transferred increases significantly with 4K.
2. Classroom Management
The true measure of a good teacher is not necessarily how well their students do on standardized tests, but how engaged their students are and whether they are able to retain and connect the lessons to real world applications. Succeeding in this can hinge on an educator’s classroom set up, including:
Furniture: Picking the right furniture and layout is an important way to streamline class transitions and reduce unwanted behavior. CDW offers Blueprint to Design®, which involves a dedicated school design engineer creating a 2D color renderings to help educators figure out the best classroom design for their space. You can start that process here, but in the meantime there are more immediate ways to assist teachers. A teacher that stands and manages the class by walking around (MBWA) the class (also called proximity control) can pre-empt disruptions, but that can be tiring and difficult. An anti-fatigue floormat can reduce or lessen the risk of lower-back and joint pain, heart disease and varicose veins.
Device and Software Management: Between 30 student devices, a smart board or projector, and any number of other peripherals, navigating classroom technology can be daunting. Fortunately, there are AI platforms like Symphony Classroom, which integrates with the devices and applications teachers already use. Additionally, Symphony’s digital assistant Merlyn Mind responds to teacher commands via a remote control that connects from anywhere in the classroom, making the transition from one tool to another seamless. Additionally, device cart storage solutions, not only keep devices safe, but also charged and ready when students need them. This helps teachers stay on schedule.
Data: Data analysis tools like the GoGuardian suite is not just useful for ensuring that all 30 device-enabled students are focusing on the same class assignment. It can also help with building personalized learning curricula and mental health by tracking a student’s progress and performance by alerting teachers when a student is falling behind in a lesson or struggling with self-harm.
3. Instructional Studios
Instructional studios can be used in many different scenarios: by teachers producing videos and podcasts for flipped classrooms, as a huddle room for students working on team projects or for administrators looking to stream content to teachers across multiple classrooms or schools.
The days of being tethered to a laptop are gone. Now, presenters are free to move around when using webcams like Logitech’s BCC950 ConferenceCam, which is equipped with PTZ (Pan, Tilt, Zoom), auto focus, and crisp, noise-cancelling microphones. The fear that their audiences won’t hear their audio or see the notes they’ve written is no longer a concern. Bluetooth pens on multipoint touchscreens like Microsoft’s Surface Hub are perfect mediums for extemporaneous calculations, while document cameras can zoom in to reference prepared printouts.
4. Physical Security
Physical security enhancements in schools remain a priority for all communities in 2022. PTZ cameras, smart door locks, alarm systems, device asset tags and device cabinets can provide peace of mind to parents and staff, secure the tech investments you made, and act as a deterrent to thieves and targeted violence.
5. STEM and Extended Reality
Your learners don’t need to aspire to work as scientists, engineers, or software designers to benefit from STEM and Emerging Technologies. Extended reality headsets, STEM curriculum, 3D printers, and AR/VR systems invite opportunities for problem solving, which enhance creativity and critical thinking skills. The HTC® VIVE Pro 2 virtual reality headset has a 120° field of vision and the interpupillary distance can be adjusted for students of all ages to see comfortably without eye strain.
MakerBot’s cloud-based, Sketch classroom, has a dual printer set up and ISTE-Certified self-paced 3D printer training for both teachers and students with 600+ certified lesson plans from educators across the country via TinkerCad & Fusion 360.
6. Audio/Visual Production
If training students to be creators and not just consumers is the goal, then institutions should look to build dynamic video production studios to showcase student theater, exhibit STEM demonstrations, and instruct users how to animate objects, or polish their art using Adobe Photoshop or Premiere Elements software. We’re not just talking about cameras. Green screens, graphic cards, powerful processors, and 4K monitors will be instrumental to pulling off a Hollywood-quality media production room.
For schools across the country, there is no denying the allure of esports given proof that participation in esports develops college and career readiness in addition to soft skills like teamwork, sportsmanship, leadership and strategic thinking. But while most schools are standardly equipped with gymnasiums for basketball and volleyball teams or theaters for drama clubs, most schools don’t have a competitive gaming arena. In districts where schools compete for the top students, an esports lounge with curved monitors, neon-hued computing towers housing accelerated Nvidia graphics cards and other gaming peripherals might draw high-caliber learners, who are often overlooked when judged by traditional academic criteria.
8. Learning Accommodations
In 2022, during the age of personalized learning, teachers are more adept at mainstreaming students who need accommodations into the greater classroom community. Technology plays an important role in that process. Assistive technologies like built-in screen readers, screen magnifiers, text-to-speech or dictation software, and Braille keyboards, help low-vision or blind students, and those with dyslexia exercise assert their independence in the class environment. For example, ChromeVox, Chromebook’s built-in screen reader, makes the computer speak every time a visually impaired person moves their focus by using their mouse or keyboard. Simple memory aids, timers, sit-stand desks, exercise balls and other flexible furniture can aide students with impulsivity, mobility challenges, or ADHD. Finally, developing tech skills can be a game changer when it comes to expanding career options for students with disabilities.
Building, securing and sustaining a robust and holistic tech infrastructure can be overwhelming, especially amidst tech worker talent gaps and teacher shortages. This buyers guide doesn’t even touch on networking and infrastructure needs. Between restocking printer toner, refreshing your media center, and maintaining license compliance for software subscriptions, the job of your IT staff is never ending. Also keep in mind that when integrating multiple brands, platforms, software and curricula, plug-and-play is rarely a reality.
CDW•G provides support for teachers, principals, technology integrationists, district CTOs and everyone in between. CDW experts and our partners are equipped to work side-by-side in your school to assess your pain points, select the right solutions for your students and teachers, and then provide configuration and implementation support. Tap into CDW’s managed services portfolio for professional development services, software-as-a-service, device-as-a-service and an array of other services and solutions to enhance your institution.