My very first trip to a national technology conference was in 2005 when I attended NEC (now known as ISTE) in Philadelphia. I was invited to attend by Discovery Education because I was one of three winners of their “Win a Wireless Laptop” contest. They paid for my airfare and booked me at the Marriott Old City, where my love for the national technology conference, ISTE, was born.
Eighteen years later, I was invited to attend ISTE in Philadelphia again, and – once more – I booked lodging at the Marriott Old City. I’d like to say that I remembered that hotel was the same hotel where I stayed in 2005, but that would be untrue. It wasn’t until I walked into the hotel to check in that the memory resurfaced. Looking around in the lobby, I could see that the hotel had changed a little – the décor was updated, and the flooring had changed. But the layout of the lobby was exactly as I remembered. When I opened the door to my room, though, I realized just how much had changed in 18 years. New bedding, flooring, tiling, technology…everything was updated and very different.
I have that same feeling about technology then and now. Everything is updated and very different.
Back in 2005, at the NEC conference, I first learned about Moodle, an early learning management system that ran on an internal server. I was astounded and returned to my district, hired a new network administrator, and gave him his first task of setting up Moodle so I could introduce our teachers to a learning management system. Compare that experience to this year’s hot ISTE topics – cybersecurity, interoperability, and digital identity – and we find that everyone is concerned about safe access and productive digital environments, both inside and outside of a district’s network. My how times have changed!
My invitation to attend ISTE this year was extended by Identity Automation (IA), a powerful identity and access management (IAM) solution, and I was fortunate to join IA employees in their vendor booth. Some might question my use of the word “fortunate” in this scenario because standing for hours in a booth may not be everyone’s ideal conference activity. But I love it. Really love it. I love it because I can talk to technology directors, network administrators, supervisors, and district leaders to share my 20+ years of experience working in the world of K-12 technology. Hearing real-world scenarios from CIOs who struggle with the security of their digital environments, while trying to provide a perimeter-less and safe environment in their networks, gives me a chance to sympathize but also explain attainable solutions using Identity Automation’s Identity and Access Management (IAM) platform.
Today, IAM solutions are essential for K-12 districts to prioritize the safety, productivity, and user-centric outcomes of students, teachers, staff, parents, and district leadership. IAM platforms offer a comprehensive framework for secure access management through authentication, authorization, user management, and central user repositories. By investing in true identity and access management, districts ensure a safe and productive digital environment, foster collaboration, and drive positive educational outcomes.
Yes, the technology landscape is really different from my first attendance at NEC/ISTE, but one thing remains the same…change. That’s right; change is life’s only constant. The best way we can guarantee a safe expansion of technology is to build upon our foundation of safekeeping, and always keep in mind that the goal of every IT staff member is security of and productivity for digital identities, without inhibiting access to legitimate learning and administrative tools.
Like my walking into that hotel lobby 18 years later, we all should approach the ever-changing technological landscape with an insatiable curiosity, balanced by subtle recognition that “we’ve been here before,” and with IAM solutions, we can rest assured that where we’re going is much safer than where we’ve been.