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Textbooks in schools: a thing of the past?

by david.nunes

Textbooks in schools: a thing of the past?


As the global PC market flattens off and revenue streams become harder to sustain, technology providers are poised for big moves into the education sector. Apple is pushing harder with iPad content platforms such as iTunes for education, and publishing houses like Pearson, McGraw-Hill and Scholastic are experimenting with digital content. Infrastructure is being developed with increased wireless connectivity in schools, while the cloud is making it easier to manage PCs remotely and push out content.


All this activity is pointing the way to a future of PC and tablet-filled classrooms with content delivered over the cloud. A far cry from satchels weighed down with textbooks.


“In the USA, by 2015 nearly one in four children in K-12 education will be using a school or district funded mobile computing device in the classroom,” says Mike Fisher, Convergence and New Technologies Consultant with Futuresource Consulting, “and that equates to annual sales volumes of over four million units.


“At 13% student penetration, the USA currently leads many other developed countries, including the UK (5%), France (3%), Germany (0.3%), Japan (1.7%) and Canada (6%). However, one of the nuances of the education sector is that countries operating with a more centralized funding and decision making model can often develop nationwide rollout plans much easier than the USA, where decisions are made at state or district level. As a result, Portugal (91%), Uruguay (80%), Venezuela (15%) and Argentina (19%) have all successfully implemented large-scale central government managed PC deployments into schools.”


Across the globe, the vote winning power of investment in education, combined with declining prices, is creating a groundswell of market demand from governments – and with nearly 1.4 billion enrolled students and teachers worldwide, this represents a significant opportunity to manufacturers.


“Many large and financially established countries have concentrated on traditional teaching methods and as a consequence their technology adoption in schools has remained relatively low,” says Joe Mugan, Market Analyst, Futuresource Consulting. “The interest is coming from elsewhere: the areas to watch in 2012 include Turkey, Thailand and the Middle East, where multi-billion dollar nationwide tenders are likely to be initiated.”


Futuresource research found that global PC shipments into education exceeded 11 million units in 2011, with a significant amount of activity taking place in Central and South America. With strong expectations of multiple government tenders during 2012 and beyond, Futuresource forecasts indicate large sales volumes across many territories, with global shipments reaching close to 12 million units in 2012, rising to over 40 million units by 2016. Though the installed base will still represent less than 8% global penetration, a number of countries will be close to saturation point.


“Similar to developments in the consumer space, a battleground is emerging in the education sector over who can develop and own the ecosystem,” says Fisher. “This includes hardware, interactivity, storage, content, the learning platform and associated elements, and it’s here within the fully-integrated offering where the war is likely to be won or lost.”



About Futuresource Consulting

Futuresource Consulting is a specialist research and knowledge-based consulting company, providing organisations with insight into education technology, consumer electronics, digital imaging, entertainment media, broadcast, storage media and IT. With a heritage stretching back to the 1980s, the company delivers in-depth analysis and forecasts on a global scale, advising on strategic positioning, market trends, competitive forces and technological developments.



Media Contact:

Andy C Watson

Head of Marketing & PR

Futuresource Consulting

Direct Dial +44 1582 500169




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