With many industry experts stating that the future of technology in education lies with the user, Consumerisation of IT (COIT) is now firmly on the radars on both suppliers, such as Microsoft, and the institutions we passionately serve.

COIT is not without its challenges, though, and the definitive answer to making COIT palatable for both users and the providers of IT within schools, colleges and universities is not a clear cut one.

While students, especially those within FE and HE, want to bring their own devices on campus and use them to connect to their institutions network and systems, there is still a need to offer physical machines on campus. This hybrid approach will no doubt be a reality for some time yet.

Despite this, there is clearly a requirement from the users of technology to have more flexibility in when and how they use a mix of personal and institutional devices to carry out their studies, and it’s the industry and IT professionals responsibility, working together, to make this a reality.

Locking down systems and preventing access is no longer realistic, particularly at a time when HE students, in particular, are demanding more from their learning experience.

Furthermore, with the budget cuts being realised across the sector, COIT offers potential cost saving benefits that educations leaders will find hard to ignore.

It is, therefore, all of our responsibilities to embrace more of a can do attitude towards COIT and discover and embrace solutions that students so passionately require, while also maintaining the security of the institutions core networks and systems.

The ultimate answer is going to require a mix of cultural change and technology solutions, of which the vast majority is already available.

The cloud, combined with client based software, offer flexibility and choice regardless of the platform used by the institutions learners. Furthermore, with the enhancements in virtualisation technologies, such as App-V, it is now possible to easily recreate institutional environments across Windows, Apple, Linux and mobile platforms, such as IOS and Android.

Furthermore, a pure-play web solution, using HTML5, also offers a highly elegant option for IT professionals to offer apps to their wide range of users in a highly feature rich and secure environment.

Ultimately, the technology is available now to make COIT a practical reality for all institutions. Cultural change is, however, needed to make this truly possible. Only with these two elements in place, are we going to see the COIT available to all.

To help further address the topic of Consumerisation of IT in Education, we have produced paper that offers some advice on how institutions can embrace COIT. The document is available on our SlideShare account. The document is also embedded below.

Let us know what you think in the comments below. Alternatively, join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #coit.

Tim