Research Hub > CDW's 2022-23 K12 Buying Guide

August 17, 2022

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10 min

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.

What's Inside

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 As schools look to replace their outdated equipment price point should not be the only criteria considered before purchasing a display.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:

  1. 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.

  2. Training: For impactful ROI, teachers need to maximize its use. Do you have the IT manpower available to achieve buy-in?

  3. 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.

The value-focused ActivPanel Nickel interactive display is designed to provide teachers with everything they need straight out of the box. Internet-ready and preloaded with teaching tools, the ActivPanel Nickel is a long-term, reliable solution for schools looking to replace outdated whiteboard systems with an easy-to-use and highly capable interactive display.

This gives you protection against firmware-level cyberattacks and remote management tools for IT administrators like Intel Active Management Technology for fixing infected devices remotely, even when the device is off or the OS is unresponsive. The ThinkPad T14 gives both end users and IT admins something to smile about.

arrow Quick Tech Specs
  • Model U86-NA-1
  • Interactive touchscreen (multi touch)
  • Built-in interactive whiteboard
  • 86" Diagonal Class LED-backlit LCD display
  • 4K UHD (2160p) 3840 x 2160

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.

Remote control unit for SCMAA1 - Merlyn Mind Symphony Classroom. Give teachers the freedom to teach with Symphony Classroom, the AI classroom hub which combines hardware, AI services, and software to support teachers in their classrooms through Merlyn, the world’s first digital assistant for teachers.

This gives you protection against firmware-level cyberattacks and remote management tools for IT administrators like Intel Active Management Technology for fixing infected devices remotely, even when the device is off or the OS is unresponsive. The ThinkPad T14 gives both end users and IT admins something to smile about.

arrow Quick Tech Specs
  • Remote control for SCMAA1
  • Voice remote with push-to-talk
  • Gyroscope-based air mouse
  • Scroll; select; media controls
  • Wrist lanyard
  • "Find my remote" feature with built-in buzzer
  • Limited 1-year warranty

Merlyn Mind Symphony Classroom AI Enabled Hub

Merlyn Mind Symphony Classroom AI Enabled hub

Give teachers the freedom to teach with Symphony Classroom, an AI appliance which combines hardware, AI services, and software to support teachers in their classrooms. This unique solution features Merlyn, the world's first digital assistant for education, and was designed to help teachers navigate all of the technology in their classrooms seamlessly and naturally, removing friction and frustration.

arrow Quick Tech Specs
  • Ultrawide ceramic stereo audio @ 92 dB SPL
  • Far-field microphone array
  • Merlyn digital assistant for teachers
  • Hexacore ARM Mali-G52-MP4 GPU
  • Remote control included

3. Instructional Studios

The all-in-one Logitech BCC950 ConferenceCam sets up quickly and easily at an office desk or on a conference table. HD video and crystal-clear audio combine high quality with high value.

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.

It combines HD 1080p 30fps video with high-quality full-duplex speakerphone clarity for business-grade video conferencing. UVC H. 264 onboard technology helps ensure quick Plug-and-Play functionality on both PCs and Macs - no software to install. The built-in, full duplex speakerphone and noise-canceling microphone allow all meeting members to hear and be heard clearly up to 8 feet away from the base.

This gives you protection against firmware-level cyberattacks and remote management tools for IT administrators like Intel Active Management Technology for fixing infected devices remotely, even when the device is off or the OS is unresponsive. The ThinkPad T14 gives both end users and IT admins something to smile about.

arrow Quick Tech Specs
  • Webcam
  • Color
  • Audio
  • H.264
  • PTZ
  • 1920 x 1080
  • USB 2.0

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.

Get an alert sure to spur immediate action. The light source consists of eight super-bright LEDs. Siren sounds at 100 ± 3 dB at 100 cm. Plug-and-play installation. Supports maximum cable runs of up to 1000 feet (304.8 m). For details contact our FREE Tech Support. Can be triggered by any other sensor connected to an AlertWerks ServSensor hub.

This gives you protection against firmware-level cyberattacks and remote management tools for IT administrators like Intel Active Management Technology for fixing infected devices remotely, even when the device is off or the OS is unresponsive. The ThinkPad T14 gives both end users and IT admins something to smile about.

arrow Quick Tech Specs
  • Security alarm
  • EME106A
  • EME111A-20
  • EME134A
  • EME155A
  • for P/N: EME105A
  • EME110A
  • EME129A-20
  • EME134A-R2

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.

The VIVE® Pro 2 supports 5K resolutions, allowing you to experience virtual reality programs with high clarity and visual quality. It is a good choice for entertainment at home or as part of a setup at a gaming convention or Esports venue. With a 120° field of vision, the HTC® VIVE Pro 2 virtual reality headset allows you to see comfortably. You can also adjust the interpupillary distance to make the device more comfortable to look through without eye strain.

The ergonomic construction of the VIVE 3D headset can fit a wide range of head sizes and allows for increased comfort, even when wearing it for long periods of time. It features Hi-Res certified headphones that make the audio highly immersive as you play. The PC VR headset includes a power adapter to charge it for long-term use and extended play times.

This gives you protection against firmware-level cyberattacks and remote management tools for IT administrators like Intel Active Management Technology for fixing infected devices remotely, even when the device is off or the OS is unresponsive. The ThinkPad T14 gives both end users and IT admins something to smile about.

arrow Quick Tech Specs
  • Includes all-in-one cable
  • 2 adapters
  • Lens protection card
  • Display port cable
  • 5K resolutions
  • Adjustable interpupillary distance
  • Link box
  • Lens cleaning cloth
  • Ear Caps
  • Super Speed USB cable
  • 120° field of view

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.

Portable solution when on the go.

This gives you protection against firmware-level cyberattacks and remote management tools for IT administrators like Intel Active Management Technology for fixing infected devices remotely, even when the device is off or the OS is unresponsive. The ThinkPad T14 gives both end users and IT admins something to smile about.

arrow Quick Tech Specs
  • Video production system
  • 4K resolution
  • PTZ camera control
  • Wave form monitoring

7. Esports

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.

Take your gaming to the next level with Logitech G335 Wired Gaming Headset. These gaming headphones are lightweight and use a suspension headband design to help distribute weight and relieve pressure points. The elastic headband is adjustable and reversible for a customized look and fit.

Soft memory foam ear cups and sports mesh material allow for long-lasting comfort, so you don't have to pause the game. G335 is easy to set up. Simply plug into your game with the 3.5 mm audio jack directly into your PC, laptop, gaming console/controller, or mobile device.

The G335 gaming headset with mic is a versatile gaming companion. Easily control the volume or adjust the the microphone to fit all of your gaming needs. The colorful G335 headset is a smaller, lighter version of the award-winning G733 wireless gaming headset. G335 is even Discord Certified and available in a range of colors to fit your individual style.

This gives you protection against firmware-level cyberattacks and remote management tools for IT administrators like Intel Active Management Technology for fixing infected devices remotely, even when the device is off or the OS is unresponsive. The ThinkPad T14 gives both end users and IT admins something to smile about.

arrow Quick Tech Specs
  • Wired headset
  • Black color
  • Full size
  • 3.5 mm jack
  • Discord certified
  • Flip-to-mute volume
  • Headset microphone
  • Limited 1-year warranty

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.

The HP® Chromebook™ x360 11 G3 Education Edition Laptop is slim and light, weighing just 3.19 lbs. It features a robust build with Intel® Celeron® N4020 and Intel UHD graphics to handle light tasks fast. Its 4 GB RAM allows users to run multiple applications or open many tabs when multitasking. With 32 GB eMMC storage, this Chromebook enables speedy access to files for fast boot and read and write operations. This HP flip screen laptop is highly portable with an 11.6-inch full high definition touchscreen with wide viewing angles. Its display can reach up to 220 nits brightness to provide comfortable visibility in areas with natural light.

Users can attend and interact in classes remotely thanks to the front-facing camera, clear speakers and a headphone/mic combo jack to connect with wired earphones and headphones. This laptop has a microSD™ slot and ports include 2 USB-C® with DisplayPort™ and charging and 2 USB 3.1 Gen 1. It supports wireless connectivity through Wi-Fi® and Bluetooth® and its 47-watt hour battery can last up to 13 hours. This Chrome OS™ laptop also comes with HP Classroom Manager.

This gives you protection against firmware-level cyberattacks and remote management tools for IT administrators like Intel Active Management Technology for fixing infected devices remotely, even when the device is off or the OS is unresponsive. The ThinkPad T14 gives both end users and IT admins something to smile about.

arrow Quick Tech Specs
  • Education edition
  • Touchscreen
  • Celeron N4020 / 1.1 GHz
  • 32 GB eMMC
  • 2-cell lithium polymer battery
  • 2-in-one laptop
  • HP 1-year limited warranty
  • Includes USB-C charger
  • Full HD
  • 4 GB RAM
  • 11.6"
  • Up to 13 hours run time
  • Chrome OS
  • 90 days technical support

9. Services

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.

Is your institution looking for powerful new technologies to create more agile, versatile, and effective learning environments in the classroom? As schools embrace technology to empower a modern learning model,. computers are now an essential tool for teaching and learning. CDW's Education Services not only helps schools create a productive environment to support both classrooms and remote learning, but can also support your institution from a network, training, security, and cost-optimization perspective. 

This gives you protection against firmware-level cyberattacks and remote management tools for IT administrators like Intel Active Management Technology for fixing infected devices remotely, even when the device is off or the OS is unresponsive. The ThinkPad T14 gives both end users and IT admins something to smile about.