“A task force is being recruited to wean Community Unit School District 300 [located approximately 40 miles northwest of Chicago] off Macintosh computers for more ‘appropriate technology,'” Jeanne Hovanec reports for The Courier News.
Hovanec reports, “Spearheaded by Eric Willard, the district’s new director of technology, the Platform Transition Task Force will begin meeting in January to develop implementation of the districtwide change. Willard, shortly after beginning his position in April, decided to phase out the district’s use of Macintosh computers and focus on Microsoft’s Windows Operating System and Lenox Softworks’ open source systems.”
MacDailyNews Note: Lenox Softworks: http://www.lsw.com/solutions/elearning.html
Hovanec continues, “Willard said he decided on the new platform because most people use Microsoft programs in ‘the real world,’ and open source systems provide a way for the district to keep students from downloading items such as music and movies onto the school’s computer hard drives — items that, ultimately, cost the district to delete.”
“‘We will have a challenging time at the high school level taking away the Macs,’ Willard said. ‘The task force has to develop an implementation that takes into consideration the emotion involved. For some reason, people have heard about this, and some are very passionate about Macintosh computers.’ Currently, the district has about 3,000 Macintosh computers in use, in addition to 1,500 Windows computers. Willard said the average age for the Macintosh computers is 8 years,” Hovanec reports.
Hovanec reports, “A referendum proposal that voters approved in March allowed for the district to revamp its technology and purchase new Macintosh computers this school year, but Willard does not know how many. ‘We just bought Macs; we can’t throw them out,’ Willard said. ‘We can’t just change everything over tomorrow. It will probably be a three- to five-year process.'”
Hovanec reports, “Willard said the approximately $733,000 allocated in the district’s 2007 budget for technology-related expenses — such as equipment, software and supplies — will not be altered. He is quick to point out that the cash flow coming into the district is being tied up by the heavy construction going on with the three new schools being built. He said there actually is no money to purchase new computers for that budget year. ‘Now is a good time to stop and plan for this properly,’ he said. ‘You have to do the right thing with the taxpayers’ money.'”
“In making the transition, Willard said the district will incorporate the use of Macintosh computers but keep them in a concentrated area, such as only in middle or elementary buildings. He said the district currently has ‘support problems’ because Windows and Macintosh computers are scattered throughout the schools,” Hovanec reports.
Full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: Is someone going to inform this genius that Apple Macs can run both Mac OS X and Windows (and Linux, for that matter) and that his “support problems” would evaporate if he phased out the Windows dreck in favor of Macs, but not vice versa? Don’t blame 8-year-old Macs, blame your district’s inability to keep current technology in the hands of students. We wonder if they have any 8-year-old Windows machines that are still functioning? And most people use Microsoft programs in “the real world?” What, like Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint)? They make a Mac version of Office, Mr. Willard. That this doofus is a “director of technology” tells you just about all you need to know about the sorry state of most U.S. public school systems.
Dr. Kenneth Arndt – Superintendent: firstname.lastname@example.org
Eric Willard – Director of Technology: email@example.com
The District 300 Board of Education will hold a Public Board Meeting on Tuesday, January 9, 2007 at 7:30 p.m. at the Lakewood School.
Public meetings calendar: http://www.d300.org/cgi-bin/webevent.cgi?cmd=opencal&cal=cal17&
Contact the District 300 Board of Education: http://www.d300.org/cms/html/comments.php
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