Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Single Computing Platform In Education

Many schools and districts have moved towards a single computer platform, i.e. Windows or in some more thoughtful instances, Mac OS . Without denigrating either decision, I would suggest these choices should be driven by the education side of our profession, not the IT side. (Can you imagine a successful company being forced to abandon innovative practices that obviously enhance the product because it's too hard for the IT guys to provide service for that innovation?)

I only bring this up because today during a very excellent math in-service, several PowerPoints were transferred to a Windows platform laptop for presentation. In each case, custom animation effects were lost during the transition. Remember this is Microsoft's software running on Windows XP. And there is an obvious compatability issue.

With all due respect, I feel compelled to point out that throughout daily use of PowerPoint in every classroom in my school for the last three years (where teachers constantly share files through use of disk keys and email), I have yet to hear one example where animation effects were lost on our Apple Powerbooks.

More on this later.
Meanwhile, think about what kind of textbooks we would buy if we only considered price and ease of storage, transport, and labeling. That would sure make it easier for the district warehouse folks, not to mention the clerks that label them. Would we do that?