I'm a sixth grade teacher, working in a K-8 school, about 260 students. We're a "Mac school".
Truth in advertising, I love Macs. However, with declining enrollments and a tight economy I have doubts about the sustainability of remaining a Mac school due to the cost of the machines. I also wonder if we need machines that powerful, since we're, slowly, moving in a cloud computing direction.
This summer I acquired a number of used PCs from local vendors for my classroom. The laptops in our wing's mobile lab are so ill-functioning they're not worth the time. Additionally, teachers are increasingly running into scheduling conflicts for the computer lab.
Unfortunately, my administrator won't allow me to use them because he fears viruses, and what content might be on the machines. The machines had no hard drives. I was prepared to purchase and install hard drives. I was planning on running Ubuntu (Linux) on them. Still, no go.
That said, our bookkeeper (in house) uses a PC. Also, our custodian has all information pertaining to the facility on a PC. Most of our school board members run PCs during meetings. Our Assistant Principal uses a Mac and netbook for various tasks. I have a netbook, running Linux, in my classroom. A few staff members run netbooks in the building as well. To my knowledge, there's been no problems with wireless connectivity, viruses, etc.
Recently, I emailed the staff about considering moving from Macs for the following reasons.
* there are netbooks and cheaper refurbished machines that will enable us to put more machines in the hands of more kids
* we're moving in the direction of cloud computing, and don't need machines as powerful as Macs
* there's free, high quality antivirus software that can be installed on the machines.
My school's IT person is against the move for many reasons. Here are a few.
* "you have to spend years in professional development for the staff (learning a new OS)"
* (We'd need to) "increasing the budget or decreasing the present classroom or specials staff and adding another tech person"
* "There are so many other hidden costs as well as other problems."
Would years of PD be needed? Teachers don't need to learn operating systems. They need to learn the applications that run on the operating systems. Would running a new OS interfere with a teacher's understanding of Google Apps, Voicethread, Animoto, etc? I don't see it. As long as the teacher can turn on the machine and click on a web browser I don't see any need for fretting about learning a new OS.
As for the cost, we can buy at least three netbooks for every Mac. That, along with moving much of our computing to the cloud will be where we realize savings.
As for "hidden costs as well as other problems", what might they be?
I've attached copies of my email, and my IT's email for your consideration. Text in black means names (school,people) have been changed.
Any feedback will be greatly appreciated.
Thank you for your time.