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How do you do....it? Thread, Discussion on IT in Education (Tablets, Mac, Win, *nix, Chromebooks, etc.) in Technical; This thread is an offshoot from another thread that started to go off topic and deserved it's own thread because ...
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    seawolf's Avatar
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    Discussion on IT in Education (Tablets, Mac, Win, *nix, Chromebooks, etc.)

    This thread is an offshoot from another thread that started to go off topic and deserved it's own thread because its a valid discussion and not just an and/or situation. An extract of a couple of posts that are the starting point for this thread are below:

    Yes, it has gotten a bit off topic, but I believe the original question was answered. And, since you've added an opinion I'll make one last "off topic" comment in response.

    I also have not seen a mass stampeded to buy macs especially in business, they are still not the biggest worldwide (no usa only stats, we are a big world) by a long shot. I dont suddenly see everyone I know with a mac, nor do I find a mass wanting to get one (excluding iDevices) and when people see the price it doesnt even get a starting foot when they can buy tablets/laptops for less. Business especially struggles to justify mac's unless they are very aware of a clear benefit.
    You've certainly made a valid observation about business in general. Many businesses are still running XP or will run Win 7 for the next decade and are largely stuck on Windows whether they like it or not due to legacy software or Windows-only software solutions for their industry. On the other hand, the world of Education is changing extremely rapidly. Last year at the National Education Conference in Sydney I scanned the Wifi network to see what devices people were using. I was amazed. Out of the 650+ people on the network at the conference (mostly teachers) over 80% were using either iPads or Macbooks. During one of the keynotes about the future of DER funding and BYOD in schools the presenter asked for a show of hands from the audience regarding how many of them were using their own device and not the one they were issued by their school. The majority raised their hands. That means that when given a choice, most of the teachers in the room from public and private schools across the nation were choosing to use iPads or Macs.

    Now, as an IT Manager in the Education industry that means I and many other schools had best be prepared to support and integrate these devices and not do it kicking and screaming or else we will all be gone. I know a couple of schools where this has already happened. IT people in the education industry in Australia must be prepared and capable of changing or they had best go get a job at a bank where they will still be using Windows 7 in 2030. Get prepared and re-skilled for it, or it will be time to move to another industry or career. At least in this country.

    BTW - "AppleTalk" has been dead for a while. AFP is not AppleTalk and it has some advantages over SMB (metadata and search) that will hopefully be added to SMB in the future. Also, NTFS and SMB aren't the same thing. Only Windows runs on NTFS and there are free or cheap solutions to allow Macs to write to NTFS (NTFS-3G) and PCs to write to HFS+. If Apple were to change it's file system I would hope they would move to ZFS or a similar modern, robust file system rather than NTFS! It would be fantastic if all vendors could decide on a standard file system such as ZFS or an open source equivalent, but I'm not going to hold my breath!


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    Originally Posted by seawolf
    Many businesses are still running XP or will run Win 7 for the next decade and are largely stuck on Windows whether they like it or not due to legacy software or Windows-only software solutions for their industry.
    That implies business's want to move, they actually dont move unless there is a definitive need with a proven benefit. This is an attitude that all should take especially in schools where budgets are tight. Business should be learned from, not shunned as slow/stuck etc. Plenty of schools are focusing far far far too much on technology especially since I know quite a few already had good tech in place with projectors etc and computers everywhere, staff just didnt use it.

    Originally Posted by seawolf
    On the other hand, the world of Education is changing extremely rapidly.
    The way teachers teach is changing, not masses of curriculum, its not like maths suddenly took a great leap in schools although there are techniques to help but all at a cost. I think a great many need to slow the pace a little and actually take stock of the benefits for the huge costs of implementing something in a hurry. I have seen schools spend 400,000 on ipad's and wifi without ever considering how it will be used or how it will work, no one objects to having money spent on them. This is before we get to poor schools who bought the ipad 1 to find apple ending support 2 years later (laptops for a similar cost ran for 4-5 years) with iOS 6. Countless projects have wasted cash because of the urgency to keep up with the jones's today rather then actually finding out how they will use it with their pupils. The kit arrives and the staff lose interest or it becomes a personal device where no work is done and they really just wanted the perk because they weren't paying.
    I am not saying progress is bad, or even that ipad is necessarily bad, but when no one really does the due diligence and purchases ipads so a teacher can give the class an "internet browsing lesson" the value needs to be measured especially with the lesson plan.
    When it comes to older pupils (12+) I really start to struggle to see why a school would give each an ipad, sure its nice but will we see smarter kids, no one knows as its still only VERY early days with all these things and thats why we need to slow down a bit. ipads were not around when I was a kid but we didnt all end up thick, its not to say lessons couldnt have been more interesting, its just we shouldnt all buy in so quickly. If you take 2 years to evaluate the uses in different departments those kids who went through the school without ipads will be fine (not thick) and the risk for the school is greatly reduced as well as allowing time for staff to train and get up to speed on if they want to use it themselves.
    The one saving grace of ipad's and tablets is now teachers are actually a bit happier to learn about how they could have used technology in their classroom for the last 10 years. We had some amazing kit for teachers rolled out at great expense but it didnt *inspire* (did I really just write that...) them to use it so it was wasted and rolled out in haste without actually taking a minute to find out who would use it and when.


    Originally Posted by seawolf
    Last year at the National Education Conference in Sydney I scanned the Wifi network to see what devices people were using. I was amazed. Out of the 650+ people on the network at the conference (mostly teachers) over 80% were using either iPads or Macbooks. During one of the keynotes about the future of DER funding and BYOD in schools the presenter asked for a show of hands from the audience regarding how many of them were using their own device and not the one they were issued by their school. The majority raised their hands. That means that when given a choice, most of the teachers in the room from public and private schools across the nation were choosing to use iPads or Macs.
    The devil is in the detail, a few questions that should be asked (the teachers) to find out the exactly whats going on, I am not expecting you to know off hand, its more food for thought.
    Did all those teachers have supplied laptops/tablets but chose to use their own (I dont know if you have a laptop for teachers program etc out there) or did they take their own kit because there is no supplied kit or its out of date? (budgets)
    Did the school provided solution fail to meet there needs and how?
    Without knowing its hard to draw any conclusion from that data tbh but I know you were not making a hard case with the data. I wonder what I would find at the EduGeek conference
    I dont want us to keep looping around the points as such but I am not against ipads and mac's or any technology as long as it will be used properly by the teacher, when they cant tell you exactly how they would use it over and above what they have (thinking of schools where computers are in every room with interactive whiteboards and projectors on mass and the teachers answer is I can browse while the projector is on) things need to be slowed down and reevaluated before moving forward.

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    That implies business's want to move, they actually dont move unless there is a definitive need with a proven benefit. This is an attitude that all should take especially in schools where budgets are tight. Business should be learned from, not shunned as slow/stuck etc. Plenty of schools are focusing far far far too much on technology especially since I know quite a few already had good tech in place with projectors etc and computers everywhere, staff just didnt use it. The way teachers teach is changing, not masses of curriculum, its not like maths suddenly took a great leap in schools although there are techniques to help but all at a cost.
    Actually, I don't believe most business's do want to move, but even if they wanted to many would be hindered due to legacy systems. The reality is that most businesses do not care about innovation unless they have a competitor who is innovating them out of business or eating into their market share or profit share of the market. Businesss are perfectly content as long as they can provide the product or services they are selling and make money doing it. Even if they could make more money or profits by being innovative or using technology in a better way many would not do so because change is seen as risky, risk is bad, and then if it's technology it's just considered all too hard.

    Schools on the other hand are not a business, and Education is not a product and it's not (shouldn't be) even a service in the traditional business sense. Whereas once it was about turning out people who could mostly fill the agricultural or manufacturing jobs of the Industrial Age, Modern education is a dynamic, ever changing experiment on the best way to engage, encourage, and inspire students to become life-long learners. Teachers are changing the way they teach as a reflection of that and what is mostly allowing them to change it are the advances in technology.

    I think a great many need to slow the pace a little and actually take stock of the benefits for the huge costs of implementing something in a hurry. I have seen schools spend 400,000 on ipad's and wifi without ever considering how it will be used or how it will work, no one objects to having money spent on them.
    No objection to that, but what must also be considered is the cost of keeping the status quo. People often forget that there is a real cost to sticking with what has always been done. Both financially and in opportunity costs. Things must be evaluated, but analysis paralysis is a real risk if it goes too far. The best way to evaluate is not to engage in some lengthy costly study, but to set objectives for a program and run it as a pilot in a few classes or schools and then evaluate the outcomes against objectives (and allow for the unexpected positive outcomes that couldn't even be forseen).

    This is before we get to poor schools who bought the ipad 1 to find apple ending support 2 years later (laptops for a similar cost ran for 4-5 years) with iOS 6.
    We still use our iPad 1's every day. They still run almost all of the software and are no more obsolete than a three year old laptop. Now, if a school just decided they were useless because they wouldn't run iOS 6 - now that would be a silly waste of money. But, it's not reality. We'll see what happens with the Surface RT in particular that Microsoft are flogging off so cheaply at the moment. The jury is still out on whether those will be a waste of money. But, the jury's still out. It may go well for those schools who bite.


    I am not saying progress is bad, or even that ipad is necessarily bad, but when no one really does the due diligence and purchases ipads so a teacher can give the class an "internet browsing lesson" the value needs to be measured especially with the lesson plan...If you take 2 years to evaluate the uses in different departments those kids who went through the school without ipads will be fine (not thick) and the risk for the school is greatly reduced as well as allowing time for staff to train and get up to speed on if they want to use it themselves.
    I agree that things must be implemented in an orderly manner and phased in. That is what we did here. We first purchased 28 iPads and a trolley that could be checked out from the library. That went very well and then 6 months later we purchased iPads for all of the teachers to be issued. They then had 12 months with their own personal iPad before we introduced an iPad program at the school (1-to-1) for one year level. Next year it will be two year levels (and iPads in primary) and the year after that three with 1-to-1 and a BYOD program for everyone else.

    The one saving grace of ipad's and tablets is now teachers are actually a bit happier to learn about how they could have used technology in their classroom for the last 10 years. We had some amazing kit for teachers rolled out at great expense but it didnt *inspire* (did I really just write that...) them to use it so it was wasted and rolled out in haste without actually taking a minute to find out who would use it and when.
    Do you know why most teachers aren't "inspired" about the existing technology in their classrooms? Because in most cases the systems and software (and the way they work such as managed printing, Group Policies, etc.) used are straight from the business world. And, most teachers have never worked in the business world and are not familiar with this being the "norm". Most of the teachers that do know how to use those systems only know this from rote and not from actually understanding what they are doing. Therefore, they find it difficult to be "innovative" or integrate the technology into the classrooms other writing reports in Word, editing a video in Movie Maker, or creating a presentation in PowerPoint. Beyond that and a few educational websites or web apps, they don't get used much. So, that "amazing kit" wasn't so amazing to them or if it were they just weren't shown what could be done with it in the classroom.


    The devil is in the detail, a few questions that should be asked (the teachers) to find out the exactly whats going on, I am not expecting you to know off hand, its more food for thought.
    Did all those teachers have supplied laptops/tablets but chose to use their own (I dont know if you have a laptop for teachers program etc out there) or did they take their own kit because there is no supplied kit or its out of date? (budgets)
    Did the school provided solution fail to meet there needs and how?
    Without knowing its hard to draw any conclusion from that data tbh but I know you were not making a hard case with the data. I wonder what I would find at the EduGeek conference
    I dont want us to keep looping around the points as such but I am not against ipads and mac's or any technology as long as it will be used properly by the teacher, when they cant tell you exactly how they would use it over and above what they have (thinking of schools where computers are in every room with interactive whiteboards and projectors on mass and the teachers answer is I can browse while the projector is on) things need to be slowed down and reevaluated before moving forward.
    Many (not all) of the schools do issue teachers with laptops. My observation wasn't hard data, but it is indicative of a what I believe is a profound change occurring in the technology used in Education at least in Australia. Unfortunately, I find that a lot of the opinions on iPads, etc. that I see from Sys Admins at more "traditional" IT schools is the hint of anxiety that the world around them is changing and they don't like it one bit. So, resistance sets in and they become obstacles to be overcome by the schools to make the changes they want to make to enable the changes in pedagogy that are occurring. This can only end badly for either the school, the techie, or both. I see and hear of it all of the time, and some IT people in schools are being fired as a result, or if they keep their jobs they are merely frustrating some of the teachers who want to introduce new technology into their classrooms. Some of those teacher know exactly what they are on about too and have a very good understanding of what they are going to achieve with the new technology. Some don't, but you will always have those who think the "next thing" is going to be the silver bullet they've always wanted.

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