The New Zealand Herald reports..
Of course, Albany Senior High are probably an exception to the rule - being a 'clean slate' of recent times and a good advocate of a sane, holistic approach to their IT environment - and curriculum. Other schools have thousands of dollars in legacy systems that they need to retain value for - which is fine.
However all educators need to pay attention to some of the key facts beginning to surface:
- Schools should be teaching fundamentals, not by-rote ways of achieving an outcome using specific tools;
- Open Standards allow for portability, and prevent vendor lock-in;
- Open Source provides for transparency; for community collaboration on the 'whole solution' and for an opportunity to expose students to real world examples of software development;
- Cost is a factor, but should not be the whole reason.
"Total cost of Ownership" is a key phrase, and closed source vendors tend to argue that despite lower initial investment, the TCO of F/OSS is often higher in the context of training, and of obtaining support when things go awry. This is a subjective viewpoint (they have obvious bias... they're the competition!) and educators need to be taking an open and objective viewpoint as much as possible.
The truth is that Linux has never been better prepared for the end-user environment; current desktop solutions are mature, flexible and easily deployed, and there's plenty of F/OSS packages, tools and utilities to help them along their way.
So as your kids school approaches their next ICT refresh; what direction are they heading?