“Going yard” is baseball terminology for hitting a home run. Four home run hitters presented a technology demonstration at the Board of Education meeting on 6/5/07. Croatan High School All-Stars Millie Temple, Julie Perry, David Perry and Courtney Grafton went yard as they showed the BOE and audience the value of SAS inSchool Curricular Pathways on a powerful computer.
I cannot thank them enough for stepping up to the plate and swinging for the fences. As Millie said, “This web-based software is fundamentally changing teaching and learning.”
When I think about computers the school system buys, I think of how long we tend to keep them. Even though by today’s standards the computers we spec may be over-the-top, past history informs us that we are buying these computers not only for today but for some time to come.
Consider the data:
- We average replacing general academic computers every ten years.
- The computers we bought ten years ago had 32MB of RAM and a RISC processor (Apple) that is no longer on the map.
- The computers we bought eight years ago had 64MB of RAM and either a RISC or Pentium II processor.
- We still carry in inventory nearly 850 of these machines.
- Since we began replacing computers in earnest just over eight years ago, our processor requirement has tripled (from less than 733mhz to 3.2G) and our RAM requirement has multiplied by a factor of six (from 32MB to 2G).
- Because of erratic funding—especially in the last five years—we have been trying to solve future problems by buying robust computers.
- We now have stakeholders with good intentions and business acumen advising us to buy entry level laptops (refurb home use models, 512 MB RAM, 90 day warranties, Vista Home Basic Edition) because we can save a lot of money.
- We have one tech support professional for every 457 computers in inventory.
My question in all sincerity: What kind of business model would purchase lowball computers with today’s entry level specs for meaningful productivity by 9000 users in all grade levels and subject areas over a 10-year duration in a multi-user, secure network environment maintained by 7 tech support personnel?
Are we swinging for the fences of the 21st Century? Or are we bunting right down the bottom line?