Real computing power for students – while cutting spending
Posted by Dave Bath on 2010-02-09
If KRudd (or state governments) wanted to improve educational use of computers in schools (and kindergartens), and wanted to DECREASE the government spend on IT in schools, all he’d have to do is point schools to the pages where Google offers schools a near-enterprise-level service free of charge: Google Applications for Education and Google Apps for Kindergartens through Secondary.
Then, there’d be no need to fund laptops – just low-end "diskless" (actually a flash disk) netbooks and a means-tested basic internet connection (enough to be ok for google apps, wiki pages, etc, but a bit painful for music/video).
By near-enterprise-level, providing the school joins before July 2010, I mean things like fine-grained filtering of email, along with not just email, but the other goodies like word processing, website creation, team assignments (via groups), lesson plan creation, integration with other schools…
Can the government do something that provides great value, in a field they tout as a national priority, that decreases costs of hardware, software and administration to schools, freeing up money for any per-student giveaways (and lowering the cost of each of those)?
If our governments can’t do this, basically needing nothing more than a simple email to all principals, then they need to explain why are going for a costlier lesser-functionality solution, or be thrown out for inefficiency.