With the proliferation of web 2.0 apps, it seems that the operating system is becoming less and less important. Most modern OS's can run most modern software, and most modern browsers can run most web apps. So does the question now shift to which hardware is best? Which "user experience" is best? Does the old "most software won't run on a Mac..." argument still hold water? Should we all switch to Ubuntu?

Tags: Linux, Mac, OS, Operating, Windows, oss, system

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Chris,

You have said, in a nutshell, what I have been trying to say in much longer statements. If the teachers cannot or will not use it, for whatever reason, it is the wrong software.
Chris...and many teachers use so little of what is available it really doesn't matter.
Nancy,

My fifteen years of using technology in began with nothing more sophisticated than a text editor that was uploaded as email. So, if I wax nostalgic for some of the things that I knew worked and worked well, you will have to pardon me. I've been out of the classroom almost four years now, and still miss it. I body had to retire sooner than my mind wanted to.

At any point in time, there are a variety of levels of users from beginners sending their first email (whether they are four or sixty-fout), and those who are able to get value out of things that others passed through quickly. I was a special ed teacher, so am more comfortable with students who move slowly through the use of applications, and perhaps find them more useful than a gifted child would. That said, there is absolutely no reason for a special ed student to be deprived of the basic opportunities of technology. My LD and EMR kids built a MOO of the third act of the Tempest back in the mid-nineties when MOOs were all the rage. They corresponded with kids like themselves all over the world in the late eighties and early nineties. We got most of our technology by hook and crook -- the first machines we had (when the Apple IIe was the latest and best), were the TI-99-4A's, and the kids quickly bored with the simple games it would run, until I learned enough basic to write some less flashy and more instructional applications. I would have loved to have something like Carmen SanDiego available at that time! At that time there was not a single techie in the employ of the school district. The common joke was that the principal delivered a box to your classroom containing a computers, and you, the teacher, did everything from there. Of course, there were much fewer teachers who were using technology at the time, especially for instructional purposes.

So, to put it succinctly, I have worked with a wide variety of OS's over the years, and when I say emphatically (and arguementatively), that the choice of the OS should reside with the teacher and the use she will make of the technology, I am not stating an opinion, but a well-developed fact. Techies who are the "come afters", are not the ones who should be deciding what OS to use. It should be decided by the teachers who are knowledgeable, with some input from the techies, who then bow down and say (as an Unix instructor once described Unix as doing), "As you say, great master", and put into place what the teachers need. And change it when the teacher needs change. Promptly!
Dream on McDuff!! lol
Indigo,

I come by my "strong opinions" through experience. There are some "techies" who I respect and admire. Tim Sigmon and Glen Bull come to mind. They may be retired by now. They were able to envision a network by and for teachers in the early nineties before the Internet was called the Internet, and they built it in Virginia. By '95, Glen Bull envisioned teachers developing and creating their own content on the network now called the Internet. Instructional projects were created using newsfeeds and bitnet lists. I used Unix to hook them up to Virginia's PEN.

If it is "rude" to lump technicians as "come afters", it is just as rude to lump teachers into "common teachers" You have your group to champion, I have mine.

And, no matter how many servers, hubs, wheels, or operating systems, a technicians knows about, his knowledge of pedagogy is going to be weak. He MUST concede to those who understand instruction AND technology. We are out there, although we are aging and retiring. But we are still here. And will give you a Gibbs knock upside the head it you don't pay attention!!!
Indigo,

I stand by my comment that my lumping techies together (exluding certain ones who were responsible for the technology that is currently in use), is no more rude than to refer to a "common teacher" as something you envision, which has no relation to any teacher outside of your limited personal experience. You have no clue or concept how many or which teachers have made it possible for you to have the job you now have! Before there were technies in school districts, teacher did everything for the technology they used. So, I call them "come afters". They are beholden to the "common teachers" for the fact that they have a job!

You may as a techie "consider" yourself the "expert" on technology, but I suspect that I have been an "expert on technology" longer than you have. You have to rely on Wiki to remember when things happen. And, to you, he is Dr. Glen Bull. Only those who knew him back when can leave off his title!
Indigo,

I don't want your lunch money, I want you to put the hardward and software in the special ed classrooms. When you get over having your nose bent out of shape, perhaps you will connect those special ed teachers to http://www.educationalsynthesis.org or tell them to email me so that I can provide some help to get them going. If they are already going, they won't need my help.

And, get a decent hair cut!
Anne, I think you have based your lengthy arguement with Indigo on a specific classroom you are aware of. Rather than complain, step up and work with the district to provide the technology the students need, As a retiree you you are in the perfect posistion to put money where your mouth is--find a business partner for your friend or help her write that grant I mentioned earlier.
Nancy,

That's what they said when I predicted online education in the mid-ninties!
Anne, Not to jump into the fray--the nineties is ancient history when it comes to technology in schools the mid-nineties was FIFTEEN YEARS AGO. I remember my first few years of teaching with ONE Apple 2C in my classroom and saving to floppy disks. Was I cutting edge, oh yes indeedy, do I want to go back? NO WAY. ... and classroom teachers today have completely different focuses with NCLB, high stakes testing. The thought that they would care which OS they were using is laughable to me.

When I did my first websites and introduced students to the internet the least of my worries were sexual predators, uploading innappropriate images, pirating music, movies and software---things were easier then, no matter how much you wish they still were--they aren't.
Nancy,

I didn't come into the fray until the Apple IIe, but I remember when the IIc was highly recommended for gifted students. The Apple IIe was a sturdy, reliable machine, with the OS on one disk, and your data on the other. Didn't IIc have a built in operating system? Or am I not remembering quite well.

In any event, you and I could probably talk about the "good/bad old days" well.

I am trying to keep up, and I'm sorry if my defense of Sim Park seems like I am going backwards. Finding it as abandonware gave me the idea to recommend it to an elementary special ed teacher who recently asked for help with a specific Virginia SOL that involved Life Processes. A few months ago, we did some resources for her on Predator and Prey. Sim Park would have been useful then.

In the case of this teacher, techies are absolutely horrid. When computers are distributed to classrooms in the building, this teacher is usually overlooked because she teaches the low level special ed kids. When she and I were in the same building, the replaced my lab of old MAC classics with 486's running NT (and forgot to buy software for K-2). The principal who was retiring that year, gave me carte-blanche to distribute the MAC classics wherever I chose, and I loaded up those that were working and carted them to the special ed classrooms, including hers, along with the games the kids knew how to play and software for them to grow into. My intention in doing this was to force the administration into keeping those classrooms updated with technology as new technology was distributed in the building. A few months after I left, I heard that the TECHIE issued a statement that the MAC Classics would NOT be supported or replaced!!!

So, if those Classics still worked, the games would still be just as useful for her kids, but without tech support they are no more than boat anchors as they wear out. And, Indigo wonders why I refer to techies as "bad haircuts"? You should have seen the "do" on that guy who wiped out all my efforts to get special ed classes kept up to standards!!!!

Nancy, be glad that you are teaching the TAG kids. If you were teaching the special ed kids, no matter how much you showed admins the usefulness of technology, you would still be treated as if you were one of your students instead of a professional...... And make my day by telling me it is different where you work!
Anne, You've got it wrong--historically special ed kids on both ends, reading teachers, speech teachers, and any other specialists are always left out of the technology loop. Those kids' access to computers is suppose to be in the regular classroom. It is different where I work. Our district provides each elementary school with two labs, 2-3 laptop carts. We have seven student stations and two teacher stations in our Center and have access to a mobile lab any time (except when they are doing state assessments). I was not hired to keep my computers running and I DON'T HAVE TIME to do it. Why would I want to?

Here are other comments:
1. If I were a tech person (or district) I WOULD NOT support old computers/printers/projectors. It's like having a car up on cinder blocks in your driveway. Our district keeps computers/printers for the life of the warranty and then out they go---

Tell you friend to write a grant.
I've written grants over the years from $500.00 to $480,000 for technology related items. The largest federal grant was for computers for special ed classrooms.

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