We need to find a better use for old equipment in schools than simply throwing it away.
A decision by Microsoft is impacting educational institutions in Clark County, from kindergarten through college.
Microsoft is ending support for its Windows XP operating system — the dominant operating system in K-12 education — after April 8, 2014. Although information technology directors knew this change was coming, computer upgrades for an entire school district or college campus are expensive. The fleet of more than 6,000 work stations in Evergreen Public Schools, the largest district in Clark County, is still running Windows XP. (Source: Columbian.com News via MGuhlin’s Twitter Favorites)
I always feel a bit disingenuous when I share that we need to get rid of Windows XP and <= Mac OS 10.6 machines in school districts. I know some of those machines could be put resurrected through the use of free, open source software (e.g. LubuntuLinux, AntiXLinux, PrecisePuppyLinux, you get the idea), but unfortunately, the cost of maintenance and tech support in time and effort is too much.
The other main obstacle is that even as more stuff moves onto the Web, the State of Texas continues to invest in OS platform specific solutions that make GNU/Linux unusable for most “lab” settings. Worse, old machines are energy hogs.
Wouldn’t it be neat, though, to setup writing labs, research labs through schools that are running GNU/Linux? It just doesn’t work for these reasons: 1) Too much time & effort for technicians; 2) Unfamiliarity with free software and need to run “official” programs; 3) Old machines are energy inefficient. So, if no, then what?
Another idea is to send those old machines home running Linux. Heck, why didn’t I think of that before? Wait, I did…let’s see…this may be what we need to do with those old clunkers. Send them home with Linux loaded on them (no cost for the OS), and this can help facilitate flipped classroom learning.
After all, modern Linux would let kids plug in USB flash drives and play videos, surf the web (e.g. GoogleApps), avoid viruses and malware, and a myriad of other possibilities.
Here’s the Texas law that makes it possible:
And, here’s what the form might look like:
Provisions of these guidelines do not govern the use of assistive/adaptive equipment that is provided for students as a result of a current ARD determination.
As used in these guidelines, “transfer” does not necessarily imply permanent ownership.
Before equipment may be transferred under these guidelines, the District will make a determination that such a transfer serves a public purpose and benefits the District.
Transfer of equipment under these guidelines does not commit the District to provide Internet access or remote access to the District’s electronic network from a student’s residence.
Equipment is transferred for educational purposes only.
Shall give preference to students identified as economically disadvantaged.
Shall give preference to students enrolled in technology courses or clubs that will provide assistance in transferring computers to economically disadvantaged students.
Equipment is judged by the Director of Technology Operations or designee as no longer needed for instructional purposes prior to transfer.
SCHOOL DISTRICT ISD Technology Support will verify prior to transfer that all confidential and proprietary materials have been removed.
Equipment will be transferred with needed software, further maintenance after transfer will not be provided by the District.
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