Every day, schools struggle to select the right technology to institutionalize in their environments. Limited resources (e.g. staff, funding, time) prevent adopting ALL technologies. And, what’s worse, each company (e.g. Apple, Google, Microsoft) is working to improve their hold on their respective markets. After all, their goal is to be the top predator in their area. Winner takes all, “here can be only one” kind of fight.
Over the last 6 months, I’ve had the chance to hear similar questions to the one that appears below:
My school currently uses O365 which includes OneNote and OneDrive, but is thinking about moving to GSuite… I can see the clash between the two systems being email – would you use Outlook or Gmail? As the email account forms the basis of both systems, can these work together in some way or do they not play nice together at all? If you have to choose one or the other as your school email platform, does that rule out using the other system entirely? Any tips and advice (even if it is “we tried this and it doesn’t work”) would be greatly appreciated.
This is a challenge that many school districts face. When you add technology equipment to the mix, you are facing an expensive problem. What a great chance to have a chat about your school district’s values.
In my role as a technology consultant, I have the opportunity to work with various school districts. Some have chosen one solution over another and moved forward. Others remain paralyzed, leaving the end user the choice of what system to use in the classroom. The classroom teacher must answer the question, “Should I use Apple iPad, Google Suites or Office 365?” And, they have to do this in the midst of a turbulent school climate which may not even support technology use except as an unsupported mandate. “Make it work IF YOU can.”
While self-selecting technology remains a key skill for all learners, this isn’t a question of choosing the right device. Rather, it’s about putting into place background processes (e.g. Single Sign-On) that make using complex, inter-related systems work in an effective, consistent manner. Unfortunately, vacillating between multiple solutions makes each unusable. One example involves automated account management and creation for “Classroom” solutions.
My suggestions include aligning equipment purchases (and existing equipment) to a particular system. If you have Surface Pro tablets, want all your students to take advantage of OneNote, then it’s a no-brainer to jump into the Microsoft world. If you’re 1 to 1 iPads, then chances are, you are going to be buying Macs for folks and creating online content with iBooks Author and iOS apps. If you’re Chromebook heavy, then Google Suites is where you should be headed.
While you can certainly take advantage of some devices in each system, you can’t forget that the vendors are fighting to lock you into their world. Forget this at your peril. What works on one day, may not the next.
Pick the one you would like to be locked in and provides your learners, K-Adult, the most options, aligns to your technology, and stakeholders can support. Anything else is an exercise in frustration for all and a waste of precious funding.