One simple argument against public schools would be to mention Ipads and Windows Tablets. Los Angeles knows what I mean. Over a billion dollars in on a giant cell phone without cell phone service. Let's be honest: a tablet that is not a smartphone nor a small computer should not be a first choice for schools, but bureaucracy-laden school districts often keep driving on the wrong side of the road.

I recently read several horror stories of large scale Ipad implementation, some of problems having to do with lack of training, poor learning materials available, students getting through to blocked content, and a price tag more than twice that of a Chromebook. In fact, well used units still cost as much as a Chromebook. In the Los Angeles case, it seems Apple may have gotten preferred vendor status (kickbacks on $1.3 billion) could be pretty nice. However, lots of school districts over-invest in technology all the time, buying Windows Pro Tablets or high-end laptops.

Take Pasadena Independent School District in Texas. They had a wonderful plan of implementation for their Dell Venue 11 Pros. Well organized and timed. The problem the district could not get past, however, was that these are Windows Tablets, so the point is to train kids on giant cell phones? If anyone can get Windows tablets to work for their students, this district can probably do it, but to say that being comfortable with Windows software is the best reason to go with over 10,000 tablets may not turn out to be the best decision, though it will work out better than in Los Angeles, no doubt.

Hindsight is 20/20. Of course Los Angeles would rather have made the switch to cheap Chromebooks with an elite screen protector much earlier in the process. And Pasadena would have loved to have figured out that Windows 10 was not the operating system they were imagining as something with which they were so familiar. 

In public schools, where decisions take a long time to come to fruition, what happens next? You can sue Apple or Pearson or the vendors. But the point of all the vendors, including Google, is to sell you something, so it's really buyer beware. I have always tried my best with what I was given, like when Menomonee Falls Schools, in what seemed to be wisdom, bought cheap laptops instead of Chromebooks, installed Windows XP, and then went on to use the lappies like actual Chromebooks in the classroom--I just did my job and taught (cringing a bit at paying twice as much per unit).

Public schools make big decisions that cost taxpayers a lot of money. Make sure your school district is making the right choice. If EVERYONE uses all Microsoft or all Apple in the district, then pay the extra money. If not, get a Chromebook and a Cranium. Spend the rest of the money on paying off debt or recruiting some teachers who want to use this technology in the classroom. Or maybe a tax break.

To find out more about a product paying for itself in fewer Chromebook repairs in just one year, email Educabana.


Jacksonville News

New Jax Witty

Articles, reviews, advice, and legitimate research to go along with some back-handed comments. Think of us as Jacksonville's mother-in-law.
  • Only Way to Avoid The Reverse Mortgage Disaster
    I've seen several news articles about the pitfalls of reverse mortgages. I also saw that we've set up a fund to help people when they get stuck with a reverse mortgage here in Florida. But the simple answer that most older people don't want to hear is that there's only one way to avoid disaster with a reverse mortgage: don't get one.

    The ad that inspired this reverse mortgage article claims that Americans have trillions of dollars just sitting there, not being used. The problem is that a reverse mortgage isn't using that money, either. It's using the house that's worth that money as collateral for a LOAN. It's a loan that needs to be paid off when your house is sold. You can make mistakes and end up losing your house.

    The better advice for anyone already retiredor looking to retire is to sell. I know, you love your house, all the stuff in it, the neighbors you wave at, the same big box retail down the road, and all the stuff in the house. It's basic economics: if you own something outright worth $500,000, sell it for $500,000 and rent a nice condo for 20 years. If you take out a reverse mortgage, then you can get $250,000 towards a condo for 10 years, still pay property taxes and insurance on the house, and continue to maintain it so that in a decade, you'll make enough money to pay off your reverse mortgage loan. New AC, new roof, new driveway? That would all eat into the profit on selling your house that you'll need to cover all the interest on the loan. Don't pay a bank for the right to live in a house for your entire life. Avoid reverse mortgages at all costs.
  • Rental Bikes Aren't Exactly For The Homeless
    Local news was down in St. Augustine covering the newly-proposed use of some kind of bike-share rental system. Since it's standard operating procedure, a homeless man was interviewed about the program. He said something to the effect that it would be good to have options for someone like him who can't afford a bike. FYI local news and homeless people: bike rental programs are not really created for the homeless.

    Since I don't claim to know the biking habits of the typical homeless individual, I'm going to assume it involves getting to a place and then back home. Home being a structure in a field outside of town, not where you'd be able to return the bike for credit. My understanding would be that these folks would need the bike to get to and from "work," each and every day. Based on a similar rental system I found online, the 24-hour rental is $24. Alternatively, an annual pass is $80. The problem is that the trips can only be 60 minutes each. Assuming the homeless camp is close enough to downtown, this might work as a way to get around once in St. Augustine. Not a bad yearly price to not have to worry about bike maintenance, anyhow. If you're homeless already, and now you can get as many maintenance-free trips on a bike as you can use each day, then $80 for the year isn't bad at all.

    But wait, there's less. The yearly pass will need to be paid for with a credit card with a fob mailed to an address. So even if these ride share bikes makes sense to homeless people, it might not be something that can be purchased without the help of someone with credit and an address. It might seem like a lot of people would volunteer to do this, but any extra time or any damage would be billed to the credit card, so I certainly wouldn't volunteer my credit in the hopes that someone else will always return the bike in time (or at all). The Cincinnati bike share, for example, charges $1,200 for a bike that is not returned.

    I have a $1,000 bike. At least someone paid $1,000 for it back in 1986. I picked it up amidst college moving day garbage at UW-Milwaukee back in 1999. It was already worth $0 at that point. I've used some tape to hold it together, but it's still worth about $0. Since I'm probably not the only person in the area with a worthless bike, I'm thinking a bike donation for the homeless might make more sense than saying they should be using tourist bikes. That's not to say that bike shares don't have a place in St. Augustine, just that it might be meant for rich tourists instead of homeless interviewees.