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.

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