Question of the Month: Next Stop, Windows 8
With Windows 8 coming out next week, what is your district’s migration plans and what operating system do you use at the moment?
Director – IT Client Services
Portland Public Schools
Right now, Portland Public Schools (PPS) is about 70 percent PC with Windows XP, the dominant operating system. Historically, we have taken a pretty conservative approach to OS updates and are actually making the transition to Windows 7 rather than Windows 8. PPS typically takes a very organic approach focusing initially on new hardware purchases and as requests and repairs bubble up, transition those devices to Windows 7. This approach seems to impact our users the least and does not break the bank attempting to fund technicians to back up data and reimage each individual workstation.
I don’t want to sell short the importance of having a current operating system, but as we have migrated our core productivity and instructional resources to Web-based solutions, the need for the most current operating system running the most current installed applications continues to wane. I would also add that our typical teacher is not a power user pushing the OS and installed applications to their full potential so we don’t have ton of users screaming for updates. In fact, our power users are more likely leveraging more flexible and accessible Web-based resources that better enable them to create and customize content and promote collaboration anytime-anywhere via a Web-enabled device.
At this time we are pretty content with our approach, but are intrigued by the potential of Windows 8 and the convergence of technologies. It will be interesting to see how this convergence translates to the K-12 education space and if we will see a groundswell of innovation and creativity as a result of this “new” ecosystem.
Eastland-Fairfield Career and Technical Schools
As a school administrator, I was always hesitant to make a quick decision regarding technology issues. When a new device, operating system, or other innovation hits the technology market, the tech department, administration, and other staff members should review it thoroughly. My experience with Windows operating systems is that lately it seems every other system gets it right.
Windows XP was successful while its successor, Vista, was not very successful, but Windows 7 appears to be a hit. If one uses that track record as a guide, Windows 8 will not be so great. However, it would be wise to investigate the new arrival and make a decision accordingly. One important issue to consider is the timing of Windows 8. The rollout of Windows 8 in October is not a good time for schools to consider changing operating systems since it would occur during the school year.