Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Should Hardware be Standardized Across a School?



“The question of standardizing on some common hardware vendor and thereby realizing efficiency in terms of quantity acquisitions, software development, hardware maintenance, or staff training should be addressed” (Picciano, 2011, p. 259).


In the quote above, Picciano suggests standardization of hardware and software should be considered when administrators are looking at purchases for their schools. In my situation, my district decided to go to 1:1 in grades third through twelfth with Chromebooks. The affordability of the Chromebook allowed more devices to be purchased. Along with the price of the device, the standardization of hardware allowed the technicians to better service the device. With the Chromebook, many apps and settings can be pushed to device from the console which can be accessed anywhere. Before, when we mostly used centralized computer labs, the technicians often had to go to each device to service, repair, or push software. The Chromebooks are web based so the viruses, updates, and data backup are no longer an issue. When Chromebooks are damaged physically, they are sent to a centralized location for repair. Because of the durability of the device, the damages are much less compared to the desktops in the computer lab. Training is easier because we all use the same operating system and the same programs, Google Drive.
More information about the Chromebook can be found in the video below:


What factors should an administrator consider if deciding to use a BYOD approach rather than a 1:1 approach? One benefit from allowing students to use a ‘Bring Your Own Device’ is that the student can bring a device which suites his or her personal learning needs. It is not a ‘one size, fits all’ approach. According to an Edutopia article (Paquette, 2012), “It is no longer optimal to have everyone do the same thing, at the same time, in the same way.” By mixing devices, students are allowed the opportunity to choose touch screens, tablets, or full sized laptops based on how that learner learns best. The BYOD approach also works for schools limited on funds. The school would have to provide the infrastructure in order for the BYOD program to be successful, but the cost of purchasing and repairing the device would fall on the students and not the district. According to Picciano (2011, p. 259) when considering hardware, "School administrators should allow for a variety as long as it can be justified because of the needs of the proposed application."
So what should schools do? Purchase one device for all or go with a BYOD program? I believe the answer lies in the goals of the school and the needs of the learners.



References:

Google. (2011, May 10). Introducing the chromebook. Retrieved April 26, 2016, from

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVqe8ieqz10


Paquette, A. (2012, December 04). Challenging the model of 1:1 with BYOD. Retrieved April 26, 2016, from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/challenging-one-to-one-model-amanda-paquette


Picciano, A.G. (2011). Educational leadership and planning for technology (5th ed.) Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.