From the Apple IIe’s I used in school to the latest generation Macs the kids use today, Apple computers have long been the technology of choice for Southborough schools. But that could change.
Director of Technology Jean Tower hopes to conduct a pilot program that would integrate PC technology at Trottier next year. The goal of the pilot is to determine whether it’s cheaper to own and maintain a network of PCs than a network of Macs.
Tower told the school committee earlier this month that she would like to purchase 30 Dell Netbook computers at $477 each, along with 25 refurbished Dell desktops PCs at $375 each.
Tower said Trottier already has a PC lab, but it’s ten years old and is seldom used. She believes PC technology will be easier to integrate this time around because of changes in software. “Ten years ago educational software was only available on Macs,” she said. “Now it’s available on both.”
She also said teachers now use a wide range of platform-independent tools including wikis, blogs, and software services like Google Docs.
The total cost of the PC pilot is just under $24K. That represents just a portion of the $132K in technology capital requests approved by the School Committee at their meeting on February 11. Superintendent Charles Gobron said the only capital requests the schools will make this year are related to technology, and that those requests are level-funded compared to last year.
“I think we need to leverage technology further, not cut back on it,” school committee member Jack Kessler said.
In addition to the PC pilot, technology requests include replacing old Macs at each of the four schools, plus replacing switches and other network gear.
School committee member Marybeth Strickland said keeping up with technology is part of being a “top-notch school.”
Voters will be asked to approve the capital requests at town meeting in April.