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A creative, yet realistic, approach to 1:1

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A creative, yet realistic, approach to 1:1

 

Has the goal of becoming a 1:1 district blinded us to the realities of budget, asset allocation, and financial responsibility? Have the means become more important than the end goal?

Schools have been going 1:1 at a dramatic rate. The cost of doing so has been astronomical, not just in terms of the cost of new computers, but also in the effort of staff, and the energy required to sell another tax raise/budget increase to a board and community.

The science, student success, and teacher feedback from 1:1 programs is irrefutable. Having a computer for every student and increasing the time they spend with it has a positive effect on student learning. The question is, does it have to be a new computer to be effective? Do schools have to spend hundreds of thousands (or millions) of dollars to see these results? 

Schools have so many under-utilized assets. Computer labs that are rarely used, carts of laptops that are no longer checked out, and sheds of old equipment waiting to be sold at an upcoming auction. 

What if those assets are the key to unlocking a better 1:1 program: a program that provides the same benefits to students while decreasing the work load on staff, and leaving money in the budget? What if you could get a 1:1 program and have enough money left over to give teachers a raise, update network infrastructure, or buy other equipment?

Here at Neverware, we've helped hundreds of schools across the US use the assets they already own to build a sustainable 1:1 program. Those 10 carts of laptops that are not being used, the storage room with 400 Latitude laptops, and the computer lab with desktops that are becoming too slow to use daily, are now being converted into fast and simple Chromebooks.

New computers are not fundamentally more valuable to a student's learning process than old computers, if the old computers can keep up with student needs. When schools focus more on the end goal, and less on how others have achieved it, more creative solutions become apparent. 

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When lifelong friends approach 40

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When lifelong friends approach 40

 

By Andrew Bauer, Company President

A couple of years back I turned 40, which is the age when some lifelong friends have clearly “made it” (whatever that means).  Some of them operate in the same fashion as decades past - same sensibilities, same priorities.  Others have... changed.   They view themselves as belonging to a higher, more privileged class.  The latest victim to fall into this dreaded category is my old friend Apple.

Apple turns 40 next month, and has been a consistent presence throughout my life.  At age 11, my family’s first computer was the Apple IIC.  At age 19, I typed my college papers on my roommate’s Macintosh LCII.  At age 28, I bought my last CD and and first iPod in the same month.  But, more than just introducing me to cool new stuff, Apple was the friend who had the guts to stand up to stuffy old people and all their nonsense.  Apple showed us technology and cool were not mutually exclusive.  They busted the status quo and associated themselves with the bold and daring.  They explicitly told us that Macintosh was “the computer for the rest of us”.

And then….they “made it”.  You know the story - iPod takes off, iPhone takes off, iPad takes off.  Which, at first, seemed great, right?  Cool, smart visionaries beat lame, old losers - cue closing credits. 

Except, my old friend has changed.  

The company that originally made its name focusing on kids and education has all but abandoned that critical demographic.  By restricting discounts and limiting offerings for cash strapped school districts, Apple products are now an option only for the most fortunate of schools.  As a result, Apple’s market share in US K-12 has slipped to only 6% in 2015.  

Apple sold out - fine.  They abandoned school kids to focus on the needs of rich, high-end clientele.  The truly maddening part is that they are now trying to denigrate those that can’t afford their devices!  

We previously wrote a letter to Mr. Cook expressing our disappointment regarding his lack of focus on affordable computing. (Irony alert….Tim Cook’s former high school gives up on Macs).  But, now, Mr. Schiller has broadly mocked all 600 million people who can’t afford Apple devices as “sad”?  He said “These people could really benefit from an iPad Pro.”... “these people”!!? Out of touch is no longer the right word.

I’m sure Apple won’t miss me.  Their new friends are wealthier and better looking and travel to nicer places (although, do NOT underestimate 27th Street between 6th and 7th).  And those new friends will definitely love those innovative new watch bands.  And that’s great for them. But, for me, it is always sort of sad to lose an old friend.

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Teaching, Learning: Where Start-Ups and the Classroom Align

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Teaching, Learning: Where Start-Ups and the Classroom Align

I started working in my first classroom eight weeks after graduating from college. I was completely unprepared. Three years later, I started at a small educational technology start up. I felt like I was starting from scratch -- and in many ways, definitely was -- but calling on teaching experience helped not only inform my role, but keep me grounded in the people we seek to support, day in and day out.

 

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ChromiumOS: The Whirlwind Tour

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ChromiumOS: The Whirlwind Tour

I started working with Neverware’s CloudReady team over a year ago, and along the way I’ve been surprised by many technical aspects of the operating system CloudReady is based on, ChromiumOS. Most of these things are easy enough to learn about via Google, but until I joined Neverware I just didn’t know much at all about Chromebooks and their operating system.

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"Just Use Jython"

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"Just Use Jython"

The first product I worked on was originally called GridApp: it was an application that helped enterprise customers manage their database infrastructure, which in most cases was widely-distributed and required the use of complex clustering software. I liked the name GridApp: at the very least, it was self-documenting.

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Optimizing for Enlightenment

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Optimizing for Enlightenment

To say I have an obsession with historical figures is an understatement (let me put it this way: I actually have a favorite Pope that predates the 20th Century.  It's Leo X, BTW).  One character I enjoy in particular is the philosopher-king (ok, technically emperor, but king sounds better) Marcus Aurelius.  My favorite trait of Aurelius' is that during his lifetime he would write messages to himself that he would later review with the hopes of re-actualizing those comments.  This concept is called Hypomnemata and is a tenant of Stoic philosophy, to which Aurelius was an adherent.  Aurelius' memorandums were eventually rediscovered, and became known as his "Meditations".

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