[K12OSN] Re: Schools and the OPM Addiction

Peter Scheie peter at scheie.homedns.org
Tue Dec 4 00:35:56 UTC 2007

BTW, what do Smart Boards cost?  I've heard that a few will be going into my 
son's elementary school, while the district is looking at a $1 million shortfall 
next year.  I'd rather the money used for SBs went to teachers & assistants, 
especially since I've heard of people largely replicating SBs by using K12LTSP 
and TeacherTool.


Jim Kronebusch wrote:
> On Sat, 01 Dec 2007 12:07:19 -1000, R. Scott Belford wrote
>> I fear that far too often good-willed and well-intending education 
>> advocates fail to fully understand the extent of OPM addiction in the 
>> American education system.  More successful advocates have learned to 
>> enable the use of OPM within the schools.  They fund this addiction with 
>> enticing technology trinkets and strong-armed contractual agreements.
> Funny, but sadly true.  I find that like with any addiction, the problem starts with the
> dealers.  They make this stuff sound too fun to not try.  A quick example of how this
> hurts schools.
> We just had 3M give the school a grant to buy some technology.  The teachers involved
> went to a seminar about cool new products in schools.  The teachers decided the best way
> the money could be spent is with EBeam projection systems.  They thought this could be
> as useful as SMART Boards but for a third of the cost.  They ordered them.  The teachers
> use OSX as their operating system this year.  As part of my schools second wave of Linux
> integration we were going to move all teachers to Linux next year.  EBeam is OSX/Windows
> only.  So now thanks to this grant (OPM), and the flashy presentation by the dealers, we
> now have a huge obstacle to overcome with making these EBeam systems useful while still
> trying to switch to Linux.  So our $5,000 grant (OPM) is putting our $60,000 savings and
> all the other benefits of switching to Linux in jeopardy. 
> Other cases are where the dealers of the OPM provide the stuff the first time for free,
> but in doing so give us new addictions that we cannot afford.  Sure we get new
> projectors, but can't afford to replace the bulbs or the system when it fails.  We get
> software, but can't afford the upgrade cycle.  This list could go on.
> Used wisely, there is no problem with OPM.  However I believe the dealers are the first
> in the chain who need to wise up, then the users will follow.
> Jim

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