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Some Possible Solutions for

Your School System’s Computer Issues


1 - Considering the uniqueness of technology’s: a) substantial academic significance, and b) enormous financial costs, the School Board should establish an independent committee of informed citizens who will monitor the district’s performance in this critical area.

2 - Assure that the head MIS person is a competent, open-minded individual who is unequivocally committed to support what is in the best interests of the students, teachers and taxpayers.

3 - Have the head MIS person subscribe to the free Mac-Managers email list. (Members are cross-platform managers who will answer essentially any technical question, for free.)

4 - Have a detailed written procedure for having the school’s Macs use only the latest of the four most dependable Mac OS versions (8.6/ 9.1/ 10.3.9/ 10.4.x), and keeping these up-to-date with the most current free Apple system software.

5 - Have a detailed written procedure for seeing that the school district’s Macs are loaded only with the minimum items (like Fonts).

6 - Verify that the school has a procedure to assure that it only purchases well-reviewed and well-supported third party software, and that they keep their Macs up-to-date with this software, in a timely manner.

7a- Load each 10.x Mac with the following basic and free (or inexpensive) programs:
   a) AppleWorks 6.2.9 or iWorks [powerful wordprocessor, SS and database]
   b) RealBasic [extraordinary, simple programming application]
   c) GraphicConverterX [$20 shareware program that almost equals $500 Photoshop]
   e) Stuffit Expander [latest version of this decompression program]
   f) Adobe Acrobat Reader [latest version for reading common Internet PDF documents]

7b- Load each 8.6 or 9.x Mac with the following basic and free (or inexpensive) programs:
   a) AppleWorks 5.0.3 or 5.0.4 or 6.2.5 [powerful wordprocessor, SS and database]
   b) HyperCard 2.4.1 [extraordinary, simple programming application]
   c) GraphicConverter [$20 shareware program that almost equals $500 Photoshop]
   d) Netscape Communicator 4.8 [very useful browser and email program]
       [when email, is not needed, substitute Internet Explorer 5.1.7]
   e) Stuffit Expander 7.0 [or latest version of this decompression program]
   f) Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.1 [for reading common Internet PDF documents]
   g) Calculator+ [superior, free Apple Menu item calculator]
   h) MacVerter Metric [quick conversions to/from any metric unit]
   i) the district’s recommended Extension Manager and Sherlock sets
   j) TechTool [for monthly rebuilds of the desktop]
   k) Apple Disk First Aid 8.6/8.6.1 [for monthly hard drive testing]

8 - For problem situations: a) have copies of the recommended Mac OS versions you use, customized on your Apple Software Restore Repair CDs, and b) have a detailed written procedure for troubleshooting the school’s Mac computers: in a logical, thorough manner.

9 - Have a detailed written procedure to allow each school’s semi-technical person to do basic maintenance and troubleshooting of their school’s Macs, on their own.

10-Have a detailed well-written procedure that explains good computing practices for teachers and students to follow. This should include specifics as to how a person with a PC at home should transfer and convert files. (Need to know more? The excellent MacWindows site provides tutorials for just about every cross-platform aspect imaginable.)

11-Actively, and open-mindedly, encourage inputs from teachers.

12-Provide teachers with a subscription for MacHome Journal. Have teachers become familiar with Teacher Mentor internet asklines, dealing with educational software and Mac hardware.

13-Replace all Windows servers that have Mac clients with the newest OS X Apple servers (XServe).

14-Collect all existing PCs into a small lab at each high school. Have one high school course for PC/Windows experience training. [Install latest version of Virtual PC on more powerful Macs if more PC stations are needed.] Note: with Virtual PC 5+, Macs can run up to ELEVEN different operating systems! At the SAME TIME!!!

15-When getting quotes for new computers, in addition to the up-front cost take into account a specific dollar amount for:
    a) annual maintenance cost,
    b) usable lifetime of the computer,
    c) software costs,
    d) networking costs,
    e) annual operating costs (e.g. electricity),
    f) teacher training costs,
    g) teacher preferences/satisfaction/ efficiency, and
    h) ability to provide students with the most productive learning environment.

Download a printable pdf version of this document (rev: 5/01/05).

If you have any constructive comments or suggestions about this page,
please email John.

rev: May 1, 2005

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