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Posted on Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 5:59 a.m.

Ann Arbor schools seek advice from Google, Thomson Reuters, other technology professionals

By Danielle Arndt


Community High School sophomores Ella Bourland, left and Helen Januszewski research a story for the school newspaper, The Communicator, during a class at the school on a recent morning.

Melanie Maxwell I

A growing group of local technology professionals is gathering to give free advice to Ann Arbor Public Schools as district officials plan upgrades and improvements to the schools’ technology infrastructure.

The upgrades and improvements would come only if residents approve a $45.8-million bond that is up for a vote on May 8.

The district began reaching out to tech professionals in January.

“We want to make certain we are making the right decisions at the right time for our kids,” said Ann Arbor Superintendent Patricia Green. “So we are not working alone in this. The right help is critical in taking (the district’s) technology use to the next level.”

James Corey, a campaign manager for United Way of Washtenaw County and former project manager for Google Book Search, was key in organizing what is now called the Ann Arbor Technology Advisory Committee, which includes employees of Thomson Reuters, Microsoft, Menlo Innovations and Terumo Cardiovascular Systems.


James Corey

Corey said the group is still very new and is open to additional tech professionals joining and donating their time.

The members received a copy of the district’s initial bond plan a couple of weeks ago and met last week to discuss it.

“This is entirely about giving free advice to the schools,” Corey said. “It’s not about asking people to vote or about advocacy at all. It’s more about people with a particular skill set or knowledge giving back to the district.”

Steven Shu, who works for the information services giant, Thomson Reuters, in Ann Arbor, said curiosity is what drove him to volunteer.

“I wanted to see how both software and hardware were being used at the local school level,” he said. “Working with the school board has been an enlightening experience. So many key factors went into play when drafting the technology bond.”

Corey said in addition to analyzing the bond plan, technology professionals will speak with school leaders about trends and technology advancements they see coming down the pike. They also will give cost-saving suggestions, Shu said.

Some of those up-and-coming trends include the school-driven shift to a Mac-powered world, which is good news for AAPS, considering the bond plan would include an overhaul of the district’s current laptop and desktop computers and provide more iPads.

Shu said districts have embraced Apple products and as a result, more businesses likely will embrace them in the long run. He said as children grow up and become the business leaders of the future, they will want to continue using the technology with which they are comfortable.

Shu said it appears AAPS currently uses several different types of software, adding it may not need to because many of them are used for similar tasks.

For example, it’s not necessary for the district to purchase both Flash and Quicktime, he said since Quicktime is the video encoding piece in Apple projects and Flash is what other programs use.

“Depending on what the software package agreements are that the school has with Adobe (the maker of Flash), they could potentially save a significant amount of money (by not getting Flash),” Shu said.

In addition, technology professionals and AAPS staff members believe iPads, tablets and other mobile learning devices are the wave of the future.

Corey said tablets have many benefits — they are more portable than traditional computers and less expensive — but questions remain, such as “Can it do enough for teachers?” and “What type of WiFi investment would it require?”

Tablets and iPads can be great instruction tools, based on the applications that have been developed, he said. However, Shu said there aren’t many applications that promote class participation yet.

“They are better for individualized learning,” he said.

Kosta Kontoyiannakis, a manufacturing engineer for Terumo Cardiovascular Systems, agreed with Shu, noting tablets and iPads have software limitations. He said certain software requires Windows, while other kinds require a full-scale Mac.

However, Green said developing more personalized learning is precisely why Ann Arbor school officials would like to invest in the iPad. She said the iPad has considerable possibilities for helping special needs children develop better language acquisition skills. She also said the iPad has had a lot of success in helping students who struggle with math and reading.

“Young people gravitate so easily toward this technology,” she said, adding it also can be used to promote social and emotional learning.

Apple is projected to come out with a variety of digital textbooks in the near future, tech professionals said. If that happens, the district could save money on paper copies of books by investing in the iPad.

Green said from what she has heard about Apple’s digital textbooks, they sound “phenomenally impressive,” are interactive and include features such as video for deeper learning on a concept.

Kontoyiannakis said the district is taking the right approach in looking to build a stronger infrastructure and network system as part of the bond. He said the district's need for a more efficient infrastructure only will increase as the trend toward personal mobile devices continues, and students keep receiving these devices at younger and younger ages.

But he said the No. 1 thing the district is doing right is not spending all of its money upfront.

“They realize that technology evolves very quickly. … Who knew back in 2000 we’d be walking around doing everything on our phones and regular computers would be virtually obsolete?” Kontoyiannakis said.

The district will continue to have ongoing discussions with the Technology Advisory Committee, not just in relation to the bond, but for future technology plans as well, said district spokeswoman Liz Margolis. The district really hopes to tap into its resources in the community as technology continues to change and evolve, she said.

"I think it's been good for them, too, to learn and see how things work in the schools and the funding limitations we have," she said.

Read this previous story for an overview of the district's tech bond plan.

Staff reporter Danielle Arndt covers K-12 education for Follow her on Twitter @DanielleArndt or email her at



Thu, May 3, 2012 : 11:48 a.m.

How many of the "gurus" are using Apple products at their business?


Tue, Mar 13, 2012 : 2:01 a.m.

I looked at the info posted on AAPS website hoping for details. I was disappointed. I want to see more specifics. I was surprised to see asbestos abatement included. Shouldn't that have been done long ago as part of the bond for building improvements?


Tue, Mar 6, 2012 : 1:59 p.m.

My kids both went to Huron and I can tell you that there needs to be more tech staff available. Poorly maintained computer equipment cuts down on available computers for everyone, and those laptop carts that are currently used in schools have many computers badly in need of maintenance. Start with keeping the current equipment well maintained instead of looking to buying new toys, such as ipads.


Tue, Mar 6, 2012 : 4:06 a.m.

What do these businesses know about educational technology, pedagogy, curriculum, standards, cognitive development? Instead of asking Google, I think they should be asking experts in education technology, there are plenty of them, try starting at the International Society for Technology in Education (<a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>. They have plenty of &quot;Free&quot; consultants who would give advice on tech plans, bonds, professional development, cost v benefit. They are informed on research (such as there is no research that shows effective learning using interactive whiteboards, while there is research showing that 1:1 programs can be very effective IF implemented properly).


Tue, Mar 6, 2012 : 10:14 p.m.

Amen iste is a great resource or even more locally the MACUL group is a great resource.

say it plain

Tue, Mar 6, 2012 : 2:30 a.m.

@A2James has it completely right about the relative lack of utility of ipads! They're funky, sure, 'cool' and all, but the processing power is nil and the availability of decent apps isn't compelling either for the AAPS's purposes. Honestly, this is not really looking very promising as a lure for voters to approve the millage... And @1stho also makes a great point....some familiarity with Apple products is good (and so many kids already have it because they own iphones, ipads, ipods, etc), but also it would benefit the kids to actually learn about the various platforms out there! Experience with PCs, with Linux, yes, *that* would be a useful angle on spending for allow kids to actually learn about the tech they will (far more so than Apple products given market share in the 'real' world!) likely encounter in the future! Just honestly, ipads over laptops? Sure the entry-level apple laptop is too pricey, but is an ipad really preferable to a portable machine with some processing power and wider software selections?!


Tue, Mar 6, 2012 : 2:14 a.m.

As a local teacher (not in ann arbor schools) who has been doing a technology pilot in a local middle school I can tell you from first hand experience that a iPad vs. net book/laptop debate is something that has been going on now for a couple years in the teaching world. I myself originally thought that the net book/laptop would be the best solution for my classroom. After trying a semester of net books last year and almost the entire school year so far this year with iPads in my classroom I would choose iPads. -They battery life is much better then a laptop you don't have to worry about a student needing to charge it in the middle of the day. -No student log in that wastes classroom teaching time while they wait for the computer to boot and log them in. -After over half the school year this year ZERO iPad technical issues. Last year net books would lose wifi connection, programs crash, students network drives would not map, and on and on


Tue, Mar 6, 2012 : 12:46 a.m.

Ipads and tablets are an evolving technology and limited in application for educational use at present. Unless you are ok with students playing games all day on their ipads. High schools can't control the use of cell phones by students, and they are going to give them ipads? Get real. By the way, no new taxes, AAPS.

A Voice of Reason

Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 11:48 p.m.

$500 ipad x 10,000=$5,000,000 =keyboard attached $99 so $6,000,000 Smart boards in the classroom=$10,000 Laptops for staff


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 11:08 p.m.

I'm glad to hear that the school system is soliciting for input from technology professionals, though I do wonder when I hear comments like &quot;Shu said districts have embraced Apple products and as a result, more businesses likely will embrace them in the long run. He said as children grow up and become the business leaders of the future, they will want to continue using the technology with which they are comfortable&quot;. I've been working in the tech world for almost 15 years during which time to the best of my knowledge Apple has been prevalent in most school systems as it is today and I've yet to work for a technology business where Apple products were the norm. Even now I find that iPads are mostly used for the &quot;wow factor&quot; by those (mostly non-technical) folks who use them. Other comments on this thread about Apple being overpriced are right on - I'd want the school system to be getting a big markdown from Apple before it considered their products. Hopefully the schools system attempts for some technological diversity - sure buy a couple of iPads as they are the thing of the moment, but also make sure you are teaching kids to use Windows, Linux and (for example) non-Apple mobile devices - Android and the like. I should mention that I also work for a local technology business that hires a fair number of business/technology interns each year. How many of these intern positions call for experience with Apple products? None.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 5:59 p.m.

For the price of an iPad, a good PC can be bought which is much more powerful and versatile. Of course it may look good to have iPad's for students, but they aren't very practical for teaching (yet) and they don't have enough educational apps to make it a cost-effective purchase.

Dog Guy

Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 4:51 p.m.

AAPS administrators ask and pretend to listen. This is a smokescreen for the &quot;technology&quot; millage vote. The term &quot;dog and pony show&quot; applies here.

Dr. I. Emsayin

Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 4:45 p.m.

Glad that AAPS is not hiring consultants at high fees but rather reaching out to experts who will donate time. I think that AAPS can do this more in other areas as well since there are many Ph.D.'s and other experts in education who might be willing to help out doing a post doc or even volunteers who are out of work/not working and wishing to do some community service (to add to a resume). But let's not overpay those folks who are not doing a full plate of work inside of the district.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 2:52 p.m.

Our family has an ipad, it's great if you want to search the web, play games or download music. But sometimes might it not be better to have the kids put a pencil to paper. Technology is important, but after 30 years I can still do math with an understanding of what I'm doing and an answer I can use. I use spell check occasionally, but I also still own a dictionary and know how to use it. Technology is a tool, not a crutch.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 4:44 p.m.

I agree with this comment and wish more teachers would listen to your comment as I have expressly told them I wish the children to have paper and pencil feel and anything else to help them look things up. Right now the music dept does use google for calendar events. Helps me out but right now with google giving out emails it scares me.I was told by my child that next year they will be using I Pads and more books on line which I find cannot be controlled as easy by the parent when a child does go on line. Too fast too soon.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 4:28 p.m.

@T - I agree that tablets are useful and entertaining. I also agree that being able to write a coherent paragraph, and be proficient with basic math skills is important. I have to admit, though, that most of the time I &quot;cheat&quot; and I use an on-line dictionary and a calculator. Why? Because it is faster, more convenient, and more accurate. I am not advocating technology as a replacement for basic skills. I am advocating using the best available tools for a specific task.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 2:28 p.m.

I am for the tech bond, but I am disturbed by this quote: &quot;Who knew back in 2000 we'd be walking around doing everything on our phones and regular computers would be virtually obsolete?" I have a &quot;dumb&quot; cellphone that only makes calls, and I use a regular, non-Mac, non-fancy desktop computer for everything else. I consider myself to have at least an average understanding and usage of computers and technology. I understand that the schools want to prepare students for the future, but if I can function as a working adult without an iPad or smartphone or tablet or even a laptop, surely the schools can manage without buying mass quantities of iPads as well. I completely understand that the schools need basic technology upgrades and support, and I am in favor of that. But I don't feel good about all this talk of spending so much money on so many &quot;fancy&quot; things. I know some teachers that have really embraced technology and who make good use of it in their classrooms, but I know many others who do not. Without a lot of support for teachers, and without some way to help the more reluctant understand what they could be doing with these new devices and technologies, this sounds like a big waste of money. And I am not criticizing teachers at all here - it is a hard thing to know how to put new programs and devices to use without seeing them modeled in action, and most teachers are too busy teaching to get a chance to see what's going on in other classrooms and schools.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 2:45 p.m.

I agree completely. If they were to get tablets, the Android ones are less expensive. But they'd be better off just buying decent sized monitors and inexpensive small-form factor desktops that could be upgraded or replaced. Fancy is nice, but ultimately I think most of us want the millage to last a long time and make the most use of the dollars.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 2:06 p.m.

So why do taxpayers have to buy Apple products? They are 50%-100% more expensive than their competitive counterparts, with a large portion of the markup due to fashion sense. If we have to buy Apple I'm voting this down.


Tue, Mar 6, 2012 : 2:28 a.m.

I hear ya. I'm typing this on an Android tablet but also have an old iMac G3, broken HP laptop and workhorse Win XP machine nearby. None are perfect but each accomplishes its necessary task. We'll see Steve Job's last hurrah with the new gadgets announced this week and probably Apple's real foray into TV later this year. After those, it is anyone's guess whether they can effectively match his vision and charisna.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 8:15 p.m.

@1bit - Fair enough re: TCO. lol As for computer purchases, I am of two schools of thought. Very seldom do we purchase technology that we will not expect more of over the life of the purchase. There are some cases where you know the person will never look to do more, and they can make do with a less-expensive baseline system. However, if you're recommending computer to a family with growing children you would recommend a more expensive computer with greater capabilities and more expandability. So, while in theory I would like to see more specificity from the schools on what they will buy and what they will be doing on it, the reality, I think, is that they cannot say for sure exactly what they will be running on those machines three years down the road. As for Android vs. iPad tablets, I am a proponent of the Android tablets. However, I have investigated and found a lot of educational software that is available for the iPad is simply not available for Android yet. And, much of the market pushes iPad apps to market at the expense of Android apps, despite the fact that the installed base of devices is overwhelmingly Android. I am in full agreement on the direction that technology is headed. And, that many of these products, particularly Apple, have become more proprietary instead of less. And, I am very concerned about the future of Apple. Any of us who have been in the industry long enough remember what happened at Apple the last time they were without Steve Jobs. And this time they can't bring him back. All of this being said, like many here I am still on the fence regarding this Technology Bond.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 6:29 p.m.

@alarictoo: I think we can agree to disagree on total cost of ownership. I'm heartened that we also agree in that the intended use of the technology should drive the purchase. Like you I'm sure, over many years I've had friends ask me what computer they should get. It always depends on what you need it for. You don't buy a powerful desktop if all you need is simple word processing. So, I wish the schools would say exactly what they plan to do with the computers before actually purchasing them. If it's mostly for textbooks/reading then Amazon's tablets will likely make the most sense (half the cost of an iPad with accessibility to Android apps). If it's for preparation for business apps/presentations then either a Mac (not necessarily iPad) or Win 7/8 PC/tablet. As for where technology is headed, we both know the answer: smaller, faster, cheaper, and more connected. A couple years ago, I would've said more open but each platform seems to be creating itself a walled garden - especially Apple.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 4:19 p.m.

@1bit - I did a quick and dirty Google search for &quot;total cost of ownership apple versus pc&quot;. You might notice I also suggested &quot;you can Google it on your own&quot;. I chose a couple options that occurred early in the search from more neutral outlets (i.e., ZDNet instead of Apple or IBM). So, find some newer TCO comparisons. Remarkably, or not, I do agree with you that curriculum should be the driving force behind technology choices at the school district. Just as a corporation's business focus should drive it's technology choices. My aim in my post was not to advocate one platform over the other (as an IT person I consider myself hardware and OS agnostic), but to look at the whole picture. Compare closely held assumptions against other viewpoints and information.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 3:16 p.m.

Nice one- recommending two year old articles on tech information is hilarious! Enterprises still mostly run PCs. But it is irrelevant to the current conversation. The real question that should be asked is what exactly does the school plan to do with the new computers and how exactly they will be integrated into the curriculum. The choice of form factor and technology will be much more apparent. Silly hype that Apple may have &quot;phenomenal&quot; digital books is not a good reason. Amazon will have the same or better books and their tablets will cost less. Framing this as a PC vs Mac argument is pointless and narrowsighted as it ignores other alternatives.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 2:52 p.m.

@smokeblwr - Take a look at TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) of Apples vs. PCs. Here are a few articles, but you can Google it on your own: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Take a look and then make up your mind. It never hurts to have some actual facts...


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 1:50 p.m.

I wonder if the millage is actually needed? At the present time, it sounds like the school district is buying technology for yesterday and not tomorrow. Maybe by re-budgeting the resources the schools could become leaner and more in tune with technology. Sounds like the school district is run by old people using the &quot;Jitter Bug&quot; phone!


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 2:41 p.m.

@xmo - Please better define your arguments. Some specific examples of how they are &quot;buying technology for yesterday and not tomorrow.&quot;


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 1:32 p.m.

At $45 million, it seems like the best choice would be to give every student their own iPad. They can carry all of their school books with them, plus hundreds of classic books, reference tools, and applications. The biggest problem is how to handle lost, stolen, and broken devices. We all know that day is coming - might as well start now. &quot;The best way to predict the future is to invent it.&quot; -Alan Kay


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 12:53 p.m.

I am waiting for the administration to present a comprehensive data review of how technology is being used in every classroom in the district now. I would like to know what specific improvements are needed for the basic job of teaching the curriculum to students at all levels of learning. I support the superintendent reaching out to businesses and professionals. It's generous of the professionals to give their time freely. Do the administrators at Balas know how technology is being used now in every classroom and how it should be used to teach students at all levels what they need to learn? Superintendent Green's enthusiasm about I-Pads and Apple is great, but where is the comprehensive report from her well-paid staff telling us about their first-hand knowledge of every building in the district. Where is the report that shows in with data how this district falls short compared to other districts in Michigan and in the country who work with similar budget constraints and have better outcomes with their students at graduation? Many textbooks the district uses already offer free online access and web tools. How many teachers in the district take full advantage of these free resources and offer the access to students? How many librarians in all the buildings use this information? How many counselors at the middle and high school level and resource room teachers take full advantage of currently available online resources for time management that are free – or paid for by the district's purchase of Power School? Students are given planners or parents pay PTSO groups for planners. Some teachers do a great job of teaching kids critical organization skills. Assistive technology for special education students has been available from the WISD for a long time. Why do some teachers and resource rooms use assistive technology and others don't? I see the main problems in the district solved first by better administrative management


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 4:40 p.m.

Great questions here. I agree- administration is key to making technology more than another buzz word. Data should be collected to evaluate if technology is increasing learning. Alas, most school districts implement costly technology plans without collecting data from pilot groups. Also this requires administration to be in classrooms and be active with how teachers are using the technology. I just don't think this occurs with consistency (in my experience as a teacher).


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 12:30 p.m.

This is very good. Getting help from professionals who are in the industry is good. BUT... This is the wrong industry to ask for help from. AAPS does not have a problem with having money. They have a problem with spending priorities. There are many examples from midnight raises, to a massive raise for the new superintendent to the misspending of over $12 million dollars on Varsity facilities, to mishandling benefits and giving away $700,000 to .... You get the idea. Why should we hand them more money to mishandle? If they had spent the money from the bond fund and the sinking fund on the items that they could, the technology millage would NOT be required. The sinking fund was supposed to make room in the general fund to keep the technology up to date. The other problem is that most grade schools have a single cart of 30 computers, yet there are over 8,000 computers in the plan for 16,000 students and about 2,000 staff members. So why do 300 children have to share only 30 computers?


Tue, Mar 6, 2012 : 5:59 p.m.

Pleae tell us what building you were at DonBee.


Tue, Mar 6, 2012 : 12:17 a.m.

My kids have computers in their elementary classroom. One has 6 computers in it and the other has 4. There have been 4-6 computers in each classroom they have had each year. Sounds like AA needs to distribute them more evenly if some schools only have 1 or 2.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 10:28 p.m.

I was not a Bryant and I counted the laptops.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 7:57 p.m.

@DonBee - I agree that that is a significant difference in numbers. And it certainly does not jibe with the numbers I understood were in place in the elementaries. All of the teachers have MacBook laptops, so any desktop computers in the classrooms would/should be for student use. Certainly computers in the office would be for staff use only I am curious... Were you at Bryant? I understand that because of the partnership between Bryant and Pattengill much more of the computer hardware is now located at Pattengill. As I understand it, that is because the higher grade levels are concentrated at Pattengill.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 7:27 p.m.

Interesting reply alarictoo. I took the time to do a walk down in a grade school before replying. In 2 classrooms there were 2 computers, in the rest 1. It was obvious, the teacher, not the children used the single computer in those classrooms. There was 1 cart of 30 (+/-) computers. There were 5 computers in the library. There was a locked &quot;lab&quot; with about 25 computers. There were 6 computers in the office area (I assume they are only for staff). So I found a lot fewer than the ratio of computers you listed in your response. The student count suggests roughly 100 machines in the building for students - the reality is closer to 60. So I return to my question, having found more computers than I expected, where are the rest of the computers that make up the over 8,000?


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 2:28 p.m.

@DonBee - &quot;So why do 300 children have to share only 30 computers?&quot; The answer is, they do not. Most, if not all, elementary classrooms have 3 - 6 computers in them. Also, all elementaries have at least one lab of hard-wired desktop computers. They are old and in need of replacement, but they are there. As AAPS' goal is a 1:3 computer-to-student ratio, a 30 computer cart and a 30 computer lab make up 60% of that number for a 300 student school. Classroom and Media Center computers would comprise the rest.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 12:27 p.m.

Great idea. I'm glad to see the AAPS reaching out to local businesses and experts in this matter, and equally glad to see there are people willing to donate their time and expertise. Thanks to those helping out!


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 12:01 p.m.

Buying Apple products is perhaps the only thing that would make me not vote for this millage. It's like buying a Porsche for your daughter's 16th birthday - very nice, but needlessly extravagant. iPads are inherently overpriced, quickly obsolete (the iPad 3 will be announced this week) and likely too fragile in the hands of many children. More durable and less expensive alternatives abound. Moreover, being locked into the Apple ecosystem may increase costs over time relative to more open-sourced alternatives or even Microsoft products for that matter. With the advent of HTML5, there is a good chance much of the educational software will run on multiple platforms. Here's an idea for the group: don't think of the millage as you have all this money to spend so spend it now. Instead, plan on being as economical as possible with the money and saving much (or most) of it for hardware upgrades, maintenence and replacements over the next 5-10 years.


Tue, Mar 6, 2012 : 2:13 a.m.

Not about Mac vs PC but there are a gazillion PCs older than 2005 still going strong. In fact, those PCs can be upgraded to Windows 8 and run software from the 1990s to currently. Those fancy eMacs? Well, Apple decided to change from PowerPC to Intel and you can't upgrade beyond OS X 10.5.9. This is something Apple has ALWAYS done. For the past 30 years! They create something new and shiny and you have to upgrade or get passed by.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 10:28 p.m.

&quot;Buying Apple products is perhaps the only thing that would make me not vote for this millage. It's like buying a Porsche for your daughter's 16th birthday - very nice, but needlessly extravagant.&quot; Say what you want, but obviously the school has gotten more than their money's worth out of that lab full of eMacs shown in this article and a previous article. The last of the Emacs were produced in 2005. Lets see a few Windows boxes that old, much less lab full of Windows boxes from 2005 that are still running. Also, like mentioned above, Macs are much easier to support and aren't plagued by malware like your average Windows box so far less support is needed.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 4:03 p.m.

@1bit - &quot;Apple is a hardware company. They make money by getting you to buy new hardware. They will do it again this week.&quot; Yes. And so is every other computer/electronics company. Your argument here really is nothing but noise. As for your other quote: '&quot;Who knew back in 2000 we'd be walking around doing everything on our phones and regular computers would be virtually obsolete?&quot;. Actually, anyone who uses computers would know this. The computers will be obsolete very quickly.' Your answer is a misrepresentation of what Kontoyiannakis (who does not work for AAPS) was saying. Of course everyone knows that computers obsolesce quickly. What no one could predict was how quickly phones and mobile devices have proliferated in the last 12 years. If you do any web research on this, the proliferation of wireless mobile devices caught the entire IT industry and the telecom companies by surprise. I, also, am not here to argue for or against Apple products. I like some and dislike others. What I am looking at is TCO, on which we heartily disagree.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 2:38 p.m.

You're fooling yourself on the &quot;total cost of ownership&quot; thing. Sure, from an IT standpoint there are less viruses on Macs and that is a consideration but not the only one. Apple is a hardware company. They make money by getting you to buy new hardware. They will do it again this week. @alarictoo: They also do not state how much money will be saved. The most telling quote, which I left out to be kind was &quot;Who knew back in 2000 we'd be walking around doing everything on our phones and regular computers would be virtually obsolete?". Actually, anyone who uses computers would know this. The computers will be obsolete very quickly. You will get much more bang for your buck buying something a third the price of an Apple and upgrading it every three years. I'm not here to argue against Apple products. I like them. But they are not an effective use of taxpayer dollars and the assumptions in the article are things that have been said for 30 years. It's history repeating itself and it's tiresome.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 2:20 p.m.

@ChrisW - An excellent summarization. Most people who are used to going out and buying a home computer have little idea of TCO (Total Cost of Ownership). But, in a district that has thousands of computers the cost savings realized by spending less time on virus/malware control, etc. add up very quickly. @local - Also, good points. One would almost think (nudgenudgewinkwink) that @1Bit had not actually read the article.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 1:09 p.m.

The benefit of Macs over PCs has always been the lower cost of support. Windows has always had virus and administration issues that, over time, cost as much as the hardware. iPads cost half the price of a Mac laptop, or about the same as a cheap PC laptop, are more interactive, better for reading books, but less flexible overall. Android tablets can be more flexible, especially in customizing software installations, but iPads have incredible 3rd party software not yet available on Android. The choices are...complicated.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 12:25 p.m.

Stated towards the bottom, &quot;But he said the number 1 thing the district is doing right is not spending all the money upfront.&quot; I think AAPS has thought through the process and what they would like to achieve with this bond. Apple products are expensive, but that is what kids are familiar with presently. The big issue is still going to be voters looking at how the administration blatantly gave themselves all raises recently, how the Super is making 65k more then previous Super, and how we tend to spend money on PEG and NWEA at a cost that affects class size and program cuts.