Our school board is once again under tremendous pressure to cut costs - and once again it doesn't seem problem to make the cuts required without hurting kids!
So its time to look at options that don't hurt our students.
The first place to look is to seriously consider the offerings from Google.
Google outlines their value proposition - Free, Secure
FREE - well of course that is a huge benefit and the numbers are significant for TDSB.
The only question is do we move staff also to the free documents?
In my experience very few office workers use the full capabilities of Microsoft Office - and would be well served with many of the FREE Open Source Options. The only barrier I see - well change - certainly not capability or ease of use.
There are many other benefits to using Google Apps - we can save on servers and our storage costs - which again leads to more funds to save programs.
If we started moving over email - then every student, every parent can have access to our Academic Workspace which we can then make our investments in - so that parents, students and staff have secure places to post school related information.
So what are the downsides? Not lost jobs - there is too many great ideas in the IT department that we can re-focus on.
Would staff and students notice? Probably not - after a day or 2 of using Google apps - they wouldn't even remember that there was a change in software.
So it's time to move to open source where we can! We need to keep our corporate data secure but that can be handled through all sorts of options.