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Great discussion...  
 
Some comments from a "push the envelope" technology integrator:
 
Re: Standardization:

*	I know Vermonters love local control, but ...  As I mentioned a
while ago, I think we (all Vermont school districts) should delegate
responsibility to a group of our best hardware geeks to identify the
standard equipment that we all would purchase and use, in each of
several categories, such as:

	*	MultiMedia desktop workstation (PC, Mac,
Linux)--high-end for video production, etc.
	*	Standard desktop workstation (PC, Mac, Linux)
	*	Relatively high-end laptop (PC, Mac, Linux)--for video
production, etc. where portability is necessary
	*	Standard laptop  (PC, Mac, Linux)
	*	Netbook...
	*	B&W Laser Printer (heavy duty cycle, medium duty cycle,
light duty cycle)
	*	Color Printer(s)...
	*	Switches and other network infrastructure components
	*	Servers...
	*	Document cameras...
	*	Cameras...
	*	etc.

*	Would it be a challenge to reach common agreements?  Yes!
*	Would it take less total time and effort to reach common
agreements (and update them each year) than it does to replicate such
decision making numerous times in all the districts around the state?
I've got to believe so!
*	Would we have the time to really thoroughly explore different
models (e.g., do side-by-side comparisons) if we divided up the
responsibility between different work groups?  E.g., one group to make
decisions re computers, one group to make decisions re document cameras,
one group to make decisions re cameras, etc.  You bet ya! 
*	Would we save $ by being able to do statewide purchases?  Gotta
think so!
*	Would all the tech folks learning about and supporting the same
gear result in a massive mutually supportive user group that could help
each other with even the most nitty gritty tech problems?  Yup!
*	Would this likely result in much more robust and stable systems
for teachers and students, which is what us educator types really want?
Absolutely!
*	Do we have the guts to give up our local control if it would
result in significant benefits to all of us?  I hope so?
*	How about a strand at the next Techie Conference to explore how
we could establish such an exalted priesthood of techies that we could
all trust to make decisions for all of us? 
	
	
*	If we do something like this, we need to think about how we can
still support exploring new, non-standard equipment.  We need to be able
to innovate and try new things, but it would be great to have a clear
process to explore and evaluate such equipment, rather than let it
happen randomly.  I'm wary about building too much bureaucracy, but I
also recognize the incredible benefits of collaborating rather than have
each of us doing our own thing.

Steve

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