May I ask for your quick thoughts regarding mixing PCs and Macs in a 1:1 deployment? We will be launching our 1:1 in August of 2015, and we (the technology committee on which I serve) think there could be some issues with mixing platforms. May I ask: "What are the potential negatives to consider before going to a hybrid environment?"
We think mixing platforms means your software options can be limited to web based software (like Google docs) instead of local installations of Microsoft Office. (I know...there is a cloud based version of Office...). What has been your experience or what are your thoughts on this? We're currently 99% Mac. Thank you for any information you can provide.
Philosophically, I like the idea of each person being able to use the device he or she prefers. Such a practice honors the individual's learning styles and behaviors.
But on a practical side, a single platform makes much more sense, given the fixed amount of funding one has to spend on technology. A single platform maximizes training opportunities, support and maintenance, and security. (My last school was 99% Macs and my current school is 99% PCs. These economies apply to either platform.) I will only adopt software personally (and encourage it in schools) that is Windows/Mac cross platform. (Sorry iBook Author, Explorer, Keynote, etc.)
I would say that the upcoming decision about computer OSs will not be Mac vs PC, but a machine-based OS (Windows or MacOS) vs a cloud-based OS (Chromebooks or Chromeboxes). When a Chrome device can do about 95% of what a regular computer can do at half the cost in purchasing and 1/10th amount of support, it seems a great way to put more tech in the hands of more kids.
Given a fantasy world of unlimited tech support, unlimited hardware and software budgets, a mixed platform would offer personal choice of desktop, laptop, or tablet; operating system; and software. But I've yet to work in such a world.
And I would say more than ever, machines are uniformly able to do most computing tasks. The choice of a Mac or PC, a tablet or a Chromebook, a desktop or a laptop reflects personal experiences (and hence comfort levels), rarely the need to do specific tasks.
Are tech departments being stubborn or practical in supporting a single platform and thereby reducing support costs?