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The Costly Issues of Two or More Operating Systems in a School

Thinking about how iPads create finacial and privacy issues for schools.

Protecting a child's identity, location and online history from exploitation and surveilance by Apple and it's third party apps is a huge job that falls within the responsibilites of the school. The iPad isn't designed to make the job of protecting the child easy. It is designed for single person use outside of institutional structures. The iPad is designed as a consumer product and though it is often hyped as being an educational tool, the control of this tool remains largely in the hands of Apple. That means, the inner workings, and data flow, remain largely out of the control of the educational authority. Even though the iPad is purchased to be the property of the Educational Authority, it is controlled by Apple, the proprietary company, who remains in control of how an iPad can be used, what software is allowed to be used, who can use it, and how much privacy is allowed.
The iPad is a completely different and independant operating system from the Mac, or PC, demanding equal resources and support. Can your school afford it?

When two or more operating systems run within the same environment they will reveal irreconcilable biases that will render them ineffective and disrupt the environment.

When schools are faced with the ineffectiveness of blending different operating systems, they will increase the amount of resources available for the offending technology inorder to make it work more successfully. The school's financial and human resources may (or most often will) become focussed on creating a reasonably functional technologocial environment. System Admins will work towards getting the various computers and monitors and networks to communicate with the iPad; teachers will be requested to alter their classroom practices to perform 'work-arounds' to appease the iPad's system, and numerous extraneous and costly interfaces will be purchased to circumvent the proprietary design (the dongles for USB, HDMI, VGA and the like that attach to monitors and ethernets, for which outputs don't exist on the iPad). Clearly when one adds it all up, the finacial cost is tangible and large, though this cost is great the more disconcerting thing is that the financial cost is taken from other educational programs and practices and given to Apple. be diminished through greater resources being expended to keep them functioning within the shared environment. Different Operating Systems will not live together happily, nor for long.

It is untrue that digital content moves between operating systems and remains the same even if the operating systems are made by the same company. The idea of perfect synchronization between systems is a falsehood. - Codes must change to run on different systems, that's part of the bias of the system. A newspaper can not be a television station no matter how much the content overlaps. Media is locked into certain forms with certain inherent biases. Different devices produce and present subtly different media. The media changes with the device, and the USER will change their actions and their environment to support their new form of media.

For different communication devices to appear compatible within an environment, the environment will alter its values, expending greater resources to keep the conflicting systems working.

Different Technologies don't always work together, or don't work together easily when you're running more than one system in a single environment. Teachers continue to press buttons only to be stymied by the incompatibility of iPads with the other infrastructure. The iCloud can be seen as a mediator in this process, or it can be seen as yet another means of manipulation by the large corporation to control the technological purchases of schools, students and the broader community. Another cost (there is a cost) for the school, another complexity for the System Admin and another step towards the ongoing domination of educational processes by a private corporation.

Does a school have the resources to run two or more operating systems with different input/output configurations within their single environment?
Can a school afford the time, energy and financial cost to set up all other connected technology so that it runs from Cellphones, Tablets and Laptop computers? Can we afford to set up a projector to run off an iPad via WiFi, as well as off a laptop via VGA, DVI, HDMI and WiFi? Can we afford to train staff and students to use both systems? Will students learn how to keyboard on a laptop with all their fingers and type on an iPad with thumbs? Will teachers be able to unlock various file formats when the students deliver work to them, if they can deliver similar files to the same place using different devices at all? Different operating systems upgrade and update at different times, even when compatibility is promised it generally means an upgrade. Once a school has committed to iPads it begins a process of change to meet the needs of the iPads. Policies on student privacy change, add-on devices are purchased, dongles for hdmi and vga and Apple TV boxes are purchased, system admin's time is divided between the new operating system and the other operating systems in the environment, applications are purchased, and licensing issues run rampid, ALL these changes are driven by a company that has little real concern for public education, all these changes moving control of the educational process away from educationalists and towards businessmen. The technological model - which should be based on the students' gaining an understanding of digital literacy, becomes a seducer of minds towards the further consumption of technology. What does the school get? It gets to ride the marketting hype, spending large sums of money on the Emporer's New Clothes..... If you have iPads in your school, please take a moment to add up all the expenses attached this device, and then compare it to the outcomes.

When two or more technology/communication systems run inside a single environment and are used for the same purpose:
the two systems will reveal irreconcilable biases that will render them ineffective at communicating in the greater environment other than in ways that are specific to their biases,
they will demand extra resources and changes to the environment so that it responds to their biases,
they will alter the values, aim, focus and/or purpose of the environment to gain more resources in order to obscure their biases.

iPads aren't fun.