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Just Say No

The British ministry in charge of educational technology doesn’t think much of the latest products from the Big Monopoly.

The agency is recommending that schools not upgrade current computers to Windows Vista and only to use if a new computer comes with that OS.

They also advise skipping Office 2007 altogether unless the new version is implemented on an “institution-wide” basis.

The concerns over Vista primarily have to do with the high cost of upgrading computers to enable them to effectively run the latest version of Windows.

As to Office,

Interoperability is a major source of concern for Becta, which is concerned that the Office Open XML file format used by Office 2007 is not fully supported on any other product or platform. In contrast, the ODF format used by OpenOffice.org and a handful of other products is an approved international standards. Becta dings Office 2007 for not “effectively” supporting ODF and for its efforts to make OOXML an additional international standard.

On a much smaller scale, we are discussing the same “upgrade” or not issues about Vista and Office in our district.

But are there any features in this software, or many other “new” packages, that make them essential?

Would anyone really notice, or care, if we just said no to new software versions for a while?

software, upgrade, office, windows

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3 Comments

  1. It’s vitally important for schools to at least install compatible “readers” for Office 2007. They’re free to download off of the Microsoft Web site.

    Otherwise, assign a PowerPoint presentation to your class and you’ll have trouble with their .pptx extension.

    Word 2007 is, at this point, almost unusable unless you know what you’re doing because of its default .docx format.

  2. Tim

    We could always include instructions for the students who are using Office 2007 to save the document in the previous format (.doc, .ppt). It’s not difficult and, for nearly everybody, there’s no real advantage to the newer format anyway.

    Or, even better, we could adopt products that use open formats.

  3. Dave

    Until we get more standards with built-in future compatibility, problems will happen when school software and consumer software get too far apart. For example, should your school’s web page look good and work well on 90% of your school’s computers and 10% of parents’ computers, or vice versa? Making it work on both is an option, but will take about four times as long.

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