We Got a Cocoon
A big loss came in regard to Office products. In the first meeting, I offered a very thorough presentation on the OpenDocument format and the reasons why we, as a school, should adopt it as a standard. And again, I emphasized this point - that even if we adopt Windows as a platform on all of our machines, we should use an Office suite that supports the OpenDocument format for administrative, teacher, and student work. Unfortunately, it was evident that those in charge were not interested in learning the facts regarding file formats. Windows got confused with OpenDocument which got confused with "open source" which got confused with...and so on. "People should have choice! We shouldn't force them to use a particular format!" we were told without rhyme or reason. And so thousands of dollars will be spent equipping the new Windows machines with a product that doesn't even support an open standard. There was no further opportunity to state the case so all I could do was reflect on the irony in believing proprietary formats offer "choice." Disheartening, to say the least.
In the end though, there was a small but very significant victory. It was as if the insanity of forcing the entire school to adopt Microsoft products finally dawned upon the powers that be. Perhaps enough committee members rallied hard enough to push the door open just a crack. Regardless, that crack is significant. I can now teach my classes using a free platform as one lab - my classroom - will function fully in a free software environment. I was told that "this isn't a good decision" but a "compromise." I didn't see a point in responding. So this means that all students will receive instruction using free software. There will be one haven in a sea of proprietary technology. I'll make the best of what we now have. We now have a small cocoon.