Monday, June 27, 2011

Frustrations at the Curve

I find it annoying that I am thwarted at every turn this summer testing new tools. Not by my non-Digital Native status. Not by my lack of formal education in the computer sciences. Not by gender, age, ethnicity, location… or any of the other demographics usually surveyed to determine computer comfort and proficiency. No, I am thwarted by the fact that I update my browser.

Yes, I run IE9, Firefox 4.0.1 and Chrome. This is apparently odd amongst educators as currently I am 2 for 12 on web-based products working on my computer. I am not even going to start on my mobile devices (Blackberry and iPad). No, today’s rant is simply an open request to educational vendors. Contrary to what you appear to think, schools are not in the dark ages. We do upgrade our operating systems. We do upgrade our production tools. And we do upgrade our browsers. I will not buy your product if I have to wander the building looking for an old machine running an outdated browser (and now that re-imaging is complete I can’t even do that as every machine here is running either IE9 or Firefox 4.0.1).

I spend a great deal of time with curriculum and technology integration. The annoyance of having to roll back browsers in order to run outdated vendor created products does nothing for student learning. In fact, I would have to hinder student learning (Firefox 4.0.1 has some wicked web developer tools) in order to run web-based learning environments which refuse to keep up with the times. Brebeuf is going to a BYOT model. Our students will learn on a multitude of devices running all sorts of operating systems, apps, software and browsers. The days of platform uniformity are slowly but surely ending. I believe those vendors who embrace flexibility and fluidity will survive. The rest of you will not.

BTW: Firefox 5 is on the horizon... Just saying.