I will admit that living overseas, I have become a Grey’s Anatomy fan.  I love it when they say, “seriously?” on the show.  It just makes me laugh.

All day today, I have been saying “seriously?” as I’ve been gobsmacked by the huge undertaking of moving to a 1:1 laptop school.  It’s the buzz in international schools lately.  Blair Peterson wrote about it beautifully in his latest post on LeaderTalk.  Add us to his list because about a month ago, we sent sent out an RFP (Request for Proposal) out to three vendors in China.  The RFP was very detailed about what we are looking for with our 1:1 laptop program.  The way I see it, we need at least these four things:

  1. Great computer specs
  2. User-friendly software
  3. Technical Support
  4. Professional Development

We aren’t asking for much! :)

Thee companies submitted their 85 page proposals to us in sealed envelopes last week and then were given exactly one hour today to present to our Technology Action Committee.  Now forgive me if I’m sharing too much here, but it’s just my opinion on how everybody did during the presentation:

What they did do…

Company 1: They came in and sold the computer to us by telling us about how the company started, where they are located around the world, and talked a lot about the great deal they would give us on price.

Company 2: They came with a huge team of 8 presenters.  They sold the computer to us by addressing education’s specific needs, like a longer battery life.  The talked about some of the available software companies out there that we could contact to meet our basic needs. They sold the service to us by promising two technicians on each campus to help troubleshoot. They promised professional development… sort of…. with an extra cost.

Company 3: They sold the computer to us by showing us the software capabilities, technical support and professional development.  They were not mutually exclusive as each area depended on the other in their minds.  The software was included and we don’t have to contact other companies for the software. The technical support would change with the times – more in the beginning, but always at least one English speaking technician on campus. Professional Development – they covered the development of all education constituents: Administrators, Teachers, Parents, Student, IT People…. all included.

Honestly, there were some tough questions like, how do you help a school of over 2000 students switch from one platform to another platform?  Do they really understand the technical support that is going to be required to roll this out properly?  To me, some of the companies answered the questions well and I want to believe that if they say they will do something, then they will do it.  I’m an optimist!

Tune in – this is a big one.  Are we seriously going to do this?! :)

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4 Comments to “1:1 – Seriously?”

  1. Thanks for the blog update. It’s sure interesting following the progression of the meeting through out the day. I find it interesting that none of the companies are tapping into the Web 2.0 revolution. I’ve critized our vendor on similar issues and have communicated the needs of moving from desktop to cloud software. While our vendor does have cloud software it’s quite limited and is really designed for the individual.

    We like our vendor’s hardware as it’s a solid product and very hard to break it’s software. For the most part we provide passwords to all our account holders. Allowing them to install what ever they like and exploring as far tas they like to go. In effect all our users become an extension of the IT department, with many pitching in when help is needed.

  2. aldecardy says:

    Thanks for your thoughts Brian! Notice I left out the heading what they DIDN’T do or say…. there was a bit of that from all companies as well. Can’t wait to talk with you more about this at Learning 2.008!

  3. Chad Lehman says:

    It was really interesting to hear the selling points. I wonder if anyone on the teams were educators or had that background. You would think they would try and talk education when selling to educators. Can you share the companies? Keep us posted on what ends up happening.

  4. […] My school has just wrapped up what I call Phase 1 of our Mac rollout to students and teachers.  Rolling out nearly 1300 student Mac laptops in grades 7-10 and 400+ staff laptops pk-12 has been exhilarating and exhausting at the same time.  We have been preparing for this rollout for three years… actually probably longer but the preparations really took on some structure three years ago when we moved to a tech integration model.  Everything became a reality when we brought the computer companies in to present to the school and our community. […]