We need to trim our site budget. At the same time, I'd like to steer staff and students toward using some of the new Web-based applications I've read about. I'm wondering if we couldn't save licensing fees and move forward through exclusive use of online applications. What do you think?
The proliferation of free online applications, particularly those offering free, easy collaboration features, makes it tempting for schools and districts to make the switch from software stored on a hard drive to Web-based applications. However, if the network goes down or there's not enough bandwidth to support all users, you will have problems. So you need a back-up plan.
For example, you might download a free Open Source application such as Open Office that can be used in conjunction with the Web-based applications. When all's well, staff and students can work online and back up their files. Then if there is a connectivity problem, they can use Open Office or other free application stored locally to keep working without missing a beat.
Submitted by: Susan Brooks-Young
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