Time to Upgrade? Maybe... Maybe Not

A parent on our site technology committee is suggesting that we start installing the new version of Microsoft Office and the Windows Vista operating system on all site computers. What are the pros and cons of these products? Should we plan to make the switch over the summer?

Microsoft is offering two major new releases: 2007 Microsoft Office and Windows Vista. Both products include significant changes from earlier versions. While greater security and user enhancements are attractive, schools will need to check for compatibility with other software and hardware. I've heard that this is particularly true if you decide to run Windows Vista on computers currently running earlier operating systems. In addition, because even experienced computer users may initially be thrown by the different look and feel of this software, schools need to have a plan for training teachers and other staff in use of these new products.

If you intend to purchase new computers in the near future, you will need to deal with compatibility and training issues sooner than later. But even if you decide to take a wait-and-see approach, it would be wise to consider a small pilot of the software to get a handle on challenges and benefits.

Learn more by visiting Microsoft and talk with district technology support staff to get their recommendations.

Submitted by: Susan Brooks-Young

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