Looks like trouble brewing for educational technology. Republicans are in charge at the Federal level and for us in North Carolina, the State level. In the diagram, Education funding for the Feds is one of the small, orange slices. You have no worries if you believe in the military. They will continue to receive money for technology, have no fear. But our students, nope.
So of course, I am a little bitter. Not sure how this will effect my own shop, but it will in some factor. However, I do think this will help us move to open source applications and an open source mindset. For so long we purchased software and tools because we could. Now, I see us looking more at using our reduced funds for hardware, looking then at open source tools for our software needs. I see things like Libre Office (Open Office’s forked project) being used instead of Microsoft Office, saving $50 per machine we purchase. On paper that is not much, but when you multiply it by about 300 computers purchased a year, you get a quick $15,000. Gimp instead of Photoshop is a no-brainer. With web design, I cannot lie, I did purchase Adobe’s Dreamweaver suite. I used Dreamweaver back when Macromedia owned it, so we go way back. Fortunately, though, schools do not need the functionality and can use something like Kompozer.
And what about Creative Commons? We purchase things like annual licenses to use movies, music, and clip art. Why spend a few hundred dollars when you get access to Creative Commons resources, such as those on flickr? And then what about all the Public Domain content? The Library of Congress’ collection alone could be used to pretty much teach any and all concepts.
So yes, it will be tight. We may lose some staff. We probably will lose funding. But we can also save money, and that’s what we educators need to show now. Not after the fact, but if we can show we really want to help cut budgets by shifting to some open source options, we may do a much better job of keeping what we currently possess.