Research | News

Survey: Multiple OS Platforms Rule in School

The typical K-12 school district supports three computing platforms for instruction and at least two platforms for administration functions. Those may include Windows, Google Chrome, Google Android and Apple operating systems.

In fact, flavors of all four platforms are in use for instructional purposes at 28 percent of districts and for administrative uses at 22 percent of districts. Three platforms — Windows, Apple and Android — are the primary picks for instruction at 27 percent of districts and at 17 percent of districts for the administrative work. Windows and Apple together dominate for instruction in 28 percent of districts and for administrative activities at 27 percent of districts. A single operating system — Windows — rules in instruction at 17 percent of districts and in administration at 34 percent of districts.

That's what CDW-G found when it surveyed 175 IT professionals within public school districts. (That sample size has a margin of error of plus or minus 7.42 percent at a 95 percent confidence level.)

Windows still dominates overall for instruction, with 83 percent of districts turning to Microsoft's operating system. A slightly higher number — 86 percent — choose it for administration purposes.

In a multi-platform environment, 46 percent of IT professionals report being challenged in finding the in-house expertise to support all of them. Forty-five percent cite improving or upgrading infrastructure and 44 percent list professional development for instruction as challenges.

Those surveyed also offered advice to their peers regarding the support of multiple operating systems. Advised one respondent: "Consider all stakeholders. In K-12, it's all about the curriculum. If the teachers and students won't use it, then it is fruitless." Suggested another, "Do your homework and check for app conflicts across Windows and Android." And a third simply said, "Use a slow, targeted rollout."

Additional details about this brief survey are available in an infographic on CDW's site.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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