Question: Why do all the high school computers use Internet Explorer 6 (which is hated by web designers and rarely used because it has little to no security) when there are free alternatives that work better and are more secure (for example, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, and Safari)?
Answer: Although security is an important consideration for our district's web browsers, another consideration is Starweb, our district's web-based student database. Starweb houses all of the essential data on our 2,000 students, including demographic and academic information, such as report cards. All faculty members, administrators and school support staff access Starweb on a regular basis.
When Starweb first came out, it did not work with Internet Explorer (IE) 7 or IE8 -- and it experiences similar issues with many of the free alternatives you mentioned. A patch has to be added to both the IE7 and IE8 browsers in order for Starweb to work properly. Currently, most computers in the district use IE7, although some still run IE6 and some have been updated to IE8. Over the summer, our information technology staff plans to upgrade the rest of the district's computers to IE8.
Keep in mind that schools, like most public entities, are slower than the private sector to adopt new technologies and make upgrades to existing technologies. Keep in mind, too, that IE8 has only recently completed beta testing.
- answered by Marco Zumbolo, Assistant Superintendent for Business and Operations
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