Other voices: Davidson County leaders go high-tech
Most surveys put the percentage of Americans who own a cellphone around 85 to 90 percent ó meaning about nine in 10 people. Will tablet computers reach a similar percentage in the near future? Time will tell, but governing bodies in Davidson County certainly are jumping on the bandwagon.
First the Davidson County Board of Commissioners decided to purchase nine Apple iPad 2 devices last month. County commissioners, the county manager and assistant county manager will all have the devices. The Lexington City Board of Education seems poised to follow suit after a discussion Tuesday night. Board members should have the devices by next school year.
Proponents of the switch in both bodies point out how much paper will be saved by providing electronic versions of documents rather than paper copies. Staff time can also be redirected to other purposes besides copying, collating, collecting, stapling and delivering agendas and the supporting documentation. Rather than having to keep track of a large volume of paper, commissioners and school board members can retain numerous copies of agendas and documents in electronic form on their iPads, creating easy accessibility. Over time, some cost savings may be realized, too, with reduced paper costs.
Many futurists have dreamed of a paperless society. And while that still seems many years off, any reduction in the volume of paper simply helps the environment. …
Some potential pitfalls do exist. Will future devices be able to read the file formats used today (usually PDF)? One would think so, but technological changes can sometimes leave dominant formats behind (think eight-track tapes). Those who like to take notes on their papers will have to either start carrying a notepad with them or become comfortable typing notes on the iPad itself. Some potential to skirt public records and open meetings laws exist, too, so leaders and their attorneys will have to be careful that they continue to follow the law. It might even be tempting to fire up a game during a boring portion of a meeting.
Overall, though, taking advantage of proven, widely accepted technology offers a step in the right direction. School leaders, especially, tout the use of technology in the classroom, so for school board members to follow that same path makes sense and sets an example for the system. The use of technology also portrays Davidson as a progressive county in which governments and school boards take advantage of opportunities to conduct their business in more efficient and environmentally friendly ways.
ó The Dispatch
Common sense (Or uncommon wisdom, as the case may be) Only Robinson Crusoe had everything done by Friday. ó Unknown read more