Welcome to Version 1.0 of the annual special issue of DISTRICT ADMINISTRATION devoted to the Readers' Choice Top 100 K12 Products of 2007-08. The products featured on these pages appeared first in our online products database, which launched in early 2007, and the readers of DA magazine recommended many of the choices. The readers also helped us select the best products of the year in various categories, as explained below, and we are delighted to publish this special issue to share their expertise with K12 colleagues throughout the nation.
Better Purchase Decisions
Early in my career, when I joined a school district as a department chair, I was shocked to find that its curriculum selection committee wasted a lot of money purchasing what in my opinion was one of the worst textbook series on the market. Since I also had to live with the bad choice, I told my students to leave the books in their lockers and worked all year to devise my own curriculum. While this was an extreme case, and few teachers would want to write their own materials, committee members had been hampered by inexperience and a limited pool of options and so did the best they could. As Conrad Berdeen, an administrator in Connecticut and Massachusetts, later observed, "Educators make better choices when they know that superior applications and products exist."
And that's where DISTRICT ADMINISTRATION and its surrounding professional community come in. Having up-to-date, accurate and usable information is of paramount importance in making wise purchase decisions, and that is the purpose of our greatly expanded and growing online products database, maintained by products editor Ken Royal. The resource lists thousands of K12 products, so whether you seek to purchase computers, textbooks or management software, turn to the database for a wealth of options.
We also asked readers to help us choose the "Top 100" products for this special issue by using a unique interactive star rating system. We're proud of this first edition, a collaborative effort, which includes related articles on budgeting techniques and e-procurement, but we want to do even better next year. Please let us know your thoughts on the process and the results.
Here then are the Readers' Choice Top 100 K12 Products of 2007-08, grouped alphabetically in the categories of hardware, software and Internet products, along with our complementary "editors' choice" of noteworthy books and materials.
And now may I have the first envelope please ...
Odvard Egil Dyrli, ,EDITOR-IN-CHIEF