Saturday, January 5, 2008

Mac vs PC in Education and beyond

In the past month or so I have seen the Apple vs PC war in full force in our school district and I am wondering what other schools are doing out there.

Two teachers at my school came to me in the beginning of the year. They had this idea for a project that would take students from the gifted 5th grade class and students who are in math and reading resource classes (5th graders also) and have them come together to write, shoot and produce some short video "commercials" advertising our new school motto "Respect the Rock".

They came to me to ask what I thought would be a good platform for them to use to have these students produce these videos.  I have a clunky, hard to use (in my opinion) Casablanca editing system, but between the expense and the real world applications (how many kids would have access to this kind of machine at home - ah NONE!) I sug
gested to them that they look into getting a Mac - for what they wanted to do, I thought iMovie would be easy for these kids to learn, easy for them to use and it would result in some pretty good 1 minutes commercials that we could save to DVD and play over our close circuit morning news show (which I coordinate).  the teachers wrote up a grant, were awarded the grant and then the fun started.  The district said NO, they could not purchase a Mac system with the grant money, the district would not support it.  They tried having everyone from the Principal down write letters about how easy this system would be for our kids, how they could take what they learned here and apply it in "real life" situations (while I think that more kids in our district have PC's at home, I am sure many have Mac
s also).  But the answer was still NO.  Then I found out that even in high school level graphic arts classes they are not allowed to use Macs - I used to work in
 the graphic arts industry (I was a print production manager) and although I have been away from the industry for seven years I am pretty sure that the industry is still DOMINATED by Macs.

So the end result of this is, the teachers are using their grant money to buy a PC with some extra memory and a DVD burner.  We are going to teach the kids to use Windows Movie Maker and that is how they will create their videos.

Do I think that this stinks - well, YES.  I know that our district has a HUGE amount of money invested in PC's - I am not asking them to switch the WHOLE system to Macs, I just think that giving students the opportunity to learn BOTH operating s
ystems is a great learning opportunity, and in this case, the learning opportunity comes without the district having to spend a DIME of their money. and, lets face it, Macs are COOL. I look at many of the bloggers I read and they seem to be powered by Macs.  On TV and in the movies, Macs are everywhere (although I do suspect that this comes from a good marketing team at Apple that lends their machines out to production companies!) And lets not forget the iPod (I think almost every kid in my school, whether they have one or not, knows what an iPod is.)

So I have a little poll, and even if you have never commented here 
before, I would love it if you would comment on this.

Do you use a MAC or PC at home?

If you teach, does your school and or district have :
a. just PC's
B. just MAC's
C. a combo of both

My answers are:
We have been PC for a LONG time in our house, but this Christmas Santa brought us an iMac - so now we have both in our house. My ten year old is already a wiz at iphoto and imovie - and she basically taught herself!

As I stated in the post above, my school and school district is PC only.
My daughter and I clowning around with Photo Booth on the iMac

1 comment:

Teacherninja said...

iMac, baby.

Just PCs (I think I'm in the same district you are).