At the end of next week I will be accompanying the adminsitrative team for my school district to meet with Apple computer execs. We are tossing around the idea of switching to Apples in our district. I've developed several questions to ask the represenatives we meet with, but want to open my thinking to what questions others would ask in this position.

So, if you got to ask Apple computers questions about introducing Apples/Macs into your school, what would you ask them? What do you view as important answers to have when making this switch? I did not include the hardware questions (server compatibility, etc.) because my job is to focus more on the educational aspects of using technology.

Here are my questions (K-5)/training area I'm responsible for:

1. During the K-1 years, students are just getting acquainted with computers and their parts, what benefits would Macs provide that couldn’t be provided using a PC?

2. What software/hardware do you see applicable to a K-2 environment?

3. One of the concepts that has impressed me over the past few months is Apple’s dedication to training. In what ways would you be able to mesh your training program with our eMINTS training that our 3rd through 5th grade teachers are currently going through?

4. A key component of the eMINTS program is collaboration. What unique tools does Apple offer regarding teacher collaboration at both the grade level and through vertical teams?

5. eMINTS is a proven best practice that has shown an increase on the MAP Test, Missouri’s standardized test, of 5 to 6 points. How will purchasing Macs and the Apple brand help compliment this proven best practice?

6. The ACOT was completed in 1996. How does Apple conduct and improve on this research project 10 years later? What tools are currently used to assess Apple’s educational practices? Are there any plans to develop an ACOT 2 or something along those lines to identify changing practices and/or needs within the classroom?

7. Changing from PCs to Macs would require additional training of our staff. What is the typical amount of time it takes someone who is familiar with a PC environment to adjust and become proficient with a Mac?

8. I've been working closely with the Music Teacher at the elementary. What vision would you have for an "Apple Music room" in our district? Art?

9. A significant part to instructional technology is making sure the equipment is functional and reliable. What statistics do you have proving that Apple's product is dependable in an educational setting?

Any thoughts?

Tags: Apples, questions

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I would say that the Macs just work out of the box. There are some minor adjustments to make in terms of clicking here vs. clicking there but it's not hard.

The most important things to invest in is that teachers really need to have their own laptops in order to play and plan and some professional development time will need to be devoted to training.

In terms of software, with iLife built in you will not need much more to start doing some really cool stuff.
Hi, my name is Tony Whelan, Warrnambool, Australia. I've been teaching computers for over twenty years. I use PC and Mac happily. There are several schools that I know of that use both PC's and Macs. You don't have to get rid of the PC's, but if it's Microsoft that's causing you grief, switch your operating system over to Linux. I prefer Macs, although they have their draw backs. You won't be sorry if you switch over to Mac. I always end up working in schools that have PC's. I have convinced my principal to get a mac for an autistic boy in my Year 7 class (13 year olds). Macs are packed with great software that comes bundled. You can even have MS Office, and Mac Office is fantastic. You could also get Open Office which open source and you pay a nominal fee. If you want to see my web site, check it out. It is easy to set up, and you can have podcasts, vodcasts, images, slideshows and writing. I use it to communicate to my students. The beauty of it is that you can burn the site to cd or dvd at the end of the year, and keep it as a memento, or record. The kids can make their own sites, but they needn't have them on the web. They can have them stored on the intranet, or just to their computers, and at the end of the year, burn the site to a disk to keep as a memento of their year. This is called 'ejournaling'. iweb is a great way to compress huge files, and all the student's subjects can be stored. The Mac Books have inbuilt cameras, and so the students can video themselves, take a photo, etc. Garageband is a brilliant program which everyone will love, especially your musicians. I must go, but check out my site:

http://web.mac.com/kingswarrnambool

All the best, from Tony, Over the top not down under. ps you can get your kids to use ipods to help with reading and math. Check out my weekly spelling movies.
I am not sure they will have great answers for all these questions, they will for some. We are an all-Mac district (2400 students in central Virginia) and I'll echo what Mathew has said: they just work. I think you'd enjoy better support; we currently have 3 folks dedicated to supporting over 2000 machines.

I am responsible for training all of our teachers (new hires included) at the start of each school year. Many come from PC backgrounds. We do 12 hours of training (9 for OS X, 3 for PowerSchool, our student information system).

In that training, I go beyond what most would: my philosophy on computer training is to follow a Gestalt model: teach them the system, not individual applications. I find this pays off for the year; I answer far fewer questions. I write our own training manual and use that for the instruction. We couldn't be happier with the Apple experience. Good luck to you.
Our district switched from pc laptops to macs this year in the 4th year of our 1:1 program. We were on a Novell network so there was much to work out. As this is my first experience with macs, I would have to say that we are quite pleased. The iLife suite is great for students and teachers. As stated before, it works. In addition the casing is much more rugged than the pc laptops that our students were using.

We had training on the OS at the end of the year when we have half days for finals (hs district) and worked on iLife during the same time and during professional development days in the summer.
Thanks for your feedback (everyone). Our Technology Coordinator is out here also. His questions were focusing on the hardware aspect of Apple and his questions seemed to go along with Indigos. We've been trying to get the Macs we do have to work with our Windows 2003 servers with little success.

Overall though, we have been very pleased with the Macs and how few help desk tickets we've had on them. (Roughly 30 Macs and only 2 tickets all year).

Thanks again for everyone's feedback. I'm off to meet with them now.

Matt
As a support person dealing with Windows, Linux and Macs, I am pleased to let you know that Apple (or Apple support groups) will be able to address almost all of these concerns, basically because OSX is a customized Linux environment, and a great deal of the solutions that work for Linux work also for the Mac. In some instances your techs might have to "get under the hood" and customize a little code, but any properly configured Mac system will play well in a Windows environment. The question might me, why have a Windows environment at all, when a Mac enterprise solution WILL make your life easier...

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