Back to Mac

It’s been 3 years since the school district that employees me switched from Mac to PC. After the initial shock of the sudden change subsided, I had no choice but to embrace Windows 7. It didn’t take very long for me to become a highly knowledgeable and high powered PC user, although It never felt quite right. 

I’m fortunate to be a chameleon who can adapt easily to change and I believe this is one of the reasons I have been successful at using technology as a tool for learning. I’m happy to be able to have learned to work seamlessly between platforms to facilitate tech integration, but I’m really glad that my school district is going back to Mac!

Although I have always preferred Mac over PC, I do recognize some positive changes that resulted from our 3 year long switch to Windows 7. We were able to put cost efficient mobile carts of netbooks into our schools, greatly increasing our student to device ratio. We have had a sufficient supply of netbooks to be able to launch the implementation of Google Docs as an efficient and effective collaborative instructional tool for students and staff. Cost efficiency of the netbooks allowed us to increase the number of projectors in classrooms too. Although we had the best of intentions when we tried to save a few trees and encourage teachers to grade papers online through comments in Google Docs, the enormous and heavy Dell “laptops” teachers were given for their use were much heavier than a pile of papers, so that initiative has not worked so well up to this point. 

But, like the title says, it sure looks like we are going back to Mac! We have provided each school with a mobile lab of MacBook Airs for use in the classroom. Teachers will have iPads and Apple TVs in classrooms this week and we are hoping to kickoff a 1:1 iPad rollout starting this fall. Teachers will get MacBook Airs and students will gradually get iPads and ownership of their own devices. Ah, this is going to be an exciting and fun challenge!

Resources for students and staff to introduce our mobile labs of MacBook Airs.

And what a great time for this! iPads have been successfully rolled out in many forward thinking districts and the process is now streamlined and efficient. Districts who have had successful experiences are eager to share their guidance and expertise with us. We recognize the need to collaborate and appreciate the opportunity to be connected .

In house, we finally have a team of instructional technology coaches in place to help teachers find their comfort zones, set goals, and have fun as they personally move through the stages of tech adoption and begin to shift instruction. It will be exciting to be able to help teachers facilitate Common Core aligned learning experiences with the help of interactivity, digital supports and multimedia.

So, I must say that I am ecstatic to be back to Mac and excited about a new journey that will ultimately lead to a lot of learning for myself and others. I am looking forward to the near future when our teachers and students will leave school at the end of the day with a lighter load and some powerful portable personal digital tools for teaching and learning to use whenever needed. This initiative will definitely help extend the walls of our classrooms.

What I will miss about Windows 7

I made the switch back to Mac a few weeks ago. Right away I noticed how comfortable the Mac feels with it’s lighted keyboard and intuitive interface. But, I’d like to note a few things I do miss about Windows 7 as I put this chapter to rest.
  1. The snipping tool I take a lot of snapshots. I know how to do it on a Mac of course, but the process is not nearly as slick as the handy snipping tool on Windows 7.
  2. Snap WindowsI appreciate the ability to work between two active open windows side by side and snapped into place on Windows 7, a feature I used every day.

    Class Badges for 1-1 Goal Setting

    Class Badges is a free online tool designed to help teachers use digital badges as rewards for accomplishing learning goals. The badges can be a useful tool for teachers to keep track of individual student accomplishments as they help learners focus on making progress.

    Teachers can request a free account to generate a class code for students. Just add your students and choose from the many available badges. If you are in need of a unique badge of your own you can work with the folks at Class Badges to have them create it for you.

    Uses in the Classroom:

    • Work with individual students and their parents to identify their own specific attainable goals and create a Google Doc for reflection and progress monitoring. Use comments to provide students with feedback.
    • Attach badges to your grading rubrics and hold regular mini-conferences with students at checkpoints as they work towards completion of the assignment to increase their motivation to take their learning to the next level.
    • Reinforce positive behavior and increase students’ self-awareness by focusing on badges designed to reward students for demonstrating specific behaviors that might be useful to increase instructional time. For example: Reward time on task or organizational skills.
    • Make sure the badges are designed to encourage self-improvement rather than competition among students in the class.

    I really like Class Badges because the badges serve as a useful reminder for teachers to work with students on an individual level to set goals and assess progress. If used appropriately, they can improve students’ self-esteem as they work towards attainable goals. I believe this tool that can help teachers get a little closer to a 1-1  learning environment.

    Try it at