Originally Posted by Cortb
Hey root, At the school I went to, every teacher/classroom had a Mac and only one or two of the computer labs had windows. Apple has had decent discounts over the last decade for computers purchased by schools, educators, and students, I wouldn't be surprised if these schools are getting some sort of break on the price.
Historically schools may have made a choice when there was no discernible difference in the MAC/PC argument, ~1990.
I know that the school I went to had a lab of computers that were Acorn machines running RISCOS. that was certainly the case when I left that school this side of the turn of the millennium, they may have gotten rid of them, but I doubt it given that they were integral to a lot of the functions that were performed in that particular lab.
if I were a school tech co-ordinator and I inherited a mac lab, I certainly would not throw those macs away, and I would continue to update that lab with the more macs -if only because most state schools tend to update piece meal, -making it very hard to update all machines and change architectures across the school all at once.
If a school gets discounts then that's great for them. (though consider that you can get a fairly decent from PC suppliers that start cheaper I still think that it's a bit of a waste (of tax payer money) to be buying Macs over PCs.
I wonder exactly how much discount Apple need to offer schools to beat a £150 price for a workstation:
Zoostorm Desktop PC - Desktops | Ebuyer.com
that's not the worlds greatest computer, but it's good enough for schools, you have to add the OS on top of that, but MS do offer a volume license programme, the point is that it's only £150 retail, with no discount. if you want to buy a few hundred then you might get a discount on the hardware, when buying in hundreds you definitely get discounts on the OS.
(and before anyone suggests that Macs will be better quality. the machine has components made by foxconn in it... so it is the exact same quality of component manufacture as is used in macs.)
Some schools may chose to go the mac route, and this is not all bad, Macs support secured logins, multi users, shared files. etc.
which is exactly what you need, the ability for a student to sit at any machine.
It's unfortunate that there is no equivalent in mac-land to group policies that allow for an administrator to standardise the "feel" of a computer to a unified experience, (as well as install printers, install software, and remove software).
It's also a shame that there is no equivalent in mac-land to remote installation services, I know that when I worked at a university it was pretty invaluable, to setup a workstation I put in a few days work building an image, and group policies.
to setup a workstation, (out of the box) I entered a guid into the AD, (based on the MAC address of the machine). then I took the box to whatever office it would be installed in.
plugged it in, booted from the network (using PXE), entered my credentials once, (so that I could see my secured build images, selected an image, and walked away.
a few hours later windows would have installed with all the correct drivers, the machine would be added to the active directory, in the correct OU, it'd have rebooted, and then had software applied using GPO. then it'd restart at the user screen ready to log on.
at this point I'd have walked away from the machine about three hours ago.
I cannot imagine the hassle involved in setting up a 30 machine "lab" of Macs, assuming you even tried to do them in parallel you'd still be sat in front of the machines for most of the day, even with the OS pre-installed it's still going to take longer to setup the lab than buying 30 blank boxes and putting windows onto them!
It's also a shame that 99% of the world, (business and government) where the students will want to get jobs will be using windows, and office, in domains with MS software, and those students will have little or possibly no experience of working on anything but macs.
I would be very interested to find out how the school systems are managing that many iPads. I'm sure I'm missing something, but couldn't the school system/district put an app onto the App Store where the student would sign in and be able to get worksheets/books/assignments downloaded to the ipad?
they are not managing them, there are no official remote tools,
jail breaking can void warranties.
they can't just write an app and have it accepted to the app store,
there is no fast track to app store, and apple don't approve any apps that control or alter devices outside of the apps own runtime space.
As far as getting documents off the device.
a drop box client does exist, -but this only has access to it's own folder area (and the camera "shared" folder)
there are lots of document readers/writers for the iphone/ipad, a lot of these include a way to get documents off of the device by starting a service where you can connect using a web browser to a non-standard port and have a small http server running where you can copy out documents. -but you need a computer to do this.
100 ipads floating around a school are 100 theft opportunities.
completely unmanaged. completely unmanageable. and give or take completely untraceable after they've been stolen. (given that they are single user devices).
and yes you do need the pass code to turn off pass code features or undo some restrictions. but you don't need the pass code to reset the device, there is no single place to manage the pass code for all devices. -meaning you either need different pass codes for all devices, or you have one pass code, and if this ever leaks you spend a day collecting all devices, and changing the pass codes on all devices, (that's a day where these devices are not in the kids hands, -i.e. a day of no text books in class?)
I guess that all in all it comes down to this. my personal view is:
If you want to use a mac at home, -go ahead.
If you own a company and want to use Macs in your workplace -go ahead.
if you are a privately funded school and want to use Macs -go ahead.
but if you are a state funded school. -I.e if I'm helping to fund that school
don't use the most expensive devices that money can buy.
don't use devices that are the most expensive to repair.
don't use devices that are locked down in such a way as to make it difficult to remove content from then device.
don't use the computers that take the most time to set-up and configure. (because that costs more time in support time)
(as an indication of support time, I work for a company providing managed services -a kind of outsourced IT), we probably have under our remit around ten thousand workstations at various client sites, which probably includes around 100 macs. (i.e Macs make up 1% of the estate that is managed across multiple clients),
Macs probably account for around 5% of the support time needed to be dedicated to them.
The only time I can see that macs are useful in schools is when there is no alternative, or when that is genuinely the industry standard, (which only really applies at college level) i.e when working in a music studio and needing pro-logic, or when working in a desktop publishing industry and needing tools like quark express.
or, (less relevant today) when working in graphic design. -less relevant since there is no advantage to photo shop on mac over PC today as there may have been ten years ago.
as for ipads in schools, I see no advantage at all.
I do see the text book argument, but I think that these could be delivered better on liquid paper devices like kindle or nook which are cheaper, (easier on the wallet and easier on the eye).
and if you really have to have a tablet... I'm still pretty convinced that there are better cheaper alternatives.
(though I do agree with Superman in that three years ago there were no better alternatives to ipads in an educational setting.)