Posted by: Caleb | March 6, 2011

while i’m dreaming

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m in training to be a high school science teacher. I’m in my second semester at Lindenwood University here in St. Charles, Missouri. While learning to be a teacher, I’ve spent some time researching what kinds of things I’d like to have in my classroom.

I came across one that I’m probably never going to have, but that I’ll fight tooth and nail for just the same: the Apple Macbook Learning Lab. This thing is awesome.

Some might ask what the purpose is, or the reason why I would need this. My answer is pretty simple, if not a bit longwinded.

Apple Macbook Learning Labs

1. The operating system, Mac OS X, is robust, stable, and simple. It’s easy to learn, and easy to teach. It’s also much less susceptible to malware infections than your average OS.

2. The laptops themselves are physically robust; they can meet the students’ demands of them, and last the test of time. A related strength is that any computer running a Mac OS is built by Apple for the express purpose of running Apple’s OS. There aren’t any sub-par “bargain” machines running a great OS that are going to crash quickly simply because they’re cheap.

3. Macbooks can connect seamlessly with pretty much any network, wired or wireless, that I’ll ever meet in my teaching career.

4. Macbooks are incredibly slim, at only 1″ thick, and at 4.6 pounds, they pack a lot of punch into a small package.

5. Macbooks play nice with other major operating systems, especially Windows. Do you prefer Microsoft Word over Pages? Powerpoint over Keynote? Outlook over Mail? That’s fine, because there’s Microsoft Office for Mac.

6. Macbooks are easily secured; it’s simple to set up each Macbook so kids can’t do things they’re not supposed to do on a school computer, from protecting them from seeing things on the Internet they’re not supposed to see, and from infecting school computers with malware, spyware, and just general nastiness.

7. Technology is an integral part of American high schoolers’ lives, and has moved past the point of only being used in computer class or keyboarding class. Making solid, robust, usable machines available in every classroom students enter is the least we can do to help them succeed in school.

These are just some of the reasons I think this is an incredibly useful teaching tool.

I think it’s worth noting that I haven’t even discussed software yet.

There are software suites out there that can be utilized in every classroom in any school building.

iMovie for Mac

For instance, how cool would it be for your kids to put together a slide show of their summer vacation for art class? There’s an app for that: iMovie, an app that ships preinstalled on all new Macbooks. With iMovie, kids can use photos, videos, and music to create a movie that they themselves shoot. It’s even useful in business and drama classes.

GarageBand for Mac

GarageBand for Mac

Or what if your kid is really into music, and in their band class, they want to record and mix their own songs? There’s an app for that, too: GarageBand, which also ships on all new Macs. With GarageBand, kids can record themselves playing all the different parts of a song, and mix it together to create their own tracks.

Students can also use GarageBand to create Podcasts, write papers with Word and Pages, create PowerPoint and Keynote presentations, and research homework assignments safely, easily, and quickly. These kinds of projects are assigned in every classroom; why not provide a single tool that can accomplish every goal?

Macbooks are just plain awesome. And when it comes down to it, do you really need any other reason?

What do you think? Are Macbooks really necessary, are they indulgent, or is your typical computer lab “good enough”?

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