ZDNet AnchorDesk today features the musing of a guest columnist named Bob Shier. Shier is a public school educator from Missouri who has written an article entitled
How schools are tricked into using PCs — when Macs are better.
As an educator and a computer literacy instructor in an all-Windows environment, Shier said that he uses Windows PCs for two reasons: Peer pressure and false economies. Tackling the second issue first, Shier said that fiscal responsibility is often cited as a reason to choose Windows over Mac — since it’s often cheaper to buy an inexpensive PC than a Mac. But Shier posited that a less expensive out-of-the-box experience can also equate into a more expensive economy down the road.
Shier cited his own experience, where a PC lab in his school doesn’t run as reliably as the Mac lab it replaced. “I’ve started secretly hoping that some students will be sick from school during each class, just so nobody has to do without … The total amount of staff time required just to keep these machines functional is an order of magnitude higher than what we experienced with the Macs. It almost defies belief,” Shier continued.
Responding to parents’ demands that their kids use what they use at work, Shier said that he understands the parental desire to see children become employable. “The fact that the ‘prevalent platform’ is in a constant state of flux is another matter entirely,” he said.
Shier makes the analogy that if you learn how to drive a Ford, you’ll figure out how to drive a Chevy pretty quickly. It’s the same deal with standard productivity applications across the Mac and PC, too.
Ultimately, said Shier, it boils down to one thing. Do you want to work for the machine, or do you want it to work for you? “If you want the machine to work for you, go with the Mac,” he said. “And that’s what I really want for my students.”