(For those new to the column, Forward Migration is our term for companies moving from Wintel machines to Macs — or at least adding or increasing the number of Macs they use. A Forward Migration Kit is an overview of Mac OS products for a particular occupation, such as photography, optometry, etc.)
For years the Lake City Area School District in Lake City, Michigan had nothing but PCs in its classrooms. The middle school teachers had computers for their classroom tasks, but those consisted of 486 PCs that had seen much better days.
Then the state of Michigan announced the Teacher Technology Initiative (TTI). The TTI is a program created by the governor to put computers and other technologies in the hands of teachers so they become more comfortable with it and use it as a tool in the classroom. The technology director at Lake City Area Schools, Kevin Thompson, had the foresight to give teachers a number of options when it came to picking their computers. (Of course it didn’t hurt that the middle school also sported two computer teachers that were Mac fans pushing the issue.)
When it came time for teachers to purchase computer, teachers in the middle school all chose either iMacs or iBooks. An iBook was also selected by one of the teachers in the elementary school.
Teachers had the computers in their hands for the last six weeks of the school year. In those six weeks a large percentage of the teachers became very effective with their new machines. Comments ran the gamut from “This is one solid machine,” to “Wow, I find that I’m just not afraid to open things up and try them out (from a home PC user),” to “I can pretty much figure out anything by looking at the help,” to “I love it!”
It should be noted that over the past few years teachers in Lake City Area Schools have had professional development days that focused on how to use PCs. The teachers that received the Macs have had no training in their operation.
The Teacher Technology Initiative (TTI) is a voluntary program designed to support teaching and learning in Michigan’s public schools and public school academies through a one-time investment in Michigan’s K-12 teachers. You can learn more at the
TTI Web site. The initiative is managed by the
Michigan Virtual University, a private, not-for-profit Michigan corporation established in 1998 “to meet the specific workforce development education and training needs of Michigan businesses and industries and their current and prospective employees through the innovative use of electronic learning technologies.” (Thanks to Michigan educator Bill Randall for helping us with this article.)
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