Sedgwick, Kansas, is a small town with lots of Macs. In fact the town has 150 Apple systems in two schools. Those computers and the Internet combine to keep local students well connected to the rest of the world.
“Sedgwick is a perfect environment to do a lot of neat things,” Rae Niles, Curriculum and Technology Director for the town’s two schools, said in an
Apple Education article. “We’re a very small community, just 1,500 people. Everybody knows everybody, and the levels of bureaucracy are not very deep. So you can make things happen in a relatively quick time.”
Sedgwick is home to 475 elementary, middle, and high school students with 150 iMac DV, iBook, and Power Mac computers located in classrooms, in the library, and three labs. They made a commitment to the Mac platform seven years ago largely because of the stability of the platform, Niles said.
“The Mac’s ease of use gives students a safe place to take risks when creating projects,” he told Apple. “And they’re not inhibited when they work on a Mac because of the wide variety of application choices available to them. It is not an issue about whether or not something will work. Students are empowered to take risks and see the fruits of their labor result in new knowledge or a new way of doing things.”
Students use the Macs for classroom assignments, presentations, iMovies, and research. The high school library uses AirPort technology to provide wireless communications between iMac-based research stations and the Internet. Macs also run the school’s network infrastructure and provide Web, e-mail, and DNS service.
“We’ve had a network in place for almost 10 years, and this year we upgraded to an all-Cisco network,” Niles told Apple. “Needless to say, we are super fast.”
She’s arranged it so students provide the technical support in both the elementary and high school. Five tech apprentices work with Niles one hour a day. A whiteboard in her office serves as the assignment sheet.
“We just put in a new iMac DV lab this year. There was no way I could set up 25 computers and fulfill my other responsibilities, so the students set them up. They saved me a lot of time — and gained for themselves a sense of ownership, a vested interest in making that lab work. And since we’re an all Mac environment, it makes things so much easier. We’re dealing with one platform and a very stable environment. The students have just taken to it.”