As we reported
on Dec. 21, the state of Michigan has announced an initiative to purchase computer equipment and Internet service for full time teachers in its public schools. The vendor specs for the machines being offered to Michigan teachers can be found at
an online PDF file.
“The really interesting thing is that many Michigan teachers don’t even know that Apple computers are available to them,” Bill Randall, a Michigan educator who alerted us to the above URL, told MacCentral. “As with the business world, most of our system administrators are Wintel huggers that can’t see a bargain when it arises. They also don’t know what sort of a time savings they could see if their teachers convert. Sadly, many teachers aren’t aware of the power of iMovie in their classrooms, either.”
Hopefully, this will change. Michigan has set a US$1200 price limit in its $110 million Michigan Teacher Technology Initiative, a program designed to give teachers in Michigan a laptop computer to use at school and home. And Apple’s iBook and iMac DV seem to be shaping up as popular choices.
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.”
The solution offered by Apple included the iBook (the new model with a 10GB hard drive and a FireWire port); three years warranty and phone support; Internet access through Merit for three years; Microsoft Office 2001 pre-installed; virus software pre-installed; a USB floppy drive; Inspirations software for creating lesson plans; a carrying case; Internet apps; AppleWorks 6.0 pre-installed; and more.
Michigan teachers who choose the desktop solution can get an iMac DV with all the above included. Details can be found at
Apple’s education site.
“I have been teaching various computer classes or computer related classes since 1994,” Randall said. “For the past four years, I have been teaching in labs that have been operating Windows 3.1, 95 and 98. For these years, I have been hearing from a few other teachers, but mostly from IT professionals, that Windows is very powerful. To be honest, I haven’t seen it. As a teacher, all the of the multimedia applications that I have run seem to operate best on a Mac.”
He feels that the problem with Apple in schools these days is a lack of education (no pun intended). Reynolds hopes that the company will spend more “face” time in education with more sales people working the market.