There’s good news and bad news in the Mac education front. The Upton Middle School in St. Joseph, Mich., celebrated the opening of a new Mac-equipped media center on Friday, while Pinellas County, Fla., schools are slated to phase out their Macs.
The new library/media center at Upton Middle School has over 6,000 square feet and has a wireless computer laboratory with 30 iBooks, according to the Herald-Palladium Online. Teachers can take the remote hub to their room and create a computer lab in their classrooms.
“Students can come in and check out a single iBook and go into the new media center to work,” Kristi Lukritz, 13, told the Herald-Palladium. An eighth-grader, she was giving tours to visitors as part of Friday’s dedication program.
Meanwhile, Pinellas County is phasing out their Macs and replacing them with Wintel systems, the St. Petersburg Times reports. The move is to a directive from Pinellas County superintendent Howard Hinesley, who wants the district to use one type of computer instead of two.
“That decision has angered some administrators and teachers who can’t fathom parting with their Apple computers, even if it won’t happen for several years,” the Times reports. “Two of every three computers owned by the school district are Apples. Hinesley said the Macs will be replaced by PCs as they become obsolete.”
Some district officials such as Hinesley and Al Swinyard, assistant superintendent for management information systems, claim that it’s too hard and too expensive to maintain two systems, two types of training and two processes for repair. The school district now has a contract with Dell.
One person not happy with the move is Norman Haddad and his wife, Jo Anne. The Times said they spent US$30,000 to purchase 21 iMacs, a Power Mac G3, two digital cameras and other equipment in 2001 for Seminole Elementary School.
“When I see that this bureaucrat makes the decision to switch the county to PCs without getting advice from the teachers, it sounds a little suspicious to me,” Haddad told the Times.
“It worries me that I’m going to have to run around and patch machines,” said Donna Hall, librarian information specialist at Douglas L. Jamerson Elementary School in St. Petersburg, which has 218 Apple computers and four personal computers. Hall and others say repairs on PCs may take “valuable time away from the classroom,” the Times reports.