It’s often the big school districts that make news with their use of Macs, but that doesn’t mean that smaller systems aren’t taking full advantage of the computing platform. One is Hamilton School District, which is located in a small community in western Montana (in the Bitterroot Valley). Approximately 1,615 students are enrolled in five elementaries, a middle school and a high school.
All the schools, except the high school, use Macs in their labs, and teachers also have access to Macs. Over 300 Macs are up and running in Hamilton.
“We have Mac OS X Servers in all of the schools,” Bill Bratches, systems administrator/educator told MacCentral. “We have a portable, wireless lab [with iBooks] at the middle school, and are getting ready to order one more. All of the Macs at the middle school run Mac OS X 10.2.6 … The rest of the district will be Mac OS X native by next year.”
Students use iMovie for video editing, Safari for Web browsing, and iPhoto for image cataloging. Other much-used software is Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop and the Maya Education Edition.
Hamilton has been using Macs since the SE/30, and they had Apple IIe’s before that. Since 1997, the percentage of Macs has increased dramatically, Bratches said.
“In a networked environment (wired, as well as wireless) the Macs are far superior to their Wintel counterparts,” he said. “Using technologies such as net install/restore/boot management is a breeze. The stableness and reliability of managed Mac OS X workstations make the computing experience for the student an exciting and positive one.”
So far there’s been little pressure staff to go all-Wintel. Bratches said the superintendent is very support of Apple technology.
“Plus, we have an eclectic IT staff, always ready to move to the bleeding edge, whatever technologies or platform,” he added.