Today I am in London for a Becta TEN event at the Apple offices. As you might guess the event has a real Apple focus and will be looking at iLife, podcasting, the iPhone and the iPad.
Anyone who knows me will know that I do use a fair bit of Apple stuff. This doesn’t mean I am an Apple fanboy
Yes you are!
It just means that I use a wide range of stuff…
But if you have the choice you would rather use Apple gear than anything else!
On my desk in my office at work I do have a 27″ iMac, however alongside I also have a standard college build Windows PC. For a lot of administration I use the Windows PC, for any web or creative work I use the Mac.
At home I use Parallels to allow me to use Windows 7 and Windows XP simultaneously with OSX.
So what about phones?
Well yes my phone of choice is the iPhone 4 even with the antenna issues. Thats not say I don’t think highly of my other phone, a Google Nexus One.
Music players, yes it’s an iPod, but I do quite like the idea of the Zune however that’s not available in the UK.
I am not fanatical about Apple gear, it just works for me. Other people who have bought Apple stuff after seeing and listening to me have also been quite happy. I am though aware of some people who have bought Apple stuff and then got rid of it very quickly.
I know it appears to be a lot more expensive than stuff from other manufacturers however in every day life do we always buy the cheapest stuff?
At the end of the day technology should be and is a very personal thing. The same applies not just to me, but also to our learners. Learners will want to use their personal devices for learning, they will have different devices, different operating systems, different devices for different things.
There will be some learners who won’t have devices or choose not to use their devices; ink these circumstances institutions probably provide a standard device or PC. That does imply that all learners are standard.
At this point we do need to consider the service provided by IT departments when it comes to standard equipment. Standardisation ensures that it is much easier to support, repair and maintain equipment.
So a multiple range of devices means unacceptable support costs.
However there are many numbers between one and many!
In my Library at Gloucestershire College we give learners a real choice when it comes to computing. They can choose from:
Their own devices, we are putting in lots of power points and we already provide a student wireless network.
Micro Laptops, these are the EeePC running Linux
Standard Windows XP Desktop on a 17″ monitor
20″ iMacs, which can either run OS X or Windows.
Not a huge variety of choice, but certainly much better than no choice. Its also not extraordinarily difficult to provide effective support either.
Giving learners choices about their learning is important if we are to to get the best out of them and ensure they succeed.