Monday, January 24, 2011

Apple Purist or....

Recently we had quite a discussion (argument is probably a better term) about Windows vs. Mac (and the hardware underneath) on our tecsig listserv. It started out a simple question of what to load on an Apple in terms of an office productivity suite (among a few other things). As I read the initial question I saw a few similarities in some of our district's recent experiences. Our district had gone through some similar discussions last year when we decided to move from a nearly complete Windows 'shop' to recommending MacBooks and iPads as the student devices in our new high school. I decided to reply to the question and to lay out some of the rationale behind the decisions that we made, and how we ended up feeling comfortable with this move. Initially, I only had the writer of the question listed in my response, but ultimately I decided to include the listserv thinking that others might be interested as well. I ended up opening quite a can of worms, which I wasn't really expecting.

My intention was to just lay out our experiences, and conversations, which helped lead us to our decisions. I was not recommending that anyone follow in our foot steps, or that our way is the only way. I was simply just hoping to share what we went through. Some how the fact that I recommended Apple devices turned into me being an Apple Purist. Huh? Seriously?

Ultimately, this 'conversation' reinforced my belief that we must continue to build more open systems. We must continue to become more platform agnostic. We must do this for our students. If we don't, we risk allowing them to venture out into the world with a closed mind towards new and different systems. Aren't we failing them by not allowing them to find the system that makes them the most efficient? Aren't we failing them if we only provide them with one option? Isn't it our purpose to teach them? To empower them to become life long learners? Aren't we supposed to be creating individualized instruction? How does only offering access to one type of system help facilitate that? By offering access to multiple systems we allow the learning to determine the technology. The learning is the focus! The technology should be transparent.

The focus should always be what is best for all of our students, and what will best prepare them to be successful in our global economy. That is what I hope to stay focused on. I have no intention of becoming an 'Apple Purist' or creating a 'shop' of any one specific brand. I hope to further embrace a more open system that facilitates creativity, exploration, and spontaneous learning.