Wednesday, February 02, 2005
A New Beginning
I started a blog called MacEd musings over a year and a half ago. It saw about 5 entries, the latest being nearly a year ago. At that time, I was interested in seeing what blogging was all about and what relevance it has to K-12 education. Well, here I go again. I am hoping this will not be the 9th false start of this project. I started a blog called MacEd musings over a year and a half ago. It saw about 5 entries, the latest being nearly a year ago. At that time, I was interested in seeing what blogging was all about and what relevance it has to K-12 education. I am still not sure about the answer to my relevance question. I am following several educational blogs and even listening to a couple of educational podcasts. I am intrigued, still I wonder about the relevance of it all in education. I do believe that we should do all we can to get students to write more and I think blogging can give them the incentive to do that. In my job I work with about 20 schools. In those 20 schools there are well over 20,000 students grades K-12. I am positive that some of those especially in grades 7-12 are blogging on their own. Why not channel some of that into the classroom. There are some legal and moral issues the need to be addressed, but I thing it could be a very positive thing. For me personally though blogging is a good thing. I never used to write. I didn't really like to write, but I have discovered that I really like writing in the blogging format. It allows me to get my thoughts and ideas down in a way I haven't been able to in a long time. I have even been writing for a website, Mac Using Educators . Anyway, this new blog is not about blogging. See I am a supporter of Macs in education. This blog will be about using Macs in K-12 education. I work with PC's when I have to and can find my way around, but I don't like to. PC's offer mostly inelegant solutions to most tasks. I am going to begin this new blog with an example. In October I taught a digital video inservice in my district. I had taught an iMovie inservice for several years. I had good attendance and a great time teaching the class, however I was asked to expand the class and include Windows Movie Maker (MM) as well. Like a dolt, I told myself that it couldn't be that hard. So I expanded the iMovie class into a Digital Video class and taught it cross-platform. I spent a month working with MM and really not enjoying it, but felt comfortable enough to teach the class. I had 16 participants in the class and tried to persuade as many as possible to use the Macs in our training lab as opposed to the PCs. It ended up pretty evenly split though. I decided that this would be okay and would give me some good personal data about both programs. I got the data alright. After 5 weeks all 8 of the participants who chose to work on the Macs had their projects completed and most even burned to DVD. On the PC side only 1 of the participants was finished after the 5 weeks. One of the PC people dropped out citing the difficulty of using Movie Maker (but refused to move to the Mac). Of the remaining 6, I spent a minimum of an extra 4 hours each. With one person I probably spent an extra 14 hours. The elegance and ease of using iMovie was never more vivid to me. Of the 7 completed PC projects 5 of them ended up using iMovie to do some clean-up work on their movies as well as using iDVD to make DVD's. One person I worked with ended up exporting her movie out of MM onto tape, then importing it into iMovie and completely re-editing it in about 1/4 of the time it took her on the PC. The biggest thing that amused me was trying to move projects. Have you ever tried to move a MM project from one PC to another. Moving the MM file itself is no problem, but try finding and moving the collections that make up the project. It is more than a joke. In fact with my limited Windows knowledge and experience it was impossible. Why doesn't MS get it. What does it take to move an iMovie project? You find the project folder and move it with an external HD, burn it onto a DVD, transfer it over the network, whatever. When it gets to the new destination, you open up the movie file an off you go. This example is the epitome of the elegance that is the Apple way of doing things. It works, it works right, it works all of the time. Is Apple perfect in the way they do things, no, but in education it seems they make it work much better and easier for students and teachers than anyone does for PCs. My goal is to update this blog 2-3 times a week. I am also looking into doing a companion podcast. If I do the podcast I will post the shownotes here as well. I will try at least 3-4 podcasts and then decide whether to continue.