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Queensland bureaucracy stifles Mac choice Blog by Martin Levins

#1 User is offline   MJCP 

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 11:10 AM

Imagine you're a principal in our deep northern state, concerned to get the best for your staff. You note that the Queensland state government has introduced a "Computers for Teachers" program. Bravo. Good to see that this teaching and learning tool is being recognised as essential.

The program gives an option for a Windows or a Mac laptop in a seemingly ecumenical way. I write “seemingly” because there are traps: traps that make it difficult — some would say impossible — to get a Mac for members of your staff. Read more
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#2 User is offline   gazza 

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 12:13 PM

QUOTE (MJCP @ May 7 2008, 11:10 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Imagine you're a principal in our deep northern state, concerned to get the best for your staff. You note that the Queensland state government has introduced a "Computers for Teachers" program. Bravo. Good to see that this teaching and learning tool is being recognised as essential.

The program gives an option for a Windows or a Mac laptop in a seemingly ecumenical way. I write “seemingly” because there are traps: traps that make it difficult — some would say impossible — to get a Mac for members of your staff. Read more

I'm not surprised that this archaic attitude persists in our northern state. However they are not alone (or were not alone) in my experience in Victoria. I'm long retired from teaching now but I found that unless you were in a school where the staff/principal or School Council were open to the benefits of the Mac platform it was very difficult to obtain a Mac under the Laptops for Teachers Program. There were schools which were wholly Mac based (some with direct support from Apple) but in a Windows based school (the majority then) Mac aficionados were frowned upon. I hope the situation has changed in the ten years since I last had a "Teacher's Laptop." Hopefully there is a reader who can negate my claims for the present.

Cheers

gazza
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#3 User is offline   Keith White 

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Posted 08 May 2008 - 09:21 AM

ditto from Victoria. large independent school - for years I had the only Mac in the place. The IT department weren't interested until a young chap with a Macbook arrived and a new Art teacher demanded a classroom of iMacs.
It's a battle we shouldn't have to fight
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#4 User is offline   gazza 

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Posted 08 May 2008 - 09:33 AM

QUOTE (Keith White @ May 8 2008, 09:21 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
ditto from Victoria. large independent school - for years I had the only Mac in the place. The IT department weren't interested until a young chap with a Macbook arrived and a new Art teacher demanded a classroom of iMacs.
It's a battle we shouldn't have to fight

I suspected this battle was still going on. It took me a couple of years to convince the IT staff to give me network access to a printer, more 'til I could "surf." Little did they know that I used to plug in my own cable, after downloading the driver from home, to use the printer as a stand-alone device. Blowed if I was going to use my home printer for work purposes!!

The battle still needs to be won - that at least is something Mac people do well because they know what they are fighting for is well worth it!

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#5 User is offline   pmoeser 

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Posted 08 May 2008 - 08:15 PM

My wife's school is a full mac school except for one or 2 pc's in the office.
They are having to fight for the Macs and then, the form actually says that they will not be getting any support to boot into windows!
I think that's because the form they have says the options are for an Acer or a G4 iBook!
The whole point of this exercise is so that teachers are using the latest technology to deliver the latest and best teaching methods yet they have to fight to obtain the World's Best operating system and even then it is on 1 year old hardware.
We are waiting to see exactly what equipment is delivered and if it is G4 stuff, there will be one hell of a bruhaha...
Taken from the Ed Qld website. Here's a clue why it's hard to get Macs...

ICT Industry Project

Learning to Work, Working to Learn

Background:

Education Queensland has formed a strategic partnership with Microsoft Australia and the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) to increase direct student pathways into the ICT Industry.

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#6 User is offline   pmoeser 

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Posted 08 May 2008 - 08:28 PM

Update: The forms have now been changed to say MacBook
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#7 User is offline   wicked_wes 

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Posted 08 May 2008 - 08:33 PM

Who are the smart ones? I convince at least 1 student a month at my school that Macs are fantastic and they go out and buy one. Some IT guys laugh at my Mac when I use it in class yet my students are amazed at how quick, easy and intuitive my machine is to use. One teacher allowed one of his Mac loving students to do a web page using iWeb - thinking this would be good to show to the class how "bad macs are for real work". Ha - the student finished his assignment in the double while the rest of the class worked on it for the month.


My only bug bear is that at my work we have a Novell server with no print driver for the mac. (correct me if I am wrong - this costs money???) I am forever saving my work on a USB and jumping on a window machine to print. angry.gif

I find it strange how Microsoft was whacked something fierce about Anti-Trust and locking consumers out of choice. Looks like the Qld Government has been tutored by the best.

That's my 2 cents worth. smile.gif
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#8 User is offline   Keith White 

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Posted 08 May 2008 - 09:44 PM

QUOTE (pmoeser @ May 8 2008, 08:15 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Background:

Education Queensland has formed a strategic partnership with Microsoft Australia and the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) to increase direct student pathways into the ICT Industry.


I seem to remember Gates and his minions made a raid on Melbourne when the last lot were in control and something similar eventuated. No details, but Macs disappeared overnight.
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#9 User is offline   Some Random Bloke 

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Posted 08 May 2008 - 10:39 PM

Well, what do you expect ? I'm afraid I don't have a lot of time for the education bureaucracy. And with all due respect to those in the industry, I find that IT people are just out of touch with the average punter who doesn't know a graphics card from a motherboard. If you enjoy building your own system and getting under the hood of Windows, great, but for the vast majority of computer users it's a tool, not a toy - we just want something that's easy to use and works. I guess that doesn't exclude the present enlightened company, but it does get up my nose.
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#10 User is offline   gazza 

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Posted 12 May 2008 - 12:51 PM

QUOTE (Xenophos @ May 8 2008, 10:39 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
................we just want something that's easy to use and works.............

Interesting you should mention this Xenophos, in the whole time (four years) I had my Mac "Teacher's Laptop," before I retired, it didn't miss a beat. This was much to the annoyance of other members of staff whose windows machines were regularly out of action for service of some kind. The IT staff regularly asked me how mine was going and couldn't believe the Mac didn't have maintenance issues. Still, the "penny didn't drop!!" Valuable funds could have been saved and redirected to other aspects of the IT program. Alas, it seems from the posts above, nothing has changed.

gazza
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#11 User is offline   AppleConvert 

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Posted 12 May 2008 - 07:29 PM

QUOTE (gazza @ May 7 2008, 12:13 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'm not surprised that this archaic attitude persists in our northern state.

Yes, there are no other states in Australia with any archaic values. Having lived in several myself over the years, all I'll do is smirk with a knowing irony at this point...
QUOTE (gazza @ May 7 2008, 12:13 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
However they are not alone (or were not alone) in my experience in Victoria.
...
gazza

How gracious to admit this...

Okay - leaving state rivalry out of this - it is a serious and disturbing issue which is prevalent across many segments of society. Primary, Secondary and Tertiary institutions all suffer from a culture of "if it's not MS how can we support it?" Sad fact is that it is in most ways easier to support Apple software and hardware and MS/PCs; coupled with the fact it requires less support due to it's higher reliability and you would think Apple has a winning solution.

Alas MS got in early with key products like MS Office and have pushed MSIE at everyone with Windows whether they want it or not and Apple are still trying to break into these markets in a strong way to break up this "must be MS" mindset.

Add to that many of the people in educational institutions (especially those who make the decisions) have been around a while and are more used to the PC platform - anything else unfamiliar is apparently not worth a chance.

All we can do it try to change the world - one Apple Mac at a time.
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#12 User is offline   gazza 

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Posted 12 May 2008 - 10:00 PM

QUOTE (AppleConvert @ May 12 2008, 07:29 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
How gracious to admit this..........Okay - leaving state rivalry out of this..........

I didn't know that state rivalry was the issue here, AppleConvert! None of us is attacking the State, per se. I'm not surprised at Queensland Education's archaic attitude, I'm not surprised at Victoria's or any other state Education's archaic attitude having worked within a state run Education bureaucracy - I know what they are like! I'm extremely disappointed and think that it is pathetic that this archaic attitude (anti-Mac) still persists anywhere in Australia's education system today. The foregoing posts are telling us it does in many states.

The reason that Queensland's State Education System received the initial blast is because it was its Education bureaucrats which have recently made the headlines for making it difficult for teachers to obtain a Mac. If Victoria's Education system made the headlines on the same basis we would all be attacking them, with good reason, and I would be first in the queue! (BTW Some of the posts above, including mine, do just that!)

QUOTE (AppleConvert @ May 12 2008, 07:29 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
........All we can do it try to change the world - one Apple Mac at a time.

I totally agree with your sentiment and also alluded to this in my posts above.

The ONLY thing I'm parochial about is Freedom of Choice - to be able to chose a Mac if you wish. If all of this is being "gracious," then Guilty as Charged!


gazza
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#13 User is offline   AppleConvert 

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Posted 13 May 2008 - 07:38 PM

QUOTE (gazza @ May 12 2008, 10:00 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'm extremely disappointed and think that it is pathetic that this archaic attitude (anti-Mac) still persists anywhere in Australia's education system today.

...

The ONLY thing I'm parochial about is Freedom of Choice - to be able to chose a Mac if you wish. If all of this is being "gracious," then Guilty as Charged!

Relax Gazza! I am seeing a changing of attitudes in the education sector; it's just terribly slow and I'm terribly impatient!
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#14 User is offline   gazza 

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Posted 13 May 2008 - 08:07 PM

QUOTE (AppleConvert @ May 13 2008, 07:38 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Relax Gazza! I am seeing a changing of attitudes in the education sector; it's just terribly slow and I'm terribly impatient!

Gee I hope you are right, AppleConvert. I ended up retiring early because I got fed up beating my head against the "MSoft / PC wall." Hard won gains over a ten year period were dashed when a new Deputy Principal marched in and within a couple of years totally replaced the gradually increasing pool of Macs with a completely new network of "Windoze" machines. The irony in this is that he later gained a promotion to Principal of a school which was fanatical for their Macs - from students to teachers to principal to parents and school council, true MacHeads all of them!!
I wonder how long he continued to keep his Windows machine from the Laptops for Teachers program? I reckon the school IT bod would have given him a hard time when he asked to be able to use the network including printers. He, he, he my heart bleeds just thinking about it!!!

gazza
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#15 User is offline   pmoeser 

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Posted 22 May 2008 - 10:07 AM

We've just had our first email telling us that Macs can't save direct to the new server arrangement Ed Qld has!
Apparently docs have to be saved on the desktop and they have written some sort of script that will then copy it to the server.
Talk about making things complicated!
I bet that's saving them some money...
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#16 User is offline   gazza 

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Posted 22 May 2008 - 10:15 AM

QUOTE (pmoeser @ May 22 2008, 10:07 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
We've just had our first email telling us that Macs can't save direct to the new server arrangement Ed Qld has!
Apparently docs have to be saved on the desktop and they have written some sort of script that will then copy it to the server.
Talk about making things complicated!
I bet that's saving them some money...

Yeah, and they will blame the Macs and say they are causing all the problems. What pathetic networking/servers are they using that won't "talk" to a Mac??????

gazza
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#17 User is offline   pmoeser 

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Posted 22 May 2008 - 10:39 AM

QUOTE (gazza @ May 22 2008, 10:15 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Yeah, and they will blame the Macs and say they are causing all the problems. What pathetic networking/servers are they using that won't "talk" to a Mac??????

gazza

I'll re-check the email when I get home and let you know.
I recall something about dropping the file onto an icon with $ in the name
It's a wholus bolus MSFT setup I believe with online access available
Could be some kind of citrix thing also, but either way, they are stifling choice (of an easier system to maintain = cheaper) and innovation in the one segment of the community that needs it!
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#18 User is offline   pmoeser 

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Posted 22 May 2008 - 10:49 AM

"I have been consulting with the Mac Moe developers to make it the default that users files/documents are saved to the server so that they can be accessed from any machine in the school.

They have made a program for this to happen yet will not install it on our machines until they have tested different mac machines to be sure that it will work this way 100% of the time.

So for now the easiest way to save to the server and have files available form any machine are

first save to the desktop and then using the mouse drag the document saved on the desktop into the folder named user$ for example kmerr7$.

This will create a copy in the users Documents on the server.

Open the user$ folder to check that the document has copied to this folder

To keep the desktop clean the document on the desktop can then be dragged to the trash bin on the doc.

There is an alternative which is best I demonstrate to you and provide screen shots for students to follow.

Procedure

>file, >save, >select HD, click on the drop down arrow that is on the right side, then click on the HD dropdown arrow and select the computer name for the machine you are using and the from the list that appears choose the user$ file.

Sounds complex for primary school students. This was my words to Mac Moe devlopers. Yet I believe they will work on a useable solution for us."

Sounds simple...

I believe moe stands for Managed Online Environment

At least it appears that the developers are listening
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#19 User is offline   gazza 

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Posted 22 May 2008 - 10:25 PM

QUOTE (pmoeser @ May 22 2008, 10:49 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
.....Sounds complex for primary school students. This was my words to Mac Moe devlopers. Yet I believe they will work on a useable solution for us."

At least it appears that the developers are listening

It's a start pmoeser, which is something. Having taught primary students I don't think that approach will be too complex for those from grade 3 up. They are very resourceful, especially the ones with computers at home (some still don't have access, but thankfully a shrinking minority.) The good thing about today's kids is they try, explore, have a go, etc, and it doesn't matter if they're "wrong." They don't care like we do and will keep working 'til they get it right.

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#20 User is offline   Neo 

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Posted 19 June 2008 - 12:37 AM

QUOTE (gazza @ May 12 2008, 10:00 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
..... If Victoria's Education system made the headlines on the same basis we would all be attacking them, with good reason, and I would be first in the queue! (BTW Some of the posts above, including mine, do just that!)

.....

The ONLY thing I'm parochial about is Freedom of Choice - to be able to chose a Mac if you wish. If all of this is being "gracious," then Guilty as Charged!


Greetings, this is my first contribution and it is good to hear that others are having the same problems that I [my school] is going through.

I have been using Macs in the Victorian school system for the last 5+ years and have had no significant problems. I have been increasingly disheartened by the increasing activity negativity of sectors of my school's admin. towards Macs. I was saddened [angered] to be told by one of the teachers at school this morning that when he asked to be 'put down for a Mac' in the current rollout of departmental laptops the person who handled this basically make him feel like a leper, effectively told him not to do so as the school would not be supporting the Mac and that the department did not support them either. Needless to say he was reassessing his decision.

The tech support line at the school has largely been that since the PCs have market dominance the students should only be exposed to this platform and having uniformity across the board — teachers and students — makes their life easier.

Enough of my whining, does anyone have any insights/strategies that could help me in combatting the blinkered orientations that I am encountering?

Cheers folks, Neo.

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