Jump to content
The Education Forum

PC or Mac?


Marco Koene
 Share

Recommended Posts

  • 2 weeks later...

I've been using a Mac since 1989. I just happened to start on one, and I've never been forced to stop using one (which is the commonest reason I've heard over the years for why people switch from Mac to PC).

I use PCs occasionally, and I always get slightly riled with them (yes, even those running Windows XP). I remember an interview with Steve Jobs where he was asked what he really had against PCs running Windows. His answer, eventually, was "they're so shoddy". That's my reason for keeping on using a Mac.

I'm in the happy position now where I was able to specify that I wanted a Mac when I was at interview for the job I have now. I'm the only person in the entire faculty who uses one … and it isn't a problem at all. Our central IT technicians don't like it - but Macs are notoriously reliable, so their dislike doesn't affect my work.

As to why I like working with a Mac, there was a good answer in a Swedish computer magazine a couple of years ago: "jag trivs med min Mac" (I feel happy with my Mac - although the Swedish phrase conveys a greater depth of meaning than that!). And I suppose that my bosses have realised that having a teacher who's happy with the tools he has to use is actually quite a good thing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I probably would use a Mac if I were not a partner in an educational software development and retailing business. Back in the 1980s my business used to develop educational software on several different platforms: BBC Micro, Arc, RM Nimbus, Mac and PC. It was a dreadfully time-consuming and expensive process, but it was not clear which of these platforms was the dominant one in education, so we could not ignore any of them. Macs had a nice little niche in Scotland and Northern Ireland and we used to sell a lot of Mac software to schools in those regions.

By the mid-1990s it became clear that the PC was taking over. We continued to develop for Arc, Mac and PC, and then the Arc began to disappear. Finally, the Mac lost its foothold, even in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Our database of some 5500 secondary schools indicates that less than 5% are predominantly Mac users. The rest are predominantly PC users. The result: We have ceased to develop educational software for Macs because we hardly get asked for it any more.

On the other hand, my daughter Siân runs an all-Mac graphic design business. Macs are the sine qua non in the print and graphic design business - great machines for applications in this area. All school art departments should have at least one Mac. Sound recording studios also tend to use Macs, I believe.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

All school art departments should have at least one Mac

In theory yes, but considering the sometimes dismal circumstances in art education I feel they can use there money for other more pressing matters.

A mac is the standard in profesional printing etc but for a school....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A mac is the standard in profesional printing etc but for a school....

I doubt that my daughter would have ended up in such an enjoyable and profitable line of work if she had not received good ICT training at school and at art college. She graduated from art college in 1991 - the year is a good indication of how forward-thinking her art college was at the time. The college was well-equipped with different kinds of computers, both PCs and Macs. Most of my daughter's friends from that era have done very well in professional life. Have a look at my daughter's website: http://www.mdmcreative.com

I think the "Alien Resurrection" advertising material they produced for Electronic Arts is probably their best work: under Gallery/Advertising.

In the UK the ratio of computers to pupils in secondary schools will reach around 5:1 in 2004. I know of several schools in the UK that have art departments well-equipped with computers and that train their students to use packages such as Photoshop and Illustrator as well as more traditional art materials. I am currently a member of a team based at Kingston University (MELTEC http://www.meltec.org.uk) that includes art teachers who offer training in such packages. We also cover sound, video and other aspects of multimedia.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is indeed a beautiful website. I do not doubt the use of mac computyers in art but ask myself if it is cost effective. At this moment I am busy setting up a small video editing project and have decided to use the pc instead of the mac. Why? Because yes the mac is better but the pc can be easily used for other purposes as well in the school.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I do not doubt the use of mac computyers in art but ask myself if it is cost effective. At this moment I am busy setting up a small video editing project and have decided to use the pc instead of the mac. Why? Because yes the mac is better but the pc can be easily used for other purposes as well in the school.

In this case it would make more sense to use a PC. The key packages used by art teachers, e.g. Illustrator and Photoshop (which are more or less industry-standard) work in much the same way on a PC as on a Mac. In fact, although my daughter is mainly Mac-trained, we have run joint multimedia training workshops for teachers using PCs. Photoshop Elements is a package that we recommend to schools - it is a cut-down version of Photoshop, but it includes the essential features: http://www.adobe.co.uk/products/photoshopel/

Regarding video, there is a useful device marketed in the UK by Tag Learning: the Digital Blue Digital Movie Creator. It records up to 4 minutes of video and/or a number of still pictures (I can't remember how many) and includes editing software. Stop-frame animation is another feature - i.e. you can produce stop-frame movies along the lines of Nick Park's "Wallis and Grommit”. It’s very easy to use and ideal as an introduction to digital video both for teachers and students. It connects to the USB port and works on PCs and Macs. Price: around 120 euros.

A companion product is Digital Blue’s microphone with a built-in storage facility, i.e. you can make a recording on the move and then upload it to a PC via the USB port at a later time. The software accompanying it includes a number of animation facilities. It's known as the Sound Morpher (aka as the Animation Station). You can record up to 4 minutes of sound away from the computer. This does not sound like a great deal, but in practice you will find that it is more than adequate for capturing dialogues, and of course they can be pieced together and edited in other ways using the Sound Morpher's own software or software such as AudioSurgeon. Price: around 55 euros.

See http://www.taglearning.com/ (search under "D" for "Digital Blue")

Both products form the backbone of the training courses offered by MELTEC (Kingston University): http://www.meltec.org.uk

Teachers in the pilot schools following the MELTEC courses have produced some impressive projects using the above products. I’ve written a few notes that I use in connection with the MELTEC courses at:

http://www.camsoftpartners.co.uk/lspinset.htm

Sorry for the digression – maybe I should have sent this to the Art section of the Forum. :blink:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...