Julie A. Cunningham

Academic Advisor

Toshiba Laptops in a row

From PC to Mac…. and Back

6 Comments

Toshiba Laptops in a rowWell, I write this from my new Toshiba Satellite laptop. Running Windows 7. Not my Macbook.

Our family had to step back and take a long, hard look at our technology needs and budget. Once we determined that three of our children would be joining me at my new school, ย we knew that we wanted to provide devices for each of them. The math looks something like this: 2 adults + 4 student children = 6 devices. Here’s the fun part….

6 devices * $1,400 for a Mac= $8,400. Replacement cycle of 3 years means the average monthly cost is $233.

OR

6 devices* $380 for a Toshiba Satellite= $2,280. Monthly cost is $63.

It’s hard to fight those numbers, especially when the bulk of our technology use is web-based and there are comparable open-source applications available. So, we are now a PC family and I’ll be working in a PC school. So much for never going back, huh?

My thoughts so far:

LOVE…

  • The numeric keypad-didn’t realize how much I had missed this!
  • Having a backspace and delete key again.
  • Arrow keys!!!
  • Right click button instead of control click.
  • Windows 7 themes rock- they change the music and everything!
  • Picasa makes me happier than iPhoto ever did.
  • Blio is an amazing ebook reader for my kids- download the free books w/o an account.
  • Pretty much all my stuff looks the same… thanks to syncing, cross-platform apps like Google Chrome, TweetDeck, Evernote, and Kindle Reader.
  • My children are all gleefully playing Age of Empires with each other.

HATE…

  • Lack of two-finger scrolling on touchpad. Had no idea how much I used this on my Mac.
  • Zooming feature on the trackpad when two fingers are on it…. see above. It’s a constant zooming problem. ((I’m sure there is a setting for this, but I haven’t found it yet!))
  • Not having a shortcut to take quick screenshots- there’s a Snipping Tool, but it’s not the same thing!
  • Having to use Cntrl instead of the Command key- finger placement is weird.
  • Where did my Command+Q go?
  • How hard can it be to move iTunes libraries over? Answer: Fairly hard. Blech

All in all, I’m super pleased with the decision. We’re planning to go purchase another one so we have 4…. still two to go, but enough that each student who can bring a laptop to school will have one.

This afternoon, my 4th grader approached me and said he’d like to work on his schedule for this fall. ((School starts in two weeks, and is personalized per child so he gets to set his schedule during the school block with some guidance.)) Rather than grabbing paper, I just told him to grab his laptop and open a spreadsheet in his school Google Docs account. He titled it, created the headings, times, colored blocks, and shared it with me, his dad, his siblings, and the school admin before heading off to work on his chores. The whole sharing thing was a hugely exciting for him. Love that.

It’s this kind of stuff that makes me thankful that we are able to create a 1-to-1 environment for our children. Mac or PC- it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that they are connected learners who know how to use the tool to create and collaborate.

It’s not about the tech…. it’s about the connection.

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6 thoughts on “From PC to Mac…. and Back

  1. Nicely said – I have students using Mac, PC and Linux. One student commented that the “OS flavour” doesn’t really matter any more, now that we’re using Google Apps for Education for the school and that there are so many other cloud apps.

    Re: the screen capture, look on your keyboard for PrtScn; pressed it will take your whole desktop, pressed with Shift it will take the active window and put it in your clipboard to be pasted anywhere ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks for the tips, Kat! I located the button. Just need to figure out where the saved image goes now… ๐Ÿ˜‰ Windows has gotten very “Mac-ish” since I used it last…. so I’m not going through as much withdrawl as I thought I would be.

  2. I’m glad you’ve found a solution that works! Although with a MacBook you could probably stretch the replacement cycle to 3.5 or 4 years…

    ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • I’m sure we could extend it- I agree. Love my Mac. But these kids keep growing up! My oldest started high school today- he’ll be in college next replacement cycle!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Great Post I am A Director of IT and I have these conversations all the time. I always ask what is the computer being used for. My thoughts are for drop in labs for email and office let’s not spend as much money and spend it in labs that really need it. Seems a group of people believe you have to have the Mac for everything. It shouldn’t be about the technology.

    • Agreed- funny that the Apple folks always ask that when you first come computer shopping…. “What will you be using this for?” My response was “Whatever I can do on the $999 white one.” ๐Ÿ˜€ Thanks for reading & commenting.