Saturday, March 18, 2006

Macbreak: Leo Laporte demonstrates WinXP running on a Mac Mini

Windows XP on an Intel Core Solo Mac Mini. Wow! This could be the answer to my school's dream machine. My students love using the Apple multimedia program like iMovie, iPhoto, and iDVD. There are also many programs that still just run on Windows that we have. My students prefer to use Publisher over Apple's Page, and Access Database is a program that our students must master in order to pass the NC 8th Grade Computer Skills Test. I know that we could use MS Works still for our high school kids to learn how to use databases, but no one in the real world uses it. Some school using Apple have purchased third party database programs to teach their students the skills of query and filtering a database. My students that can not pass the 8th Grade Computer Skills Tests have computer skills. They can find every game site not blocked by our server. They can locate every photo of a PitBull and print it out with enough copies for all the homies. They can surf to very NBA star and their favorite male and female rap star on the Internet. My point is that DPI's computer literacy skills and my "darlings" are on opposite ends of the poles. It is a cultural issue. It is the conflict between Digital natives versus digital immigrants.

"OUR STUDENTS HAVE CHANGED RADICALLY," this is the observation of Marc Prensky in his article "Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants." (Prensky, October 2001.) Today's students and young workers are part of a cohort he calls "Digital Natives." Raised on MTV, video games, e-mail, the Web and instant messaging, Digital Natives have developed cognitive thinking patterns that differ from previous generations. As a result, the challenge facing educational designers is to recognize these cognitive differences and to develop learning offerings that are appropriate to their cognitive learning patterns.

The same is true for 2006 classroom, but it getting worse. Add to this the fact that of my students, a vast majority of them still do not have access to the web at home. The students I teach tend to be more Digital Have-Nots. Oh, some have cell phones and CD players to listen to on the school bus. However, cable connections, dial-up and DSL are fell and far between. Sure I have more students in my 2006 classroom with Internet access, but the fact is, their still remains a glaring digital divide. Computers are still complicated and are seen by many families as a low priority to medicine and health care expenses, gas prices-- going out the roof again!, food costs-- heading up with fuel costs, rent, cable bills, cell phone bills, and on and on.

I really like the idea of a MacMini, able to run Windows XP and OS X. That is just too simple and makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

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