get 60 decent XP/win7 laptops instead for the same price
Looking for opinions really.
Do you think it would be a good idea to have a Mac suite in a primary school? Basically.
We have a 3:1 ratio of laptops to students which are PC and we are looking for ways to really improve the ICT and after introducing some macbooks and seeing how well they were received we are thinking of installing 30 iMacs to really push the kids (and teachers).
As anyone done this in a primary or seen it done, what has been the outcome?
get 60 decent XP/win7 laptops instead for the same price
I would love our feeder Primaries to have Macs so when they come up to us they have some prior knowledge...
Nice though isn't it. And the look nice too ...
But that is where it stops. You will be very restriced to your educatiomal programs on a MAC - yes you will have the internet and a reall 'flashy' MAC suite but if you have any regular programs you use then you will either have to fork out more money for the MAC versions (if they do them!) or go with out. An in my experience Teachers don't take NO for an answer.
I can say you will be blessed with out the dreaded InterNet Explorer but have you thought how you will lock them down? PC skills are not much use on a MAC ... If you have MAC experience then that's great but you will be in the minority and you WILL be expected to train others on tasks that they will already know if they had a PC to use (if I had a penny for every time I have been asked where the right click has gone!). Installing programs, imaging machines recovering files - all the simple tasks on a PC take on a new dimension with MACs. Oh not to mention the fact you can't just fix them, you have to send them away (even with Aplle Care) and that's at your own cost.
Better the devil you know ...
We have installed 32 iMacs in addition to our room of 32 XP Desktops. Well received and great cross curricular space, but depends what its going to be used for. Integrating with Active Directory hasn't worked the way it would be expected and esp with snow leopard having problems with office applications saving.
For stuff like Comic Life Magiq, Stop Motion animation, iLife Suite and connecting to learning platforms and using all the features, they are great, for teaching traditional side of ICT like office and stuff, eugh!
Self Confessed Mac Lover!
For locking them down we are getting a mac mini server, I've used macs for a few years but only as a desktop user, never admin so I'm getting some training from the company who are quoting us for installing them. They are also including a staff inset day for the staff, but how many will listen is a different matter.
Hadn't thought about the re-imaging. Is it massively more difficult?
Have you put Office for Mac on them or gone for iWork?
Cheers for the input so far.
If you're going to get 30 macs you will NEED a server. You can run the server OS on a mac mini, i wouldnt like to mind.
Is look at mac minis. You can pick them up for less than £550 with a monitor. Next model up is the iMac which start at £900ish and arnt any better specced than the minis.
reimaging is a matter of holding down 'n' as they boot, and selecting the image you want (provided you have a server to dish the images out)
We're getting the 20" iMac for education, £600 a piece which I thought was pretty good.
The server will only be handling policies, all storage/processing will be done through the existing AD I think.
Cheers RinSewand, Can the mini be the imaging server as well? Obviously the images would be held on a storage server for space.
WEll we have done the magic circle integration, machines bound to the mac server and the AD domain, but in the summer rebuilt im considering them being 2 seperate entities. I know it can be done but cant find the resources on how to do it or afford a company to come set up; Home directories. You can extend the AD schema so that when logging onto a pc they get a home directory as specified in AD, then if log into a mac get a home directory specified in Work group manager. This maybe down to the way we redirect my documents etc
We have microsoft office 2008 on them and while is a great tool, with snow leopard we have had problems saving to the smb home directories(read only, file open with other user, this type of word file cannot be opened) All a bit of a pain so considering the work suite...
We have got the edalive software, some coole maths/english games.
Also worht looking at is having rmote desktop for control, installation etc
As I was lead to believe by an Apple man - you can use the Mini as a fully functioning server so yeah - provided you have enough storage space to hold the images, you can use it as the imaging server.
mini works very well as a server for doing all the basics like workgroup manager, imagining, web etc, and its a great deal for the one without optical drive and 2 hdd in. Wont handle stuff like podcast producer etc though at same time
The Redeemer School in Blackburn (The Redeemer CEP primary school : Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council) are pretty much fully Mac based.
I'm not sure if they have a technician on site or if they buy in help, but might be worth dropping them a line to see how it has worked, any pitfalls they've had, etc ..
Hi we have 30iMacs for users and 4 laptops for staff here.
I would say that the old argument for getting macs that they are better for multimedia stuff doesn't really hold up much these days. A lot of the applications now have windows versions (comic life, i can animate etc...) plus they do crash and do as many "funny" things as windows does when you are trying to manage 30 of them in a mixed network environment. For example I believe it is still the case that safari cannot access https pages when you are routed through a proxy (not used safari for ages because of this so maybe it is fixed) so any sites that use secure pages will not be usable unless you install another browser. Also I have had problems with the time getting out of sync for some bizarre reason so it prevents you from logging in with a AD domain account until the time is synced as local admin. This was much more regular when we were dual booting them with windows, which we have abandoned for now until imaging a dual boot system becomes easier. Also randomly I will sometimes have to unbind then bind some macs back onto the AD domain for no reason to allow login with an AD account. I have definitely found that once you go beyond a single user environment with a mac or go outside what apple have predefined for you (such as idvd templates etc...) things get more complicated and therefore prone to problems. Even if everything runs smoothly you are adding in a completely new system which means more work.
Having said all that the primary and secondary kids we have had in using the macs seem to get a real buzz out of using them also I believe it is a very good idea to expose them to other operating systems and software. I personally like OS X as an OS but not to the point where I am blind to its problems. It also can only make your CV look more impressive with imacs and os x server on it. There are problems with support as it seems almost impossible to get any kind of onsite support from apple in the uk. I know of one council who spend approx £40,000 to get better support from them but that still does not get them onsite. If you can justify the expense and see real benefits for the students and can cope with the extra work then go for it.
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