Today we had our first session with Beyond Chalk. Tori Potts (Victoria) turned up at about 2pm, I had the computers set up in the Circle of Knowledge together with the data projector, she arrived with an airport extreme, a mini Mac server and an Apple remote.
We had about 11 or 12 teachers turn up for the first wave. Training is not compulsory and teachers are invited to attend. Subscription, I feel, is the best way to get things done because that way teachers are there because they want to be there. Also these same teachers will lead the way for other teachers who are less inclined to use technology in the classroom, either way there is really no choice. Technology in education is here to stay.
So what did we do? Tori introduced the teachers to the iMacs by showing them the finder, the help menu and especially the “new to Mac section” which compares Windows commands with Mac commands to help users migrate more easily.
The first hour was spent introducing Mac programs and utilities focusing on iLife. The second hour was spent focusing on iMovie and how that could be used in education.We looked at how another school has used iMovie for a project called “5 Minutes to Change the World” in which students created a film recording, suggestions about how to change the world in five minutes a day. iMovie is quite clearly a simple and easy program to use with many more advantages and functions than Movie Maker and a lot more accessible than products like Soni Vegas.
We finished off by explaining how these products can be integrated into Apple Wiki and the blogging features which are available on the Mac server and these areas will be looked into during Part 2 and 3 of the training sessions I have reserved with Beyond Chalk.
Quite clearly Apple have gone onto a good thing with focusing on education and rather than saying they focus on education, they demonstrate it by sponsoring a company like Beyond Chalk to come and train our teachers. It is also evident that Apple products are genuinely easy to learn and use.
Macs don’t promise to do everything but what they do do they do really well, easily and quickly with the focus always being the end product ie. What is it that you want to do? Write a script, do presentations, produce a movie or write a book and all of these they do well, therefore Mac is about getting things done rather than doing.