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Macs fuel UK academic turnaround

updated 10:50 am EDT, Fri April 28, 2006

Macs, academic turnaround

A school in the UK which recently boasted 100 percent GCSE passes credits its technology infrastructure -- which relies heavily on Apple systems -- as a major contribution to the exam results. Wildern School in Hampshire is home to more Macs than any other school in England, and recently won the government's Future Vision Award for use of technology in its curriculum. In 1997, seven percent of Wildern's departing students had no GCSE qualification, and boys' achievements, as in many schools, were lagging behind those of girls. Many classrooms at the school now link to interactive whiteboards, and the number of Macs has grown incrementally within a school-wide wireless environment. "We have every type of Apple hardware with a full range of video and audio tools," said the school's head, Jeffery Threlfall. "Once youngsters get their hands on a Mac they don't want to go back to PCs. They like the intuitive nature of the system, as well as the modern design-led look... and they love the software."

Wildern also installed a Mac-based learning environment in a new 17-classroom building used for Science, English and ICT. The building is entirely wireless, with AirPort Extreme Base Stations supporting PowerBooks. The infrastructure is controlled by four Apple Xserves and an Xserve RAID system, which also manages the school's older PCs, according to Apple.

by MacNN Staff





  1. iomatic

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Yeah, I love Macs, but I'm not so sure Apple's solutions really had to do anything with this other than just being a really good tool; can the same thing be accomplished with—ick—Dell's systems? Probably.

  1. olePigeon

    Joined: Dec 1969



    But productivity is higher on Macintosh. They can get more work done in the same amount of time, which might've contributed to their success.

    If the kids are comfortable using the comupters, they'll find it easier to learn and work. That's one of the key advantages to Apple's OS and computers.

  1. aristotles

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Productivity is key here

    Instead of futzing around with windows and worrying about viruses, they are able to leverage the built-in technology in OS X and software running on the platform as a tool for learning.

    Unless schools want to turn out a bunch of future MCSEs, they should look for tools which reduce the amount of non-academeic activity to minimum to that they can concentrate on learning general accademic skills instead of troubleshooting.

  1. eddd

    Joined: Dec 1969


    viruses and malware

    I taught at a university that provided Macs for the creative departments and PCs for the business departments. We had some crossover students; those taking electives in a new area, changing their major, or simply prefering PCs. It was interesting to see the results - the students in line at the tech help window were almost always carrying PCs... you rarely saw a Mac in line. And I had to help a number of students who had spyware problems on their PCs... some of them practically paralyzing their laptops.

    On the other hand, the students with Macs just worked away. They did tend to run into a lot of broken hinges and latches, though – these were the days of the Titanium models.

  1. willed

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Nice to see students enjoying using Macs at school. Most of my old schoolmates still think Macs are c*** because of the rubbish Performas and terrible sysadmin we had back at school in 1997 onwards. Glad to see things are changing.

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