“The past few years have seen few exciting innovations in computer technology and software functionality, with the exception of Apple Computer,” Gary Stager writes for District Administration: The Magazine for K-12 Education Leaders. “I’m sorry to sound like a platform partisan, but wireless networking, digital video editing, consumer DVD production, portable audio, Bluetooth, zero-config networking, video chat, floppy-less computers, Firewire, desktop audio and flat displays have either been invented, popularized or made accessible by Apple Computer. PC companies may have introduced a technology earlier or created competing products since, but few people can argue those products represent a better value or are easier to use than Apple’s.”

“The company’s iLife package (iMovie, iDVD, iPhoto, iTunes and now Garageband) made the digital lifestyle era possible. It enhanced the value of multimedia peripherals and helped fuel the explosion of digital photography and video,” Stager writes. “The iPod is at the heart of the most recent high-tech revolution. There were portable music players prior to the iPod. However, the elegant interface, large storage capacity, stunning industrial design and integration with the free iTunes software made portable digital music players a must-have item. One can imagine using the iTunes Music Store as a vehicle for distributing all sorts of classroom resources.”

“The iPod’s commercial success is responsible for the new Macintosh Mini. This $499 computer is smaller than a lunchbox, yet contains Ethernet, a modem, Firewire, USB 2, analog/digital video and a combo drive (CD-R/DVD). Best of all, the Mac Mini comes preloaded with iLife ’05,” Stager writes. “Educators will want Macintosh Minis due to their power, affordability and ability to use existing monitors, keyboards and mice. It is not hard to imagine teachers throwing a Mac Mini into their bag and schlepping it to their next classroom or home in order to view student video projects. Kids may do the same. The new Macintosh hardware and software will not only be desired by many educators, but the retail success of the Macintosh Mini and iPod line will drive student demand for these technologies. Students will expect schools to support their creativity with materials at least as flexible, powerful and expressive as that which they have in their bookbags.”

Full article here.