University equips each lab workstation with two computers; one Mac and one Windows

Western Michigan University has received a $50,000 gift from the Frederick S. Upton Foundation.

“The donation was announced today by University officials as they launched a summer science program for area teachers and named two high-tech science laboratories in honor of Frederick and Margaret Upton. The labs and the program are at the WMU-Southwest campus in Benton Harbor,” reports WMU News.

WMU News continues, “The Upton Foundation Science Academy, which welcomed its first class of teachers July 7, immerses educators in two weeks of hands-on learning experiences and enhances their ability to reach students. The workshop is based on inquiry-based learning, which goes beyond reading from a textbook, says Dr. Joseph Stoltman, a WMU geography professor and facilitator for the academy.”

“The new WMU labs are equipped with the latest in state-of-the-art technology. Each lab accommodates about 25 students, offers wireless access to the Internet, and boasts two computers–a Macintosh and a Windows PC–at each workstation.” Full story here.

MacDailyNews Take: Imagine if the same “Mac next to a Windows box” concept was applied to the senior management of Fortune 500 companies? How long would it take for IT staffs worldwide to be called on the carpet to answer for years of Windows propagation at the expense of the more productive/less-to-maintain superior platform?

11 Comments

  1. About a week is how long it would take, but so much money is tied into Microsoft that this would never be allowed to happen. So, the world crawls along, dependent on IT fools, working on their computers’ maintenance too much and producing far less stuck with a mediocre Windows-based mess than if they were blessed with a pure Mac OS X environment. Think about it: iChat AV, Rendezvous, Keynote, even friggin’ Office:Mac, if need be – productivity with OS X would soar!

  2. M$ is getting so aggressive these days against losing even a single large contract that it sent Steve Ballmer to Munich, Germany to lobby the mayor against adoption of LINUX by the entire city government. However, this story DOES have a happy ending as Microsoft Windoze will be replaced by LINUX throughout the Munich city government.
    The WMU Lab story should be both an encouragement and a warning. First, it means Windows is enough of a player in education to warrant equal standing in a computer lab for education. It has not been very long ago that Apple had a 70% share of this market. Second, we can be take heart in the fact that WMU and the Upton Foundation had enough sense to not be steamrolled into the XP camp. Side-by-side I have no doubt which system will look better.
    CAN YOU SAY WAKE UP CALL!!!

  3. Ah memories…

    Way back when in 1985 or so, I ran student computer labs. We leased 30 Macs and 30 DOS machines in order to see which would be “better” for the students. I showed two kids how to do a lab report with a Mac. I showed two students how to do a lab report with the DOS machines. Then I sat back to watch the results.

    Six months later, the Mac labs were full of students and we had to institute a waiting list. The PC labs had about ten students.

    Of course, the school went with DOS machines because that’s what everybody else is doing.

  4. what a perfect opportunity for someone to assess setup experience, comparative reliability, user experience and cost of ownership week by week and publicise the results widely… heh heh heh

  5. Reality is you have no choice. In our lab we require at least one WinXP box to run the data analysis suites that are not available for any Mac OS. The vast majority of machines are Macs but we can’t live without the PC.

  6. Re: Cameraman
    Can’t do data on a Mac? I don’t think so. If it’s not available out of the box in Powerschool it can be done with Filemaker or MS Office. Just because you can’t set up a basic office program doesn’t entitle you to dismiss an entire OS. If you can’t do something that simple, you don’t need to be working around students and computers.

  7. Ever try to run top end circuit design software through VPC, or, no wait, PC Only mechanical stress analysis software, or, electromagnetic modelling software, or, or, or..

    It’s not if the software is avaialble or not, or even if it can be run by VPC.

    VPC is a WASTE OF TIME for high end PC specific software. I use Macs as my main machines, and would gladly throw them out, but I still have to have several PC’s to do my number crunching as the software is priopetary and PC only, but why kill a high performance software package by running it through a PC emulation.

    Yes lower end versions are probably available as recompilable GNU software, but they don’t cut it for the high end stuff. I have directly compared various flavours of matlab and octave and other numerical analysis packages on various PC’s, Macs, Xserves and the like, and sorry. PC wins every time for this stuff. (not counting G5, which will win due to 64 bits, IFF software is compiled for it)

    PC is not dead, just slooping around in a gunge pile on the floor.

  8. Here’s how you support some occasional PC usage and put Macs on everyone’s desk. You setup a Windows Terminal Server and let your users connect to it with the Remote Connection client from Microsoft when they want to run a piece of PC software. No emulation, no wasted desktop space. And if you don’t need that many simultaneous connections to the PC, just use a Windows XP box. I think it supports two remote connections at a time.

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