Survey shows support for Henrico iBook program with ‘lukewarm support’ for Apple’s Mac OS X

“The first comprehensive study of the groundbreaking Apple iBook initiative in Henrico County’s public schools shows that most students want the laptop program to continue even though some are unsure how much it is helping them academically. The survey, conducted for the School Board by a Northern Virginia consulting firm, also found that most parents support the program even though they prefer Windows-based computers and most teachers favor its continuation even though it has added to their workloads,” Tom Lappas reports for The Henrico Citizen. “Henrico became the first school system in the nation to lease laptop computers for all of its high-school students when it entered into a four-year agreement with Apple in 2001. A four-year agreement for middle-school students began the following year.”

Lappas reports, “The School Board is considering whether to extend its high-school contract with Apple for another three or four years or take another direction. Its decision, expected in the coming months, will be made with a national audience watching. Henrico earned international fame for its agreement in 2001, and a decision to continue the initiative or end it will be viewed by many as either a validation or indictment of the overall concept.”

“According to parents who participated in the survey, students spend an average of 1.8 hours per day using their iBooks while at home. The survey did not ask how much of that time was devoted to schoolwork and how much was spent on recreational use,” Lappas reports. “The survey also found that 90 percent of families have another family computer at home, and that 92 percent of those computers are Windows-based. The survey found lukewarm support for the Apple operating system; 54 percent of parents would prefer a Windows-based system for their children, while only 12 percent favor Apple. High-school students also favor Windows over Apple, 51 percent to 24 percent, but middle-schoolers prefer Apple 41 percent to 36 percent. Teachers were split at 34 percent apiece, while administrators showed the strongest support for Apple, selecting it over Windows 66 percent to 8 percent. Surveys were completed by about 80 percent of all students, 81 percent of teachers and 69 percent of administrators.”

Full article with more details here.

MacDailyNews Take: The younger students, perhaps more open to change, favor the Mac, as do the administrators. This bodes well for Apple’s Mac platform’s future. There may be a resistance to change in people who are long-time Windows users or are very familiar with Windows or there may be some students who want the latest games or any number of other interesting reasons for the survey’s results. The survey states favor for Windows or the Mac, but the article doesn’t explain the reasons why some prefer one OS or the other. Why do you think that some of the groups studied prefer Windows and some prefer Mac OS X?

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Henrico poll finds students are using iBooks successfully – February 11, 2005
Henrico iBooks raise concerns among some parents – May 28, 2004
Henrico high school laptop program to continue, but will it still feature Apple Macs? – February 24, 2005


  1. I work in Henrico and have found the kids really like the Macs. For the most part the teachers do to. There are a few who hate them but I think they would be unhappy no matter what. It is very easy to blame the Mac rather than their own lack of knowledge/skil.

    The kids laptops are a little slow and light in the RAM department. 128, I think. They have a decent amount of applications. I’ll list exactly what if anyone is interested.

    The bottom line is that laptops really do make a huge difference in what you can do in a school and they interest the students. Being in a school they are also used very roughly. You need a robust operating system like OS X. I can’t imagine the problems we would have using windows.

  2. Hey, if you are such an ignorant moron that you cant figure out how to stop a popup with your browser, and it hurts you so much, leave. No one gives a shit.

    O-U-T, crybabies!

  3. I remember when snowboards cameon to the scene. The parents didn’t like them, and the ski resorts wouldn’t allow them. It’s always the kids who “get it”. Same here with the middle schoolers. It’d be a real shame if the parents got their way here…

  4. Ditto JC’s comments. Give them four years with PC’s and lets see how much fun they have keeping that crap working and virus free. Especially with this social network Hazard brought up. Sounds like a virus super-highway to me.

    Can someone (or Hazard’s Dad) fill me in as to what he is talking about? Are there commonly used chat, VoIP, or video chat services that PC kids use that are not functional with a Mac? (note I said commonly used. Please don’t mention some obscure bit of software that only 10,000 people worldwide use it and call it something common that all the the Mac users are going to die without)

  5. I would have to see the survey questions. How a question is phrased can have a tremendous impact on how it is answered?

    For example:

    The laptops your children use have “OS X” installed. Would they work better if they had Windows on them?


    The iBooks distributed to Henrico students came installed with “OS X”. We chose this operating system over Window because it was less prone to viruses and programs that install child-inappropriate material. Do you think choosing “OS X” was a good idea?

    I wouldn’t be surprised if many of the surveyed parents didn’t really know what “OS X” was. So again, I’d really need to see the survey questions before I could decide how I feel about the survey results.

  6. MilwaukeeMacOPhile;

    I like your style. Done a little survey work myself and I like a lot more info about surveys like this before I trust them.

    To repeat Tera Patricks:

    Lies, damned lies, and statistics.

  7. Still, the survey numbers show a much higher support for Apple than the market share numbers would indicate. More proof that market share is held up to be more important than it really is and also anecdotal evidence that Apple’s market share is in for a wild ride up.

    As for RAM, I agree that 128MB is not enough for running Panther, but to those of you who think that 256MB isn’t enough, what the hell are you running on your Mac that needs more, and would you consider it a consumer app or professional app? My girlfriend has an iBook with 256MB RAM and it works fine for MS Office, Mail, Safari and iLife.

    People who run apps other than those that need more memory should get it, but why would you want Apple to raise the price points of it’s consumer machines by adding more RAM if it isn’t needed by the majority? If you want more RAM, get more RAM. Oh, and trust me, retailers are trying to sell people RAM, but if you are a smart consumer on a budget who isn’t sure, you’ll see how it runs on 256MB and then upgrade if you’re not happy.

  8. I leraned how to use computers at school on an Apple II and was able to get cozy with any other system that was out at the time; Commodore 64, Atari 800, IBM PC (running DOS). I think kids are smart enough to go from one system to another without much of a problem. I surely did when I was young and I can go from Mac to Windows to Linux with ease.

    Kids need to be taught the concepts and fundamentals of computing, not just one way of computing (hence the Microsoft way).

  9. Well, as my mama always said, “Stupid is as stupid does.”

    Those parents need to get some computer savvy before they state offerin’ their opinons on such a technical topic. Of cousre the dumb ones like Windows, that’s all they’ve ever known.

    People are afraid of change. Coputers are like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.

  10. I work as a tech with the Henrico program….

    1. All students and teachers use 10.3 Panther.

    2. A lot of those kids want windows because they think they can hack it easier and play their PC games and chat. (Chat software is blocked on our machines)

    3. At present, we do not have MS office because of the cost involved. Only Appleworks. If iBooks are renewed, then they will get Office 2004.
    (That should address most PC complaints. Many are under the impression there is no mac version of Office…)

    4. The survey did not address why on the platform question.

    5. Most parents are clueless about Macs and prefer windows simply out ouf ignorance. There is also a lot of FUD out there about Macs that a lot of parents have bought into. Most are not aware that we don’t worry that much at all about viruses and worms… And so it goes…

  11. My question is why do students need MS Office?

    All through high school and college (Business Major) I used ClarisWorks/AppleWorks for papers and it worked great. I actually prefer the simplicity of AppleWorks over MS Office. And now with Pages out, there could be a bright future for another Apple-based suite.

    I could see parents pressuring them for MS Office because of its business implications, but if you know one word processor/spreadsheet program, you know them all.

  12. Good luck keeping all those laptops running if you switch to Windows. Can you imagine the virus explosion with a bunch of middle school and high school kids connecting to the net on unprotected home networks. How many have firewalls at home? Software firewalls are ok but hardware firewalls are better. And what is the added cost for that many copies of an Anti-Virus protection software and monthly update subscription?

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