We have tried to shoehorn Windows 7 onto the Mac Book Air laptops. This hasn’t been successful. On an individual basis, it works successfully enough, both parallels or Boot-Camp do an excellent job. In fact initially it all loaded smoothly enough. Our biggest problem was the lack of a PXE boot to connect to our software controlling system. However; in an environment where regular updates are pushed out, it is less stable. Screen drivers in particular have been a problem. The boot-camp drivers work well, but the automatically pushed drivers and updates caused screen size issues, leaving the screens stretched and in a non-native resolution and hence a little fuzzy.
What’s come out of the exercise is the willingness of the students to deal with this. It was explained to them that it was a little bit experimental, and things might not always be trouble-free and flawless. They took to this notion like ducks to water, they were patient in waiting for upgrades, tolerant of screen sizes that were not perfect, found work arounds for printing when they couldn’t connect directly.And much more.
It is this willingness to tolerate technology’s shortcomings that will set them apart as a generation. In a sweeping generalisation, teaching staff are flustered and frustrated if things are not 100% completely smooth, error free and if computers are not tolerant of keyboard thumping in place of rational alternative finding. But the students are.
Classes have continued smoothly with students finding their own work arounds, or partnering up with a working system, all without having to be told anything beyond the initial “this will be experimental”.
We sometime forget to give them the credit they are due in unusual circumstances.
It also suggests that teachers willing to ‘have a go’ even if they are on unfamiliar ground might find unexpected allies in their students when things are not so perfect, and ICT support thin on the ground.