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Filed under Education, Geekhood, High school, Technology

Colleges switching from PC to Mac en masse?

apple-pc-mac-people.jpgIt’s not just Wilkes University that is contemplating an institution-wide switch from Windows machines to OS X machines running both OS’s under Boot Camp.

At Princeton University, 31 percent of students’ computers connected to the campus network in fall 2006 were Macs, compared with 10 percent in 2003-4. Similar gains have been reported across the country. In fall 2006, 20 percent of freshmen at the University of Virginia owned Macs, compared with 3 percent four years earlier. At Dartmouth College, which has historically had strong Apple support, the numbers are even higher, with 55 percent of freshmen last semester reportedly using Macs. […]

n 2006, two colleges separately took the unusual step of switching to Mac lab environments with the dual-boot option: Wilkes University, in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., and Bemidji State University, in Bemidji, Minn. Both began purchasing iMacs to gradually replace their existing PCs over a several-year upgrade cycle, and some other state institutions in Minnesota are following suit. Already, other colleges across the country have begun contacting the IT directors behind the shift as they consider whether going Mac-only makes sense for them as well.

The article also points out that Penn State has been thinking about this as well, but “any talk of switching to a single platform is off the table” because of the sheer size of the university and the multiplicity of computing needs among students and faculty there. That seems right; the whole point is not to lock oneself into any particular format but rather to invest in the technology that is going to work the best for the longest amount of time for minimal cost. Which is a pretty good argument against being a “Microsoft campus”.

I’ve noticed an uptick in new Mac users around my college as well, including our president. And the parents of a lot of the prospective students I’ve met this year have said they’ll be buying their kids Macs once they get to college. And the IT people are laughing less and less when I mention us doing an institutional switch…

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