Though here in Sasaktchewan, there were IBM units working in Regina in 1962 the first practical application of computer technology in the school setting was demonstrated at a conference in Regina in 1978. I was preety impressed with several Regina teachers who were breaking new ground with Commodore PETs.
For me as a principal it was not until 1981 that we received our first two used Apple ][+ computers in Watson Lake Yukon's High School. That Christmas we got one for our house, twenty-five years ago so in many ways we have had a pretty long experience with the technology. Installing full scale student labs in schools began in earnest in Saskatchewan schools in the mid 80s and in most schools they were DOS machines which required the teaching of computer techonology as they were awkward and difficult machines to use. In installed some Macintosh labs in schools and those allowed teacheres and students to put these wonders to work.
Work is really what computer technology is all about. The uses were difficult to define in the beginning as the school machines were often adaptation of game playing machines. It was with the advent of networks and the Internet that the computer became what it is today and indespensible research and productivity tool.
When teachers returned to their classrooms this fall in Regina things were about to change in a really big way. For the first time in this province a complete school system decided it wanted every teacher to have their own computer and at this point, every Regina high school teacher has been issued a Windows based Toshiba laptop computer. With in a month all Regina elementary school teachers will have on their desk and for their use a Macintosh MacBook like the one seen above on the right. The MacBook has the capability of providing the user with either a Macintosh platform or a Windows environment on the same computer.
Meanwhile, to the west of us, a major revolution has occurred. Alberta and British Columbia have decided to push forward with outfitting every student in their schools with a computer. This is not ground breaking in North America, as serveral US states have taken this step in the past couple of years and about five years ago many US colleges required all enrolling students to have their own machines.
Regina Publich school system has also taken an interesting step in computer use with their student high school programmes. Over the past two years they outfitted their high schools with Macintosh equipped multimedia labs but with the change by Apple to use Intel processors the modern Macintosh computer can now do the dedicated work it was so well designed to do as a multimedia base, but now the same machine can be restarted and chug along with Windows running. With this capability and needing to rreplace seven formerly Windows only, labs they have ordered 200 Macintosh iMacs like the one shown at the top of this page on the left.
The new iMac comes fully loaded with a camera, microphone, a full set of software, wireless and with the addition of a Microsoft license will boot up with the current, or future version of Windows and everything works.
There is speculation that Saskatchewan will follow the example of its two western neighbours and it too will have a ratio of one computer for every student. Regina already has the one computer for every teacher, the next step is not the far away.