Getting a Mac for School???

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Swiss Apple, Aug 13, 2009.

  1. Swiss Apple macrumors member

    Swiss Apple

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2009
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #1
    I see a lot of the younger US members posting that they're looking for a Mac for school. Now I'm not long out of education myself and in terms of College and University I never saw the need to use a computer for any part of my education other than typing up assignments and maybe some late night research in the library.

    So is this all some elaborate scam by the kids to get their parents to buy them yet another expensive "status" accessory, or is a Macbook/notebook really key to their continued education :confused:
     
  2. Fizzoid macrumors 68020

    Fizzoid

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    Location:
    UK
    #2
    Maybe, just maybe, the education system is different, in the US, than it is from Switzeland?
     
  3. Swiss Apple thread starter macrumors member

    Swiss Apple

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    Jul 25, 2009
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #3
    That what I want to find out, are notebook computers now in the classroom? I remember watching a documentary on this school in the Mid-West where all the kids had tablet PCs and that is what they used throughout the day. However that is very different to buying and taking your own $1200 computer into school.
     
  4. txnoob macrumors 6502

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    Mar 12, 2009
    #4
    I think it depends on the course study. I think many kids, and probably the majority, could get through fine with a $500 laptop and maybe a ram upgrade.
     
  5. Burnsey macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2007
    Location:
    Canada
    #5
    While the computer can certainly help with education, it is also mainly used as a communication tool, between the student and his/her parents, friends, and others in general.
     
  6. aethelbert macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2007
    Location:
    Chicago, IL, USA
    #6
    While a computer is a necessity for internet research and word processing in schooling, I would imagine that only a very small percentage actually need anything high end. Most schools will provide student use computers and labs that will accomplish the needed tasks, so even having one's own computer would be a matter of convenience rather than necessity.

    Even so, communication can take place on a computer of low cost (i.e. netbook) or even in a computer lab at said school.
     
  7. zioxide macrumors 603

    zioxide

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2006
    #7
    It would be impossible for me to go to school without a laptop.

    I have two online courses this semester along with 3 classroom courses. (The two are classes that are only offered online). We have to pass in papers online. The official communication of my college is email, so I have to check that constantly.
     
  8. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604

    thegoldenmackid

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    Dec 29, 2006
    Location:
    dallas, texas
    #8
    Having a computer is completely necessary. Sure, you might be able to get by without it, but that would involve being in the library for ages. Even in high school, without a computer - life would be impossible. Schedules, assignments, quizzes were all posted online. As well as assignments being turned in online. My high school used turniton.com, which scans each work against a database trying to detect plagiarism.
     
  9. txnoob macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2009
    #9
    I don't think anyone is debating the need for computers, especially in the college realm. But are $1000+ laptops needed for basic school work (papers, research, email)?

    I don't think so. I purchased a $700 dual core laptop 18 months ago. I added 2 GB of Ram for $50 the end of last year. It runs faster then when I got it, and I don't see anything up and coming that would eliminate it's usefullness. It's even got a dedicated video card. The equivelent or better today can be found for probably $100 less. I fully expect to be just as productive for general college type functions 2 years from now.

    That being said, if you are going for any type of drafting, computer design, graphics, music/audio, or other technical degree, there may be higher requirements that would warrant such. But teachers, lawyers, CEOs, scientists, high school students, etc. should be just fine with a consumer grade laptop in the $500-$800 range. Especially with the deals placees like Newegg.com have.
     
  10. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

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    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    #10
    Most universities use blackboard now so I would say its a necessity.
     
  11. zioxide macrumors 603

    zioxide

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2006
    #11
    Well, the basic Macbook is like $900. That seems like the perfect school computer.

    However, there's nothing wrong with someone wanting to buy a nicer one. Some people would rather spend more and get one that might last them longer or get something higher quality.

    It's just like cars. You could buy a Hyundai or Kia that would get you around find, but many people like to buy something a bit nicer..
     
  12. ziggyonice macrumors 68020

    ziggyonice

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2006
    Location:
    Rural America
    #12
    For college (aka university), a computer is essential -- at least, in the U.S. I would figure it'd be the same around the world.

    And on that note, Macs are the #1 notebooks on campuses... so maybe it's a sign of the times.
     
  13. smwatson macrumors 6502a

    smwatson

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2005
    Location:
    London, England
    #13
    University, definitely.

    Elsewhere.. Not at all. Never needed a computer in high school really.
     
  14. InvalidUserID macrumors 6502a

    InvalidUserID

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    Sep 7, 2008
    Location:
    Palo Alto, CA
    #14
    Definitely necessary.

    Almost everything is turned in electronically or is required printed, not handwritten. Almost every professor I had used powerpoints during class and would just gloss over too quickly but had them available on their website.

    As for needing an $X computer when $Y computer will do the same thing, its all about preference. zioxide hit it on the head about cars.
     
  15. Eanair macrumors 6502

    Eanair

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2009
    #15
    While an expensive high end computer was not a necessity for me (and my field of study), a computer was; however, needed.

    Aside from already mentioned assignments like essays, presentations, etc, my school really got into the whole online virtual classroom thing, and posting to online discussion boards.

    One class I took required students to make a minimum of 6 discussion board posts (of substance of course) per day. You certainly didn't need a high end computer to accomplish this, but you did need access to a computer.

    EDIT: One other thing (a poster above reminded me) - one of my professors only accepted electronic submissions of essays so she could paste the text into a program that would search the internet and make sure you didn't copy/paste anything from the interwebs. :)
     
  16. fireshot91 macrumors 601

    fireshot91

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2008
    Location:
    Northern VA
    #16
    When you get to Middle/High school, yes, you need a computer. But...only for typing up essays, checking Blackboard, etc.

    You don't need it in school.
    And, in many times, you don't even need to own that computer, you could use your parent's/sibling's. And it doesn't even have to be more than a netbook. Heck, if I could type fast on my iPhone, I don't think I'd even need a computer for school. Doesn't mean it's not a convenience.

    For universities, yes you need your own computer.
    Again, I don't think it needs to be more than a Pentium Dual Core though.Or a Core Duo
     
  17. Xavier macrumors 68020

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    Mar 23, 2006
    Location:
    Columbus
    #17
    I am a music technology student. A computer comes in VERY handy
     
  18. rhsgolfer33 macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 6, 2006
    #18
    A few of my classes have required laptops. My Business Statistics and Quantitative Analysis courses come to mind. You probably could have gotten away with a mid range laptop, you certainly don't need a $2000 Macbook Pro for most courses. I don't use my laptop in class other than in the courses in which it is required. I find I remember better and pay more attention when I'm forced to write my notes and don't have the distraction of a computer. Plus its a pain in the ass to type some accounting notes.
     
  19. it5five macrumors 65816

    it5five

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    May 31, 2006
    Location:
    New York
    #19
    I never had my own computer until I got into university. High school students with expensive laptops is something I don't think I will ever understand. My family shared a single computer my entire life, and I would type up assignments on that all throughout Jr. High and High School.

    Like I said, I eventually purchased my own MacBook when I got into university, thinking I would bring it to class and take notes. That lasted about one week until I realized it is more trouble than it is worth, and started taking notes with pen and paper.

    Do I need my MacBook for what I'm doing (studying history)? Absolutely not. If I was in the same situation now, I could never afford it. The only reason I was able to buy it almost four years ago is because I was living at home at the time. I'd probably buy a cheap Dell if I was in the same financial situation I am in now (responsible for paying rent, utilities, other living expenses).

    Most people seriously overstate their need for a laptop even at the university level. For a period of time my laptop screen was cracked, and I got by just fine. The university has plenty of computers for use, and in the course of four years I have never had any problems using a computer in the library or computing commons. Its convenient having my own computer, but not a requirement. Especially when one considers the extraordinary cost of purchasing a mac when I could go out and buy a $300 netbook that would suit my needs perfectly.
     
  20. OutThere macrumors 603

    OutThere

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    Dec 19, 2002
    Location:
    NYC
    #20
    All you really need is something you can use to type papers and check email on. Some people at my college bring their computers to class, but all anyone seems to do is play addictinggames.com which seems kind of counterproductive. I prefer paper and pen...I don't have to worry about them getting stolen or breaking. For writing papers and doing research I do like having a laptop, though, as I can find a quiet place to work anywhere I want. At this point I can't imagine not having my own computer, I got one all my own when I was 11 (ten years ago).
     
  21. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604

    thegoldenmackid

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    Dec 29, 2006
    Location:
    dallas, texas
    #21
    People definitely do not buy just what they need to get buy, but for the most part having some sort of a computer is probably near necessary if not a requirement.

    When one goes to the grocery store to buy food, do they only buy what they need to resolve their hunger at that moment, no. When one purchases a car, do they solely by four wheels, an engine and some seats, no. When one buys a cellphone do they buy one that only makes and receives calls, for Cupertino's sake no.

    Why college students are for some reason getting a negative vibe for purchasing computers that are more then what they need to get by sorta puzzles me. Most people on this forum could get by with significantly less powerful and less expensive machines. If it's your money, I am not going to judge.
     
  22. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

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    Feb 2, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    #22
    Pencil and paper is the only way to go, it helps with information retention for me as I can almost remember the lecture by looking at the handwriting (that and I tend to doodle/add side notes).

    I don't know how many parents surf this board but if your kid tells you he/she needs a 2000 macbook pro or something you can tell them they are full of crap (unless he/she is into something like 3d design/autocad/audio etc)
     
  23. it5five macrumors 65816

    it5five

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    May 31, 2006
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    New York
    #23
    I'm the same way. The margins of my notes are filled with doodles/side notes.
     
  24. conch575 macrumors 6502

    conch575

    Joined:
    May 29, 2009
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #24
    At most schools now, in Australia, all the Year 9 students are being given laptops to work on at school. There are a number of things that I see wrong with this. First of all, being on a laptop all the time is REALLY bad for your eyes and second of all, these kids are going to forget how to write!

    We have a big exam at the end of Year 12, called the HSC, where you're expected to write pages and pages of essays in an allocated amount of time (3 or so hours) how are they supposed to do this by hand if they've been taught how to type, they'd loose their writing skill!

    It's not like the HSC could go all online either, it would be so much easier to cheat, computers are so unreliable with power and especially internet speeds! No one can access more than 5kbps on the school network! Also, people just don't take care of their computers at all.

    I think it's quite silly getting rid of writing and using all laptops instead.
     

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