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Since 2007, iOS features, apps,
and signature manipulations
through multi-touch gestures have
increasingly appeared in OS X.
Nowhere is that paradigm shift
more evident than with Mountain
Lion (OS X 10.8), Apple’s latest Macintosh
Quality and Effectiveness: Mountain
Lion (updated to OS X 10.8.1 on August 23,
2012) takes many of its new features from
Apple’s mobile operating system. With
Mountain Lion, there are now even more
similarities to iOS 5.1 because the familiar
Notes, Reminders, and iMessage apps are
fully integrated stand-alone utilities that work seamlessly with Apple’s
popular Mail, Contacts, and Calendar applications.
Ease of Use: The hardest part of upgrading to Mountain Lion
could be that your older Apple computer may be unable to make the
transition. Once installed, you’ll quickly notice that Mountain Lion
doesn’t look significantly different from Lion. There is, however, much
to explore and “enable” in the new OS X, as Mountain Lion boasts
nearly 250 additions or improvements.
Creative Use of Technology: While Mountain Lion offers several
impressive new features, many of them are quite subtle.
These include the Privacy tab of the Security and
Privacy pane (System Preferences), the Dictation
capability available through the Dictation & Speech
System Preference, and the Notification icon that
appears in the upper right corner of the Finder’s
Menu Bar. Three other new Mountain Lion
features, however, provide significant benefits
to educators and students: “AirPlay Mirroring,”
which allows Mac to broadcast data from the
desktop or laptop to an Apple TV; “Dictation,”
which lets users “type” text by speaking it into the microphone; and the
“Accessibility Pane,” which offers improved support for VoiceOver.
Suitability for Use in a School Environment: Some Mountain
Lion improvements may be problematic for schools. For example,
many schools prevent students from engaging in “chat.” Yet
Mountain Lion features Messages, the application that
replaces iChat. Additionally, if a user with an Apple
ID stores documents, photos, media files and other
resources in the “cloud” using the iCloud service,
those resources will be available to all users
with the same ID. Management of Macintosh
desktops, laptops, and iOS devices by a district
or school IT department will require careful
planning according to the school or district’s
acceptable use policy.
• Enhanced accessibility.
• Support for multi-touch gestures for trackpad users.
• AirPlay Mirroring enables Apple TV users to broadcast the Mac desktop.
Mountain Lion scores high
points for ease of use, new
features to support teaching
and learning, and improved
accessibility. If your school uses
older special purpose software
incompatible with Mountain
Lion, you’ll want to hold back on
upgrading all machines to the
new OS X.