Last week I had my students read about the changes that have taken place with Windows 7 from the previous versions of Windows. I then prompted them with the question about what would get them to consider changing over to a new operating system or at least upgrading from their existing one. This provoked a lot of responses especially from the more technologically proficient portion of the class.
Right from the beginning they started to throw Windows 8 under the bus with how its new features made the OS harder to use. They cited numerous examples from the videos they saw of the OS and one student had even tried it and became frustrated with it. I started to respond to the threads trying to get them to think about different users that weren’t them and how they would interact with the interface. The thought got lost in all the noise the threads were creating. As the instructor I felt like the thread became a conversation amongst three students and discouraged me from continuing to interact with it, feeling that I would be showing favoritism to a select few students. I also felt like they inspired me to change my lesson for the next class.
I decided to hold off on my lesson to teach them the very basics of networking and instead engage the entire class in a discussion and get their brains thinking. I let the proficient begin by saying their piece about why they didn’t like the new OS. I felt that if they were able to air their grievances before the discussion began they would be more open to listen to other points of view. I had a few students that use MacBooks instead of PCs and I started off with asking them why they decided to not use Windows as their primary OS. The feedback I got was mostly about ease of use. They enjoyed the multi touch input and how the OS catered to what they were trying to do at that time.
I then brought out my iPad and demonstrated the same features on my iPad. I asked them if they had to choose to give a product to friend which would they chose, and most stuck with whatever they were currently using. I then asked them what they would give a child as their first piece of technology and they responded with the iPad. When I probed them as to why, again ease of use was the common answer.
I then booted up my copy of Windows 8 on the projector. The class took interest and sat up with piqued interest. They asked what that was and when I told them it’s the new Windows they took a step back. They instantly started with the issues they saw with it. I then pointed out that until they knew it was Windows, they were interested. I then proceeded to show them the ways Microsoft has followed Apple and made the OS easy to use. From the store to downloading and installing programs to using gestures like Apple does. They were again interested. I then pointed out that touchscreen monitors are becoming more and more cost effective each day. Currently a 23” one cost about $250, which isn’t that bad for a monitor. I pointed out different case uses for this style interface, from kids, to people who have issues uses a mouse due to arthritis or some other disabilities. Not only that, but look at all the future tech you see in the movies, its all touch controlled.
At the end of class I had a lot of people interested in the possibilities this new style of desktop interface had to offer. I even had the technologically proficient converted and interested to where they were going to try out the consumer preview again. I kept telling the class that you need to remember we are only about 15% of market users of technology, while the other 85% are the majority consumers. When they started to think that way I could see the gears start to turn to get them thinking beyond their own limited environments.
I also introduced the final project, and I didn’t get a lot of questions from the class. I have a feeling they aren’t realizing the full aspect of what I’m asking so I’m going to keep reminding them each class to make sure everyone is clear on what I’m expecting from them. I also introduced an extra credit assignment to those who wanted it, to explore another OS and give the class a 10min demo of how what we learned about Windows is implemented in the other OS so people can compare and contrast.