For a long while now I’ve actually been advising that users of Easiteach stay away from the MAC version. To be honest, up until recently, it was very restricted and therefore highly frustrating. There were so many features missing that it was pointless downloading files from easilearn as if they contained effects you’d never be able to get them to work, and it was pointless using EasiPD with it because well the menus looked totally different!
Well…. Thank fully the devs at LightBox (the writers of RM’s Easiteach Next Generation) have done a fabulous job with the NEW MAC version and I am now very proud to show it off in schools I encourage all MAC users to download it and to feel free to use it in their native operating system! I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!
In this post I’m going to walk you through the changes to the new MAC version. There are some great surprises and even some features that are currently MAC exclusive that will make PC users a little green with envy
The look and feel
Although, when we open Easiteach, we still have to old style welcome screen, when we get beyond that, the menu systems appear to be the same. MAC users can now enjoy the addition of the ‘play’ arrow. You’ll also notice subtle things like the colour of the e-menu icon having changed to match it’s PC counterpart.
The features here are almost identical. Unfortunately, we don’t have the “reset page” option in the MAC version yet. So, still no option to have the kids reset the page before they move to the next stage of the carousel activity. Here’s hoping that feature appears soon. Of course, as the welcome screen hasn’t changed, we also don’t have the option to head back to it. The dashboard (that’s the welcome screen with tabs) option is missing.
The Pen Menu
This is where things get interesting and there are some surprise treats for MAC users. In the PC Version we have separate buttons for the pen, highlighter and eraser. At first glance the MAC menu looks a little sparse. It only has 3 buttons to press – compared to nine in the PC version. However, in some cases this has been caused by streamlining the options. One icon (the pen as it would be recognised in the PC version) contains the options for the Pen, the highlighter and the eraser and,as a nice extra treat, when you switch through the tool types you’ll notice that the pen thickness is remembered. That isn’t something that we have the benefit of in the PC version. In that one we have to change the pen thickness every time we swap tools – that can be annoying at times. MAC users? That pain is gone!
Unfortunately, we MAC users still don’t have shape recognition or the ability to turn on those very popular measurement tools when we click on a shape. They’re still missing We can still draw shapes but only with the shape tool ( or I guess by hand… but if I do that I’m not entirely sure the kids will know what I drew!!)
This is another place where things get interesting. The toolbar is, as it’s always been pretty much the same as the PC version. However, when you have a look at the literacy tools that come with it there are a few surprises. The MAC version now has the option to bring out place value cards and parts of words. These two tools are great for early years and primary school teachers. The word builder can be used to get kids to learn phonics and guess spellings, the numbers for an endless amount of numeracy activities.
The automatic Cloze activity tool, the word wallet, the ability to read the text and to remove punctuation etc is all there too!
Effects are in! Scrapbooks are still out!
Thank you Dev. team! The effects are working! You now have the same functionality with the effects as the PC users do! Yay! However, just in case you were missing the pop-up which tells you that feature isn’t quite available… it still pops up when you try to access the scrapbook menu. This is such a vital tool. It’s a great way for teachers to share resource banks, including pod cast class sets! – Please can we have it soon?
Widgets have grown!
The widget bank’s grown too. I’ll be honest some of my favourites (like the browser) are still missing. Which is a real shame because Easiteach – you were the first to have the genius idea and, as you might have noticed, Promethean copied it with their embed options and now Notebook 11 seems to have a very similar option too It’s hard being the trend setter… can you set the trend in Mac too? We’re missing out
Maybe I’m being greedy – We’ve still got 37 to play with! (The PC version has 45)
Multimedia Banks – went AWOL… now back!
This one’s interesting. If you downloaded your version of MAC 1.1.5 before about 9pm last night you might have discovered that you didn’t have any multimedia in your banks… not unless you created some. I reported this to RM in Melbourne and to the team in the U.K. on Tuesday night and by Wednesday Night it was fixed! If you’re wondering how to solve your problem then head back to the website, re-download and install (There’s no need to un-install your current version). You should find that your multimedia is back in full swing!
As for new features? Well Mac users, we’ve got the ability to record sounds and video straight to our page. We still don’t have the option to record our screen though. I know, this is another popular option – especially with those who teach SACE and want the kids to record what they’re doing for a portfolio. Perhaps if we ask nicely it’ll be there in the next upgrade! (Sorry Devs, the shopping basket is getting full isn’t it!?)
All in all the new MAC version is great. I love that I can now run my training workshops on it without having to completely re-design my materials. I know that there are a lot of MAC users who are also very grateful. When I let one lovely teacher in Adelaide know two days ago she was almost as excited as I was when Nicola told me over the phone!
Thank you for bringing it in line. I know that in the UK there’s not so much of a need for the MAC version but as you might have guessed, here in Aus, they’re everywhere
Have you got the new Mac version? What do you think? Leave a comment for the Devs here. I’m sure they’d love to get your feedback