Showcase: Mark de Boer


In this month’s Showcase, Mark de Boer talks about setting up a Mac lab at his school.


Mark de Boer

Last year I decided to do something for the waiting students, for the waiting moms, and for the students who wanted more out of their English classes. Using Apple’s educational discount offer, I transformed my waiting area into a learning and fun center. It is true how easy Macs are to use, especially the gorgeous new 24-inch iMacs. They have full stereo sound, beautiful resolution and they are actually cheaper than their counterparts.

The students use iMovie software to make creative English movies; Pages has limitless capabilities for making posters; students have used Keynote to make presentations for each other; and for those who can’t quite use a computer yet, they’ve got the Internet. I often teach using segments of DVDs or Internet videos, and we also use Bento, so the students can store their work in the database.

The teachers too have found the Macs easy to use for creating lessons. All of our CDs go on them for backup and for maintaining our classroom iPods and also for students who want to practice their listening skills: They can sit down at one of the Macs, plug in their earphones and do their listening.

I really believe that a Mac can be used as a tool for education rather than just a replacement for teachers. I think there is too much thinking that computers are merely machines to practice your English on, rather than using your English to create something fun and fantastic.

Mark de Boer owns a chain of schools in Iwate in the north of Japan and also teaches at Iwate University, Iwate Medical University, and Tohoku University Faculty of Medicine. His research focuses on discourse analysis in the TBL classroom. 

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