Five Cool Things You Can Do on Your MacBook Air

This post is not necessarily for those who own and have owned a MacBook Air or Macbook Pro for some time (I think, anyway). This post is for those of you who are considering purchasing a MacBook, or, like me, just purchased one. The following five tips are my initial discoveries as I have played with this new toy.

IMG_0247

1. Collaborate Online with Pages, Keynote, and Numbers

The best thing is not that these apps are free (very cool, by the way), but that they work similarly to Google Docs. Share out the link of your document with anyone, and they can revise and edit the same file from their web browser. No Apple products needed on their end. I used this feature to have someone else review and revise a staff social flyer.

2. Mirror Your Screen Via Apple TV, Reflector, or Air Play

I didn’t realize I could do this with a MacBook, until I saw the rectangle with the triangle inside it on the top right of my screen. I knew iPads worked well with this technology, but hadn’t considered it for my laptop. I have already used this feature to project minutes I was taking during a staff meeting.

3. Dictate Speech

My son has a book blog for his independent reading. When we opened up the browser to post his next entry, I found under the “Edit” menu the option to “Start Dictation”. He spoke, and the words rolled out. It was very accurate, and it allowed us to fix any simple errors. This can be a huge benefit for students with special needs, ELL students, and just disengaged writers.

4. Use Your iPhone to Control your Keynotes on the MacBook

I saw someone do this at a conference and had to try it out for myself. Download Keynote on your iPhone, and it will also serve as a slide remote for the presentation you have on your MacBook. No longer do you have to mirror your content from your iPad to the computer, which can be tricky if you are presenting in a conference center with poor wireless reception.

5. iCloud

This might be the biggest reason I went with a MacBook Air over a Windows-based laptop. The images I capture with my iPhone or iPad are collected in my iCloud account, which can be accessed  from my MacBook. I don’t have to upload anything; they’re just there.

Author: Matt Renwick

Matt Renwick is an 18-year public educator who began as a 5th and 6th-grade teacher in Rudolph, WI. He now serves as an elementary principal for the Mineral Point Unified School District, also in Wisconsin (http://mineralpointschools.org/). He also teaches online graduate courses in curriculum design and instructional leadership for the University of Wisconsin-Superior. Matt tweets @ReadByExample and writes for ASCD (www.ascd.org) and Lead Literacy (www.leadliteracy.com).

10 thoughts on “Five Cool Things You Can Do on Your MacBook Air”

  1. You mean I don’t have to email my pictures to myself/download anymore, they are just in the Cloud? Wow. Thanks, Matt. Great timesaver.

    Like

    1. Seems like a small thing, but for a principal it saves a lot of time. iPhoto does a nice job of sorting your photos in iCloud by timeline (when they were taken).

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s