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Saturday, August 8, 2009

VirtualBox

OK, so I absolutely LOVE this piece of software. I have a Mac laptop from school and I chose it on purpose. There are some programs that only run on the Mac (i.e. Garage Band, etc.), however I am mostly a Windows user (the IC3 exams test about the Windows environment, so that is what I teach on). I knew there were other programs out there for emulations on a Mac (i.e. Fusion and parallels), however once I got my Mac, it was going to take some time to actually get the software and then install it, and I needed to use it right away. So, after some searching (again) I found VirtualBox. VirtualBox is an opensource program that allows you to run other operating systems on your computer. For instance, right now I am actually on my Mac, but am running Internet Explorer 8 on my Windows VirtualBox. I mostly use the Windows portion of my computer, however, I will switch to my Mac side to run some of the programs there. It is a pretty easy switch. You can also run VirtualBox on your Windows computer to run other operating systems like Linux or another version of Windows. However, without a hack you cannot run the Mac operating system on the Windows computer (I haven't tried it myself, but I've seen something about it online). IC3 Integration So, since I run a Mac, and my lab at school is PC running Windows XP, I knew I had to do something. What I'm talking about is that the IC3 GS3 standard tests on how to use the Vista version of Windows. My district technology people have decided not to run or support Vista on our machines (which, I don't blame them from what I've heard and read about). However, I need to prepare my students on how to run Vista. So, I used VirtualBox to create a Vista partition on my external hard drive. That way I can use it on one of my school computers, and then use it on my home computer, and even connect it to my Mac laptop and run Mac, XP, and Vista at the same time. I then use the Screen Hunter software to capture the screen of the Vista environment, save them to the Mac or XP side (depending on the computer I am working on), and then work on the simulations in CourseLab in XP. This kind of sounds confusing, but it works for me. I keep my Windows Vista pretty clean. The only thing I really have on it is Office 2007, since that is what is tested on the IC3 GS3 standards as well. Other than that, I don't install anything else (well, except for the Screen Hunter software). That was I don't have to worry about showing programs that are on my computer when I create the simulations. It is just a basic computer layout. I know that some teachers don't even want to get into Vista, but it is a good springboard into Windows 7 that is coming out soon. I think the next standard for the IC3 will probably include testing with Windows 7 and Office 2010, but we'll have to wait for them to come out. Until then I will teach Windows Vista and Office 2007 so that students will be successful in testing.

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