Teaching in a school that has a 1:1 laptop program poses its own unique challenges, not to mention a classroom of non-homogeneous operating systems (i.e. some students have Macs and some have Windows). While each type of system essentially completes similar tasks, each may have its own method of navigation, keyboard shortcuts, settings and more.

At T3 August, we discussed the key differences between Windows and Mac laptops that teachers may face in the classroom. The guys from 209 (Brian, Sam, and John) prepared Macs and Windows for teachers to work with – this provided an opportunity for Mac users to practice using Windows and vice versa. I appreciated that each participant was open to sharing their knowledge and experiences as well as their willingness to explore features of their non-dominant computer.  The vibe of the meeting went from:


“Okay this is not so bad” to

“That’s pretty cool” 😎

Here are some of the topics we discussed:


  • Finding computer apps: F4 or 4-finger swipe or Applications folder from Finder (Mac) is generally equivalent to searching for the app in bottom right (Windows)
  • Viewing which apps are presently open – black dot under app in dock (Mac) or Alt+Tab (Windows)

Keyboard & Trackpad

  • The Command button (Mac) is generally equivalent to the Control button (Windows).
  • The 2-Finger Click on the trackpad (Mac) is generally equivalent to the Right Click (Windows).
  • Screenshots are Cmd+Shift+3 (Mac) is somewhat equivalent to the Print Screen key (Windows).
  • Adjusting volume is F10, F11, and F12 (Mac) and Fn+3, Fn+4 (Windows).
  • Adjusting screen brightness is F1, F2 (Mac) and Fn+F6, Fn+F7 (Windows).


Chrome: While browser settings are generally the same for both Mac and Windows, we talked about some of the personalization teachers can do. Ex: Adding a set of default pages to open up every time the browser is opened, checking that Chrome is up-to-date, etc.

Projector: To adjust between “mirroring” and “extension” mode, click System Preferences –> Displays (Mac) or press Function+F5 (Windows)

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