HodgeHi (19th April 2010)
I've been having a think about teacher laptops as we currently dish them out, and how they are an annoyance to maintain, in terms of viruses, random incompatible software packages etc...
So, I have been thinking - could we replace those devices with iPads or similar (HP Slates or whatever). Then, the devices would be easier to maintain, software such as SIMS.net could be served either via the sharepoint weparts or via citrix, data would be stored remotely (removing data protection issues) etc...
And for those 'typing' exercises that are necessary, wireless keyboards can be provided.
Has anyone else thought about this?
Umm quitte like that idea!
Still your still get virus and still have to maintain it
The day of the etch-a-sketch is coming!
Or alternatively have a look at the Asus T491 (I think that's the right version), saves the expense of wireless keyboards and the fact that people will lose said keyboards. Careful setup of the machines with GPOs to lock them down and one global image to deploy to them and you've got pretty much what you want, but with a lot more control over the actual deployment than you'd get with iPads.
Use the disk space to put on a recovery image, with a boot menu option to reinstall the image, and prevent local storage (hide the amount of storage available if you can - it can always be used for software which doesn't need to save data in a user-accessible area) and you've got pretty much what you're after.
Also, why persist with keyboards for everything? Most laptop use I see in our school is limited to tapping on an IWB. Very limited typing goes on.
(PS. What is a the T491? A search returns nothing).
In connection with that we are currently evaluating the TeacherWebFolder package to enable sims access to portable devices.
I honestly think that staff laptops have had their day, in fact I think that the Laptops-for-Teacher scheme created a bit of a monster by giving teachers the impression that they are entitled to (what many consider to be) a computer to use at home – ie “their laptop”; and despite the scheme finishing years ago schools are now under a kind of unofficial obligation to still provide staff-laptops because its now “the done thing”
A much more useful tool now is definitely a PDA type device, providing a single point of contact to each teacher, combining phone, email, access to sims and emergence support features all in a pocket size package. Once there’s a PC in pretty much every teaching room I can’t think of anything a teacher needs to do throughout the day that can’t be accomplished on an iTouch/iPhone etc.
I'm sure loads of teachers would love it, not sure I would.
Loving it isn't something I would use as a reason for or against any technology. Personal feelings of a device are irrelevant. The questions are 'can it do the jobs needed of it' and 'can it do them in a more sustainable way than the current system'.I'm sure loads of teachers would love it, not sure I would.
As in "what are the user's requirements?" Have you asked any of those then?The questions are 'can it do the jobs needed of it'
Laptops for people who do work at home was standard 10 years ago - its not just a toys for teacher thingin fact I think that the Laptops-for-Teacher scheme created a bit of a monster by giving teachers the impression that they are entitled to (what many consider to be) a computer to use at home – ie “their laptop”; and despite the scheme finishing years ago schools are now under a kind of unofficial obligation to still provide staff-laptops because its now “the done thing”
And now that losing data is such an issue, I think it becomes more important to make sure that teachers are only working on a school machine and not any old computer lying around at their home.
The school requires teachers to input registration data into sims, the school requires that teachers are contactable, the school requires that reports are completed, etc
If a user “wants” to use IT to teach and “wants” to prepare that work on a laptop, at home, then it’s up to them to use their own means to fulfil their wants.
Of course it’s not as black and white as that but mobile IT in teachers hands is probably more of a business tool now than a teaching tool, and if its not now – it will be in a few years.
I recently completed the practical stage of a formal research project at my school to get solid, quantitative data on how staff use IT throughout the school. I ran a 2-hour focus group followed up with a whole-school survey, as well as spending time 1-on-1 with department heads. I've worked in schools for nearly 5 years now, and still encountered things that surprised me as a result of that research. The findings have played an important part in planning my budget for this year, and I'm currently in the middle of writing up my findings as evidence of why I've asked for the particular things I have in my budget bid. It's proven to be an extremely useful exercise for me that has helped a lot with planning, and I'd strongly recommend that approach.
That aside, I would also point out that an awful lot of that work at home is unpaid overtime, and that if it couldn't be done at home, it wouldn't be done. Very few people like being in the office/classroom until 9pm. The school should be ecstatic that teachers "want" to do that work, and should think long and hard about providing kit that makes it easy for the teachers to do it.
Sure, I had user's requirements in order to do their job effectively in mind - these aren't always quite the same thing as what manglement think they need and it's always worth asking users even if you do get a few comedy answers.In a purely business sense I think it’s more a case of the schools requirements rather than the users requirements.
Absolutely. There's a Y5 teacher sat on the other side of the room right now **typing away** on a school laptop lesson planning, and doubtless will be for a couple of hours yet. Although she does this most weekday nights I'm quite sure she'd rather not. Can't comment on Secondary teachers coz I don't live with one but Primary schools all seem to *strongly depend* on this happening, ergo there is an unquestionable moral obligation to support it by providing a usable laptop stuffed with relevant s/w - the cost of that is a teensy fraction of the hours they get for free.I would also point out that an awful lot of that work at home is unpaid overtime, and that if it couldn't be done at home, it wouldn't be done
Salaries are already down-sized to accomodate that aren't they?please don't claim teachers do 'unpaid overtime' when they have 13 weeks holiday...
Last edited by PiqueABoo; 19th April 2010 at 08:17 PM.
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