My take on this subject has shifted now, given the circumstances and the year.
I do not believe for one moment that it is in the best interest of the school or the people funding that school for them to also pay for laptops for staff in this day and age. I firmly believe that many staff see it as a "benefit" or perk of the job. People that treat it like that are in the wrong industry without any shadow of doubt.
However there absolutely has to be some give and take. It's not up to us to judge people's circumstances, although it's often extremely hard to believe that someone is having to "do without" when they drive a brand new Range Rover or Audi R8. We still don't provide laptops to staff - the majority, if they have a laptop, have one of the original Laptop for Teacher Fujitsu machines with a smattering of P4 level Toshibas. Exceptions are made where the load is a little higher but that's rare. When machines fail, that's it, there's no replacement. If they're desperate, we'll certainly help find an old laptop lying around they can have. And anything provided by the school should be treated as such IMO; full encryption, fully managed (must be brought in termly/annually for instance). Would certainly help cut down the incidents where we find laptops have spent their entire usable life with the staff member's offspring at Uni, laden with BearShare, Limewire, 300 pirated films and treble that amount of viruses.
But also in this day and age that brings a new possibility - remote management. Easily done with systems like SCCM and Meraki for example, as long as they get a remote connection there's no reason you can't keep a close eye on things; anti virus updates, general usage patterns if that's required, roughly where the laptop is (it's *your* hardware) without being too "Big Brother". Ways and means.
I think all concerned need to bear in mind the changing landscape of this sector over the past couple of decades. It's gone from a scenario in which pretty much all "staff" (barring e.g. caretaker, secretary, cook etc.) were in fact teachers, to a scenario where in some schools the number of associate staff is actually greater than the number of service delivery staff. In short, the sector has "gone multidisciplinary" much in the manner of the healthcare sector before it.
The good thing about that is that there are examples of lessons to be learnt that are already extant; the task is then to gently nudge decision-makers towards these. Some progress in certain areas has already begun to be made, with PricewaterhouseCooper's 2007 report recommending changes to school leadership structures and the ASCL's report of 2011 endorsing that position... though of course in most places we are yet to see it!
I have a scheme where all our teaching staff have a laptop. We did look at all classrooms having a dedicated PC...but at a time where the school was being rebuilt and we didn't know how many rooms there would be, and remote access was next to non existant - we went with laptops. The laptops have a 4 year warranty and are part of a pool, which rotates round all the staff as we need to recal for maintenance or repairs. Most repairs are for HDDs, we've had the odd expensive screen but they are rare. No matter which way you go...you have a commitment in costs.... Classroom PC and good home access for planning; or laptops.
If the school was genuinely committed to staff laptops then they need to have a pool but we have nothing like that here. I have taken it upon myself to put smart software on one of our bank of children's laptops so that at least I can give that out when I have repairs to do, otherwise the staff end up with nothing which is unfair.
This past week I have had a screen connector go, a keyboard fail and what I think is a touchpad fault so a good replacement is necessary.
Couldn't agree more. I'm not sold on the idea of a "laptop strategy" myself but the point is that a school needs to pick whatever IT strategy it feels suits it best and then make a commitment to implementing it properly.Quote:
If the school was genuinely committed to staff laptops then they need to have a pool but we have nothing like that here.
There's an element of doing "just enough" and then praying it will be OK on the day that exists in education even more than it does in a lot of other businesses (education often reminds me of a small-to-medium enterprise business being run by someone with a "cottage industry" mentality) and educational establishments need to understand that this kind of nickel and diming will come back to haunt them in the end.
The ultimate cost of not being able to deliver a lesson is far higher than the cost of buying a spare laptop or two.