Teachers and Laptops
My school currently gives its 150 or so teachers laptops to use and have done so for the last 6 or 7 years. They are used mainly with projectors and smartboards to present lessons as well as to prepare them and mark work. This has beeen very popular with staff who are also able to take them home.
Many of these laptops are now nearly 5 years old and due to be replaced this year. However the SLT have decided that we will no longer give laptops to teachers and place PCs in every room with a smartboard. The logistics of this aside, there will be a lot of unhappy teachers and I was wondering whether anyone else had encountered this scenario.
I would also be interested to hear from others who still give laptops to teachers and what their future plans were regarding replacing them.
We have done that move - and no teachers where not happy with it to start with but they didn't have a choice. We now have fixed desktops in each classroom and a remote access solution so that staff can work easily from home (via RDP) from there own personal devices. As a result we have been able to heavily invest the network infrastructure replacing the entire LAN switching with HP Procurve Managed devices and also increase the amount of fixed ICT suites (from laptop trolleys) we now have 19 across the school (1550 students).
The savings on using desktops instead of laptops is substantial. If you are buying in bulk from some of the suppliers huge discounts can be achieved - I personally have not paid more the £300 pa for a desktop in the last three years (this year I3's with 64gb ssd's) we have ours custom built by Stone Computers and have looked at the alternatives such as Novatech etc.
We still give laptops to teachers in both my schools although I disagree with it due mainly to cost and the fact that some teachers hardly use theirs anyway.
Putting a permanent machine in each room is my preferred solution. However,I now buy ex-business T60s from ICT Direct which come in at £180 so that even with purchasing Win 7 and Office 2010 you are looking at a budget buy. They are robust, fast and work brilliantly - I have one for home use and I love it :)
We made the switch from every teacher having a laptop to every classroom having a PC. It surprised me how much more teachers use IT at front of class since the switch. Plugging in three cables really was a barrier to adoption!
Snag to watch for is you probably have more teachers than classrooms and so need to provide some computers for them to access when they are free but their classroom are in use. Also here we have a remote access solution and public wifi so staff can bring their own gear but access our terminal services stuff from that.
We have about 140 staff laptops and are currently replacing them at a cost of £500 per laptop for 4 years
The change over to desktops would have been a massive PIN.
We would have had to buy all the PCs at once including for rooms that didn't regularly have a teacher in - we have 2 batches of laptops 2 years apart, but teachers teach in a variety of different blocks. £400x150 + loss of 2 years investment on laptops.
There would have had to have been 100+ new network points wired in. £50x100
As our school has 12 different edge cabs, that would have meant a fair few more switches for all the extra ports. Say 6x£900
Then the extra cost of developing remote access ??
While I'm no fan of laptops for staff and would have loved to get rid due to the support issues alone, the numbers for us just didn't add up.
So we've factored in the re-use and trade-in of laptops. After 4 years of staff use, they get bumped to student usage or for training / exam usage.
I am totally against an more laptops for student usage though as they are just a total waste at our place IMHO.
Since we amended our AUP, threatening to charge staff who abused them, the support issues have reduced significantly.
My view is that employers should pay out (and generally do) for extra kit that workers need to do their job above and beyond clothes, shoes and the means of getting to normal place of work.
Teachers generally need computers to prepare lessons and since they do this at home and at school, then a laptop is normally a good solution for this.
I do think it is a very good idea to provide a fixed computer in the classrooms as the teaching machine instead of teachers plugging and unplugging theirs.
This costs money but its just the price of education/doing business. :)
Isn't there the argument that teachers are provided the tools to do the job in school and therefore negating the need for purchasing laptops?
My opinion is that when I used to work for an accountants I had a desktop PC, I had to help prepare accounts etc to deadlines and it wasn't uncommon for staff to be at work at the crack of dawn or working after hours to ensure things get done. If I had to take work home then I had to do it on my own computer as as far as the company was concerned, they're providing the tools to do the job in the office.
Schools are open all hours and staff have ample access and a lot schools are now offering remote access to the systems. I just see the 'I need a laptop to do my job . . ' argument a bit thin now. But I do accept that this may not be the case for some places and depends on current provision and access etc etc.
as @bodminman says - we provide facilities to staff to work inside school. If they choose to leave work at 3:05 and do the additional work at home - there problem. if they stayed at work like people would in an office then they negate the need to take a laptop home.
Ahhh but you forget (and I had an argument with a HT about this) that their job starts at 8:45 (or whenever registration starts) and ends at 3:15 (or whenever the last bell for the students ring).
My argument to the HT was that the staff have non contact time/ppa time and use it to go offsite to the shops or what have you and then moan they have too little time to work at school hence taking the work home. I used the point that if they used the ppa time like it is meant too and work until 5pm in the school instead of leaving at 3:15, they have ample time to use the school equipment and plan lessons.
Not saying all teachers are doing this but many are from experience of nearly 20 schools in my LEA that I have helped out.
Damned phone...anyways I shall continue.
The HT then used the argument that teachers are not paid enough to afford a laptop or pc at home and rely on the schools equipment to suffice. Again my counter argument was that if teachers made some cutbacks in their expenses (why go to sainsburys when you have an Asda round the corner sort of argument. Not saying that all teachers live upto and beyond their means but if people on much lower wages can afford it after a few months of cutting back, teachers certainly can!
We live in an age where teachers expect everything to be handed to them yet if they went into the real world, they would get hybrid shock of their lifetime.
@garethjedmondson may be and exception to the above, and I fully expect a counter argument to my points, but I am basing this all on my own experience.
But there contract also states they must be prepared for all lessons... and its there choice to go home at the bell therefore they must provide there own kit.
and its bul***t using the excuse of not paid enough - I'm paid less then most of the teahers and yet still provide my own pc at home. They can afford to buy sons/daughters/husbands/wifes laptops why not there own?
There must be some telepathy going on here as I have been finishing off a report about 4 schools I have done some work with over the last 2 1/2 years and it covers the move from staff laptops to classroom desktops. I'll go and dig out what I can and paraphrase / summarise it later.
Very weak argument really. He sounds like he hasn't got the nuts to say otherwise!
Originally Posted by nephilim
you could also say the school doesn't have the money to provide it - if they want to take a pay cut so they can get a laptop i'm sure they will just buy a laptop!
Originally Posted by bodminman