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General Chat Thread, BBC News- Give laptops to pupils, MP Urges- what's your view in General; Originally Posted by Horizon does anyone know what the RM Asus is like, seeing as the cost is £200, would ...
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    Re: BBC News- Give laptops to pupils, MP Urges- what's your

    Quote Originally Posted by Horizon
    does anyone know what the RM Asus is like, seeing as the cost is £200, would this not surfice for primary schools?? I have no idea what they're like to maintain though- look cool though?
    Funny how this MP should make these comments just a company known for greasing palms releases a product.

    If it looks like a rat, smells like a rat, then it usually is a rat

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    Re: BBC News- Give laptops to pupils, MP Urges- what's your view

    As far as cost and reliabilty goes, I don't think laptops have a place in schools 'yet'. Pluss their logistical nightmare, and more desirable to be stolen either from the school or a teachers car. *runs and hides for cover*

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    Re: BBC News- Give laptops to pupils, MP Urges- what's your view

    I agree with DHicks, the XO is designed specifically for this, not too sure how RM's offering will stack up though. Most of the downsides that people say (about how bad it is to give laptops for kids) only really apply to expensive Windows based laptops - with things moving software as service (browser) or even serverside thin client (citrix/rdp) the OLPC/RM Asus is perfect - even the network side is designed to be mesh-networked. The XO costs less than our current thin clients and the RM machine is comparable, The only downside I can see is in the implementation, as most schools are too reliant on heavy MS based apps, but with more web based/vle adoption we could start to allow other types of tech,

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    Re: BBC News- Give laptops to pupils, MP Urges- what's your view

    Sounds great in the short term but future funding and support would be costly.

    My authority are thinking a thin client for students and wireless cloud would be best route. This would hopefully reduce the theft problem, any stolen kit could be excluded.

    Add in better provision of desktop machines in schools and the reliance on laptops would seem to be dead in the water.

    Persoanlly I'd think that students would loss/forget their laptops very easily, many can't remember to bring kit or other materials most of the time.

    We have 4 trolleys with 60 laptops they've been in place for about 12 months and so far the only call outs we've had are to not being able to logon. And the answer is someone has pressed the wireless button and turned of the wireless. Staff are now aware of this and check. Call outs are now minimal.

    Persoanally I would get rid ASAP as I suspect problems are jst around the corner as the batteries start to age.

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    Re: BBC News- Give laptops to pupils, MP Urges- what's your view

    They are so short sighted. The only see the shiney new laptop and the smiling kids faces not the broken keyboards, extra software licences to be paid for etc. Talikng of licences, we use office, who's going to fund the cost of the extra licences that it would require as I'm sure none of that has been included in his buget prices. Think you can tell I'm against the idea of laptops for all. Now if he wants to buy all new desktop computers for all in the school then thats a different story. Would just have to find somewhere to put them!

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    Re: BBC News- Give laptops to pupils, MP Urges- what's your

    Quote Originally Posted by CyberNerd
    I agree with DHicks, the XO is designed specifically for this, not too sure how RM's offering will stack up though. Most of the downsides that people say (about how bad it is to give laptops for kids) only really apply to expensive Windows based laptops - with things moving software as service (browser) or even serverside thin client (citrix/rdp) the OLPC/RM Asus is perfect - even the network side is designed to be mesh-networked. The XO costs less than our current thin clients and the RM machine is comparable, The only downside I can see is in the implementation, as most schools are too reliant on heavy MS based apps, but with more web based/vle adoption we could start to allow other types of tech,
    Having them as terminal services clients will still cost you (either in terms of licensing if you go for citrix or something like that, or just in terms of hardware) - and if you want this capability available for them outside school you also have to have a bigger net connection than you had before.

    Most of the downsides I mentioned are applicable to any type of laptop - not just windows. Many primaries will not have the wireless infrastructure in place to support them, they won't have the support personnel, or the maintenance funds.

    Yes, they are a good idea - but unless a proper investment is made, then they will fall short of their intended goals and the schools will be in a worse situation than they were before!

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    Re: BBC News- Give laptops to pupils, MP Urges- what's your view

    @Techsupp - The XO or the Asus machine don't require licenses they are opensource

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    Re: BBC News- Give laptops to pupils, MP Urges- what's your

    Quote Originally Posted by CyberNerd
    @Techsupp - The XO or the Asus machine don't require licenses they are opensource
    They would require CALS or citrix licenses if you wanted to connect to a terminal server. Or if you wanted this available from home you'd want an external license and possibly something like Sun Global Desktop - none of which is cheap.

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    Re: BBC News- Give laptops to pupils, MP Urges- what's your

    Having them as terminal services clients will still cost you (either in terms of licensing if you go for citrix or something like that, or just in terms of hardware) - and if you want this capability available for them outside school you also have to have a bigger net connection than you had before.
    sure there is extra cost to citrix - but it isn't bandwidth 20kb/s per machine should suffice

    Most of the downsides I mentioned are applicable to any type of laptop - not just windows. Many primaries will not have the wireless infrastructure in place to support them, they won't have the support personnel, or the maintenance funds.
    but the OLPC does meshed networking - it doesn't require so much of a traditional network
    Yes, they are a good idea - but unless a proper investment is made, then they will fall short of their intended goals and the schools will be in a worse situation than they were before!
    £200 per child is quite an investment - I hope they get it off the ground (and buy some spare batteries/screens/kb's !

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    Re: BBC News- Give laptops to pupils, MP Urges- what's your view

    Just another consideration. These laptops for children? will the kids be taking them to and from home/ school? I'd guess so, or there would be little point in issueing laptops rather than a cheaper, more robust desktop offering.

    As a mum, I'd be concerned with my daughter walking to school carrying a laptop. She's getting to an age now where she wants to walk some of the way herself; but she's definetly not capable of fighting off some scum trying to mug her of a shiny new laptop (Hence why she doesn't have a mobile, nor is allowed an ipod ect.) As this scheme seems to be a vote-grabbing attempt, it's surely going to be well publicised, so people will be aware that kids are carrying these.

    Also, if a kid was to have the laptop stolen, who would be liable for the cost of replacement, the govt., the parents or the school? Not to mention the possible liabilty claims from the parents of these kids.

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    Re: BBC News- Give laptops to pupils, MP Urges- what's your

    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk
    Quote Originally Posted by CyberNerd
    @Techsupp - The XO or the Asus machine don't require licenses they are opensource
    They would require CALS or citrix licenses if you wanted to connect to a terminal server. Or if you wanted this available from home you'd want an external license and possibly something like Sun Global Desktop - none of which is cheap.
    yes, I suppose as soon as Microsoft is mentioned the cost to the taxpayer skyrocket

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    Re: BBC News- Give laptops to pupils, MP Urges- what's your

    Quote Originally Posted by CyberNerd
    Having them as terminal services clients will still cost you (either in terms of licensing if you go for citrix or something like that, or just in terms of hardware) - and if you want this capability available for them outside school you also have to have a bigger net connection than you had before.
    sure there is extra cost to citrix - but it isn't bandwidth 20kb/s per machine should suffice
    And many primary schools have a 2Mb connection... It doesn't go very far. You are understating the cost of this.

    Most of the downsides I mentioned are applicable to any type of laptop - not just windows. Many primaries will not have the wireless infrastructure in place to support them, they won't have the support personnel, or the maintenance funds.
    but the OLPC does meshed networking - it doesn't require so much of a traditional network
    It may well do meshed networking, but it'll still need to connect to the internet somehow.

    Yes, they are a good idea - but unless a proper investment is made, then they will fall short of their intended goals and the schools will be in a worse situation than they were before!
    £200 per child is quite an investment - I hope they get it off the ground (and buy some spare batteries/screens/kb's !
    £200 per child is nothing when you compare it to the overall running costs, in the long term, of such a scheme. We have spent roughly £431 per pupil in our school over the last 2 years - and that is providing the complete school network...

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    Re: BBC News- Give laptops to pupils, MP Urges- what's your view

    £200 per child is nothing when you compare it to the overall running costs, in the long term, of such a scheme. We have spent roughly £431 per pupil in our school over the last 2 years - and that is providing the complete school network...
    appreciated. I think Plaid Cymru were proposing the laptops in addition to what schools already get. of course, schools could then spend their money on broadband or maintenance (or more likely MS licenses) rather than the desktops.

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    Re: BBC News- Give laptops to pupils, MP Urges- what's your view

    Quote Originally Posted by TechSupp
    They are so short sighted. The only see the shiney new laptop and the smiling kids faces not the broken keyboards, extra software licences to be paid for etc. Talikng of licences, we use office, who's going to fund the cost of the extra licences that it would require as I'm sure none of that has been included in his buget prices. Think you can tell I'm against the idea of laptops for all. Now if he wants to buy all new desktop computers for all in the school then thats a different story. Would just have to find somewhere to put them!
    I agree with you entirely. We only have around 90 or so laptops for student use in this school, (out of over 600 machines.) I estimate these take up over 50% or our time. It doesn't matter how we set them up, they are just hidiously un-reliable.

    Mike.

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    Re: BBC News- Give laptops to pupils, MP Urges- what's your view

    A pretty big part of the whole plan behind the XO seems to be getting away from the idea that computers are something that you need training on how to use. Teach children to read and leave them to figure out the interface by themselves.

    The XO is designed to not need stuff like managed wireless networks. Just because something is web-based doesn't mean it actually has to be at the other end of an ADSL connection - Internet connectivity could all go through one cheap caching server. VLE with resources could be run locally and synchronised with a central hub. Our 8-core, 4GB RAM, 1TB mirrored storage, seperate OS disk server cost us £2,000. For a primary school such a server would have to run DHCP, Internet gateway and web filtering, VLE. Such a server should be sufficient.

    I doubt thin client over a wireless network is a good idea - a whole class at once is going to be too much over a wireless network. Our thin client server (the one mentioned above) has a 50-ish client capacity. Install Edubuntu, works out of the box, no licenses to pay for.

    One option might be to think of the ASUS "laptops" as "handily sized desktop PCs" that would fit nicly in a tray under desks or in a rack on the wall. Run network cable and power to each table and each child has a PC that's ready to use on demand. They could be locked to the desks if needed.

    Another option might be to replace the ASUS/RM supplied OS with something that can do mesh networking. I think (not sure - might have understood this wrong) that the XO uses standard 802.11g hardware optimised for range / meshing, no custom electronics. It might be possible to adapt some of the ideas used in the XO to work on the ASUS or similar devices.

    I agree with everyone else that the MP is underestimating the money needed to do this properly - I figure £25 million minimum, but probably nearer £50-£75 million.

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