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General Chat Thread, BBC News- Give laptops to pupils, MP Urges- what's your view in General; I've just seen an article on bbc news website http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/wales/7061021.stm what do you think about this idea- be interesting to ...
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    BBC News- Give laptops to pupils, MP Urges- what's your view

    I've just seen an article on bbc news website

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/wales/7061021.stm

    what do you think about this idea- be interesting to know?? :sign7:

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

    My view is simple - No.

    I've worked in schools for over 8 years in I.T. roles, laptops are great in theory but never get a cost effective amount of use. Primary kids in particular can be careless with equipment (not on purpose) and it's an expensive and time consuming resource.

    Our primaries are actually starting to move back to desktop suites of computers as they're finding carts of iBooks and Dells to be too unreliable or too troublesome to use regularly without a dedicated member of teaching staff to coordinate them.

    Personally I think actually getting teachers to teach and relying less on a computer to do it for them might help - but then again I'm stupid!

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

    I was just going to post the same article!

    I always advise the teachers here to use IT when it helps them deliver the lesson, they shouldn't feel they HAVE to use IT! If they can teach better without it(IT) then surely that's not wrong? (unless we're talking of an IT lesson!!)

    Working in a comp I know of the pitfalls of using laptops (as I'm sure you guys do to!), my first question to this Plaid MP would be, who's going to support them? And will the funding (if any) for the support be long term rather than headline grabbing, and then the support disappears after a year or two. Which leads me onto the next question, when will they be looking to replace the laptops, 3 years, 4 years, etc??

    There's been a lot of talk here of getting a laptop trolley on each floor in our new school (Sept 2008), I'm relieved that the head has now come back from visits to other schools with the view that laptops are not the answer!!

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

    Would it not be better to target this at secondary schools, providing there is adequate support, funding etc. I would have thought that they would get more use from a laptop

    Surely it is important to get the basics right with primary school children- reading/ writing etc as there has been so much hype about children being behind with learning skills- should we not get those right before adding something else to the problem of having to master yet another skill? No offence intended to any teachers

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

    This is also a frustrating subject for me. I'm against getting laptop trolleys and delving into the world of "Every student gets a laptop". I agree in that laptops are not the solution and think the funding would best suit more computer suites and other classroom technology.

    You could argue that students would take more care of the equipment because it would be theirs and if damaged would be held soley responsible but as we all know, computers aren't the most reliable peices of electronic equipment so would require consistent round the clock support especially the numbers they're talking about. I have 85 staff laptops here and have had a consistent flow of problems with these since they arrived.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by joe90bass
    There's been a lot of talk here of getting a laptop trolley on each floor in our new school (Sept 2008), I'm relieved that the head has now come back from visits to other schools with the view that laptops are not the answer!!
    We have 4 laptop trollys totalling 115 laptops (as well as IT Suites) and our staff would go mad if we took them away, they are always in use, by english and maths most.

    Must have been bad setups in these other schools to come away not wanting them.

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

    Why is it that everyone thinks "buy laptops" is the answer to everything?

    And for pupils in Primary? Why? Surely the basic skills are needed first? Sure, introduce computers into primary, but to have every pupil their own laptop?

    As joe90bass has said, I would want to know the full timescale they plan to run this with. A one off project is a pointless waste of money, and something like this can only be usefull if money if constantly thrown at it to keep the equipment up to date. And if that was the case, why aren't they targetting secondary schools?

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

    I think it could be a good idea if you can answer yes to the following questions:
    1) does the school have sufficient IT support to maintain them?
    2) does the school have sufficient, incl long-term, funding for them?
    3) do the teachers know how to use them?
    4) will the teachers better lessons as a result?

    Of course, you also need to consider the other ways in which £8m could be spent and consider whether those would be more effective.

    joe90bass makes a very good point about long-term funding - the £8m spent now is worthless unless there is another £5m in 3 years' time to replace them (based on the MP's estimated costs). Is this move suggested so as to benefit the kids' education or win votes?

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

    trouble with politics you never really know???

    Would they buy them outright or just lease for the duration of which they are going to be used rather than outlaying a huge amount of capital in one hit? What would happen to the ones that would be replaced??

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

    Wow, this MP really doesn't seem to understand the complex nature of education and the complex nature of ICT within it. How many primary schools have wireless networks? How many have support enough to deal with the ICT in place? Our local schools have neither.

    The cost of such a scheme would most certainly not be £8m. That may buy the hardware, yes, but what about the time, the software licensing, the wireless infrastructure, charging them, damage etc... You can simply triple or maybe even quadruple that cost over the first couple of years of the project. Then add in the fact that after a while they will all need replacing due to age, so you can once again introduce half the cost again.

    So, over 5 years you'd be looking at around £50m not £8m. Is that £50m worth spending on laptops and their upkeep? Or is it worth investing in a sustainable ICT system within primary schools.

    I'll give an example of one of our feeder primary schools. The school has 4 classes (ok, so it is a first school). They have roughly 120 pupils, and roughly 30 curriculum computers in the entire school (and some of these are from schemes like Tesco Computers for Schools). Buying a new server is a *major* purchase for them, as it takes up a huge chunk of their budget. To introduce 120 new computers into the school, which has no onsite ICT support, would simply not work. Sure, the laptops may be free, but the site would then need a managed wireless network - which, for the size of school, would be around £7k or so. Then they would need ICT support - a part time technician say, at around £8kpa or so. They would also need some places within each class where the laptops can all be plugged in over lunch etc... to charge - so £300 per class, around £1.2k. Add in licensing for Office, Device CALS and you can add £40 per machine per year, so £4.8k. Total this all up, and the cost will be around £72k over 5 years. So, yes, they would be given £24k's worth of laptops initially, but the cost to the school is *far* higher.

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

    Rather than using Government funding- which I'm sure most of you would agree could be better spent in schools rather than giving every child a laptop- I'm not say that it is wrong just that there are other ways to go about which would be more cost effective surely.

    I've just had a look at teachernet and found this

    http://www.teachernet.gov.uk/_doc/10285/Computers%20for%20Pupils%20case%20study%20St.%20Sa viour's%20and%20St.%20Olave's.doc

    what about that idea??

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

    Surely this is exactly the kind of situation that the XO Laptop / Asus Eee PC would fit nicely into? Martin Langhoff gave this morning's MoodleMoot keynote lecture about the XO and some of the philosophy around the OLPC project - I'll try and remember to post a link to the video of his talk when it's available online.

    To paraphrase his talk: The point of the XO is that it's robust and easy for primary age children to use as a learning tool. The whole system is designed around the idea of discoverable learning - children are encouraged to tinker with the device, find out how it works. There's even a "view source" button on the keyboard. There's many posts on this site along the lines of "Gah! Teachers/pupils, why can't they have a go at fixing it themselves?!", indicating that maybe the inquisitive spirit around computing technology that got many of us into this line of work in the first place is lacking in today's classrooms. The current "I remember my first PC..." thread is interesting - many people who frequent this site remember the days when home computers booted straight up into a BASIC interpretor prompt.

    The XO costs £100, all-in - hardware, OS, software, the lot. After reading about the technology used in it, and after seeing one up close yesterday, I'd say it's a marvel of modern technology - the BBC Microcomputer of its day. It's robust (you can chuck water and dust at it), small, light and power-efficient. It is also a pain to type on with adult-sized fingers and looks like a cheap plastic toy. It's capabilities as an ebook reader are great - if nothing else, it could save a school having to buy textbooks. It's mesh network connectivity is marvelously innovative, although the prototype I saw had problems getting an Internet connection.

    I think this thing would be pretty good for dishing out to primary school pupils. It would be cheap, it wouldn't need a managed wireless network (a £1,000-ish server and one wireless ADSL connection would come in handy), it wouldn't need maintaining (hardware parts are "field-maintainable", which I think means "easily swappable", but at the price you could afford a bit of attrition and just buy a few spares), software licensing costs are nil. I don't know if battery life would actually take a pupil through a whole day - if being used as an ebook reader then the power consumption is ridiculously low, and it might be that the power-saving features might let the batteries last a day. If not, the batteries are designed to be cheap and easily replaceable (as opposed to brand-name laptops, which are designed to make you spend £80 on a brand-name spare battery), and multi-battery chargers are bound to be available (or makable) soon.

    The Eee PC seems (from the pictures I've seen of it) to be aimed more at the secondary pupil, and more at Western countries. It looks like a normal laptop, complete with USB and VGA port so you can hook up an external monitor and keyboard to work on at home. Someone at the EduGeek conference today could probably say what they think of it.

    Edit: Schoolzone reports 250,000 primary pupils in Wales (Schools in Wales): General Statistics 2004 (2005) – National Assembly for Wale), so at £100 per laptop that's still £25 million. XO's are designed to operate as a pupil's own laptop, not as general IT resources, so a portable trolly full of them just wouldn't work (the same as it doesn't work for other laptops, as most people here seem to be saying).

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

    dhicks - I think you are still underestimating the sheer logistical nightmare that it would pose. Support would still be expensive. A wireless ADSL connection would simply not be enough - having 4 people on such a connection causes it to crawl - a managed wireless network would still be required.

    £1000 for a server? No chance. I just don't see it.

    As I said, the cost is much, much higher than being said by that MP. The ongoing cost to schools would far outreach their budgets.

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

    It will not work. sorry Mr pearce. did you wake up and think ooow lets talk about having laptops in every school. Mate I'm no polotition and you are no IT expert, and if some IT expert advised you to talk about having laptops in schools...... SACK HIM/HER!!!! because they have no idea.

    I look after over 100 laptops in the school and i have to say I have done everything i can possible to make my life easy to update the OS and software, install new software, and even maintain it. the first things that I find to go wrong is, power supply the connection for the power supply (costs a bloody fortune to repair) power lcd inverter then hard drive. these are gonna go wrong (tits up) in the first 3 year

    power supplys for laptops can cost errrm say 20 quid - 40 quid pluss MORE+

    repalcing the power connection for a laptop is some where around.... well ..... over 100 quid

    basicaly laptops are expensive to maintain; to support 1 too 10 is fine but over 100 its very very challenging and time consuming.

    pluss been a logistical nightmare is hard enogh.

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

    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?

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