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General Chat Thread, Laptop Schemes in General; I realise that recommendations and similar for laptop schemes have already been discussed, but I have a subtly different problem. ...
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    Laptop Schemes

    I realise that recommendations and similar for laptop schemes have already been discussed, but I have a subtly different problem. We're trying to justify a scheme to our bursar, who is currently under the impression that many schools are cancelling or ending their schemes as students already have their own laptops.

    Essentially I'd like to know who else is doing a laptop scheme, and how successful its been?

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    Surrey LA are actually holding an event at Epsom Downs race course on Thursday about laptops for Learning for senior leaders in Surrey schools.

    It is sponsored by Syscap, a company that deals with laptop schemes.

    I will down there speaking but here is a short summary.

    Laptop schemes are good for a few reasons. Allowing greater access to IT by students, a chance to change the way the curriculum is delivered, better links between home and school ...

    But there are a number of problems. The schemes can be administratively cumbersome. If you do not get a whole year group involved you don't get access to to eLearning Foundation support. If you don't use Direct Debits to manage the finances then someone in your school has to, including chasing up non-payment.

    Schemes fail for a variety of reasons. Financial pressures on the school, financial pressures on parents, lack of staff changing how the work, poor choice of equipment / suppliers ...

    Common success can be seen from schemes that have a purpose. Starting small is good. Finding key tools to use.

    We did a small thing of creating drop boxes in our existing VLE, FirstClass, to allow staff to receive homework / classwork from students. We also spend a day mapping our KS3 ICT curriculum against that of other subjects so that when someone in history is getting the students to make presentations the students will have covered Powerpoint ... when geography go on a field trip in Year 7 the materials are then used when ICT cover DTP ... the laptop scheme is one of the driving forces on this.

    Yes, student owned laptops / mobile devices are an issue and one of the reasons why our numbers have dropped this year. We have had to adapt how we operate the scheme as a result. As previously mentioned in other threads we are now moving to 2 wireless networks, one for staff and curriculum laptops with the other for student leased or student owned devices.

    This network has NAC on and is locked to make sure that those that do have access to it only have port 443, which is directed to the web front-end of our terminal servers. They still get access to school resources, software, filter settings, etc ... and we have a heap less work to do to support it all.

    This does mean that we can also open up the scheme to other year groups that previously might not have been included or those who initially passed up the scheme. The families do have to pay for some software licences, and some schools doing similar operate the MS Schools Agreement making the licences easier to manage too.

    If you do want to know more info I can pass on the presentation I will be using after thursday or have a chat with your bursar.

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    Thank you for the information, very useful stuff to know. Do you know if there are any places left for the event?

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    Details are here.

    Give them a ring and see. I am just a bumbling speaker.

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