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General Chat Thread, One computer per child in General; We are giving every student it KS4 a Netbook connected to schools system from September onwards. Everyone is in support ...
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    Quackers's Avatar
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    One computer per child

    We are giving every student it KS4 a Netbook connected to schools system from September onwards.

    Everyone is in support of the Idea, Students, Teachers.....

    Has any other school done this either with Netbooks or Notebooks? Their are a few logisitical issues we have as yet to decide on, one being can they take them home. I would prefer them to, but one or two people are conserned that once it gets out in the community that they have them, they then become a target for being mugged.

    Just interested in hearing from schools who have done this......

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    maniac's Avatar
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    We used to have one laptop per child here, which we changed last year because it was a logistical nightmare. Students wen't allowed to take them home, instead we had a 'laptop room' where they all lived in secure storage cabinets. Each laptop was numbered and allocated to a student. All the students had to do was pick them up at the beginning of school from this room, then take them back at lunch time, pick them up after lunch then take them back at the end of school.

    To cut a long story short it didn't work, we kept finding them dumped in various places around the building, the students claiming that 'someone else must have taken it out of the cabinet' students never remembered to put them on charge, so we spent literally hours a week just plugging in laptops and we had 2 that got stolen - although we never really found where they went as the students involved claimed that they were taken from the cabinet room by someone else, and there lies the problem - unless you can make the system fully accountable, they do have a tendancy to go walkabouts in my experience, and we spent hours a week just counting laptops and making sure they were all there.

    We contemplated for a while storing them in form rooms, but then changed angle completely and we have now divided up the laptops we had, and put some in each department so they are available for any student to use. We find this works much better, and the staff like it better as well as they can make sure that the laptops will be ready to be used for their lesson because they are kept in their rooms, so there's no issues of students fogetting to pick up their laptop, or not having charged it up etc.

    1 laptop per child is a nice idea, but in this school it just didn't work.

    Mike.

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    ButterflyMoon's Avatar
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    We have netbooks and for the most part they are kept in school. Only some of the 6th form take them home and have made good use of them. We have had problems with them losing internet settings on a regular basis. Also the ones we have are the ones with dongles which have a slot in sim card. Yes you've guessed it the sims go walkabout never to be seen again. Currently there are 10 dongles sitting useless as the sims are missing/stolen. Add to this they are all in linux! It is doubtful if we will repeat the excercise.

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    alan-d's Avatar
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    From watching others doing this I've come to the conclusion that it is a very expensive and logistical nightmare.

    Even if you allow the units to be taken home the cost in time and replacement parts will be never ending. I know of one school that had around 5 technicians just to administer the scheme and repair the units. It wasn't enough and the scheme was scrapped.

    If parents are paying for the units then damage etc is reduced somewhat, but if the school retains ownership then less care is taken to lessen damages.

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    dwhyte85's Avatar
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    We are giving 1 per pupil for sixth formers, around 100 laptops - not looking forward to it at all... so many things have not been considered, we have 3 staff members inclusive of myself & now around 500 laptops/pc's 300 of which are very old, bring it onnn! [joe swanson like voice].

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    LeMarchand's Avatar
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    It sounds like a great idea, but it is a complete PITA from the technician's POV.

    One of my schools does this (200 pupil primary). Originally I was doing 3hrs/week there and an arrangement was made with my main school to make my hours a bit more flexible when they decided to go ahead. Every child was given a notebook (that belonged to the school) and a voluntary contribution was solicited (I think you can guess the level of contributions received...). The children are allowed to take them home with one or two having permission revoked after lack of care. A certain well known chain supplied 200 HP notebooks and were supposed to be providing full support - the parents could just take the machine in for repair (and I think you can guess how well that worked out as well!)

    I'll only concentrate on the problems, as the benefits will be all the reasons the kids/staff think it will be a good idea. One of the few good things I have to say about the scheme is that only a couple have "disappeared". As for the "safety", children must be accompanied by an adult and the bags are "rucksacks" rather than lappy bags (plus it's an OKish area).

    Anyway, problems:
    • Children never charge the batteries for lessons
    • Lost chargers
    • Batteries and chargers not taken care of (I reckon near on 1/2 the chargers have been replaced under warranty and around 50 batteries have failed, but aren't under warranty)
    • Classroom cable management (caused by above two points)
    • P2P software being used to illegally obtain media
    • School software/documents being wiped to make room for music/video/games
    • Constant need for spyware removal when they d/l "cool" toolbars and screensavers
    • Siblings claiming laptops for GCSE work so laptop not available to child in school
    • Complaints that games won't run (due to not checking the laptop specs)
    • Outside primary age games/videos loaded/left in drives
    • Daddy's browsing habits and other unsuitable uses
    • Children can't be bothered to store the laptops on the designated shelves in the store cupboard and strew them on the floor (safety/damage risk)
    • Name tags removed, making it difficult (especially combined with above) to identify laptops needing fixing
    • Well known chain's guarantee a complete PITA and ended up with the (busy already) AO having to spend hours on phone logging faults that I can't deal with (easier in 1st year when HP would often send out parts)
    • Keys pulled of keyboards
    • Babies allowed to use notebook as toy
    • Proxy settings being wiped

    ...I'm sure there's more!

    Had a cunning plan for this year's Reception (who have netbooks that they can actually open without aid!) of using SteadyState to lock things down and a script to allow even teachers to easily wipe settings back to "issued state". It turns out that if the machines aren't properly powered down, SteadyState will revert to its original settings of not retaining changes at each reboot. Of course, conveying this to staff, parents and children (even the few older ones with it on) is nigh on impossible so it might have to be removed (hopefully the "locking down" can be left). I'm currently looking at ways to create a recovery partition that teachers can easily invoke if needs be.

    All in all, (probably) great from a teaching POV but a nightmare for technical staff.

  7. Thanks to LeMarchand from:

    AndyD (23rd May 2009)

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    tech_guy's Avatar
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    Logistical nightmare. Saturate the school with PCs and Apple Macs instead. Cheaper and easier in the long run.

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    russdev's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tech_guy View Post
    Logistical nightmare. Saturate the school with PCs and Apple Macs instead. Cheaper and easier in the long run.
    Problem with that is what do they use at home can't take the pc home with them.

    The point of one-to-one agendas is that they have access to computer resources both in and out of school. Arr does the come back to previous thread of opening the network to personnel devices....

    Saturating the school with PCs or Saturating the students with laptops is not viable in the long term.

    Russ

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    It may seem good on paper but I can't see how it could ever actually work in real life.

    The problem is, the pupils need to be given ownership of the laptops (by ownership I mean they are theirs to take home etc), but pupils nowadays are not really interested in taking ownership of anything at all, many of them can barely manage ownership of a £5 calulator, let alone a £300+ laptop.

    I mean we all know we have enough problems trying to get the teachers to take ownership and look after their laptops - what hope have the pupils got exactly?

    Saturating the school with PCs is a hell of a lot more viable than saturating the kids with laptops, that's for sure.

    Butuz

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    maniac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by russdev View Post
    . . . . Saturating the school with PCs or Saturating the students with laptops is not viable in the long term.

    Russ
    Have you been talking to my academy head, as that's almost word for word what he said to me about 2 months ago, and I agree which is why we're looking at ways to open up our network to allow students to use their own devices, and more sustainable ways of using desktiop PC in the school etc.

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    I presume the argument for letting them take them home is that kids who can't afford their own machine at home won't be disadvantaged.

    We have plenty of publicly available machines during the day and up until 6pm so if there are students with no access at home they have a good 2.5 hours per day in which they can use school equipment to work on homework.

    Only laptops we give to students are some ancient "alphasmart" word-processing things for those who have broken an arm or something and can't write with a pen.

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    We are hoping to get around some of the problems by setting up the laptops with three partitions.

    First partition is the student Home OS. Student have administration rights and protection software installed to stop alteration of third partition (which is set as hidden)

    Third Partition is the Schools OS with protection software running protecting partition 1 and 3
    (Partition one set as hidden)

    The second partition is there data drive for saving work. Both Home and School partitions MY Documents folders have been redirected to this partition.

    If there home partition become unusable or corrupt all we are doing is re ghosting back.

    We are about to start issuing out so time will tell if this method works

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    LeMarchand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomlin View Post
    We are hoping to get around some of the problems by setting up the laptops with three partitions.
    Couple of questions: which "protection software" and does this mean that you have to have 2 OS licences?

    Do they choose which partition they need (home or school) manually? I can see that being a bit of a stumbling block if so - though your kids might be smarter/less don't-give-a-damn than the kids I have to deal with.

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    Protection software is DeepFreeze

    Yes two OS licences are required.

    We have set the boot option in msdos.sys not to automatically load an OS after x seconds so they have plenty of time to select home or school.

  16. Thanks to tomlin from:

    LeMarchand (21st May 2009)

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    LeMarchand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomlin View Post
    Protection software is DeepFreeze

    Yes two OS licences are required.

    We have set the boot option in msdos.sys not to automatically load an OS after x seconds so they have plenty of time to select home or school.
    Cheers, but alas our lot won't pay out any more.

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