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General Chat Thread, Getting rid of ICT Suites in General; Nice article but you didn't mention the costs involved in providing a wireless infrastructure. (Assuming they want internet access) and ...
  1. #16
    alan-d's Avatar
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    Nice article but you didn't mention the costs involved in providing a wireless infrastructure. (Assuming they want internet access) and the difficulties of connecting 16 - 32 laptops all at once. I know wireless is improving but there is still a cost for the better kit and I think the bandwidth sharing problem will be around for a long time yet, especially for the more cash strapped primaries out there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mthomas08 View Post
    We have scrapped ALL our Laptop trollies for students over the years. They all got wrecked, all wireless and just gave the students, staff and us grief. Now our staff are more understanding about laptops + Students this is some thing that shouldnt ever come back in my time. We do not have the best behaved students so it was never a bright idea.

    As a result both of those areas now have desktops and have far less issues.
    Same as that - we have got rid of 12 laptop trolleys and move to having 15 IT suites (pretty much each department has one) and they are better looked after. We purchase a desktop at £350 which will last 4/5 years whereas you buy a laptop at £400~ and it will last 3 at a max.

    Also if a keyboard breaks it doesn't cost £40/50 to replace.

    I certainly in an educational environment wouldn't go to a full wireless solution with only laptops

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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
    Take it that companies and schools have a fixed capital budget each year to pay for computers, which they may 'bank' on certain years. Each year allows for £200 per machine including software, licences, consumables, repairs, etc. Also accept that they will want to upgrade as soon as they can to ensure high quality machines able to perform all the functions of improving software.

    In 3 years you have £600, which is a reasonable sum to purchase a desktop, etc ... but it gets a dreadful laptop which will not last the 3 years, whereas by waiting another year you get £800 which gets a far better laptop which will do you for 4 years and 1 replacement battery. The figures are purely explanatory and not meant to represent exactly what people will pay. Remember that there is no extra money to be able to be put in ... you have what you have got.

    It might be that you make the desktops run for longer but if you are needing flexibility and you still have the budget you started with then it will not magically expand. This is the point when you start having to discuss with staff the compromises based around what you want to do educationally but are restricted by time, money, expertise or a combination of them all.
    At 8/900 machines if we banked £200 per machine per year we would have to bank £160,000/£180,000 each year

    not going to happen!

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    Quote Originally Posted by alan-d View Post
    Nice article but you didn't mention the costs involved in providing a wireless infrastructure. (Assuming they want internet access) and the difficulties of connecting 16 - 32 laptops all at once. I know wireless is improving but there is still a cost for the better kit and I think the bandwidth sharing problem will be around for a long time yet, especially for the more cash strapped primaries out there.
    Oh, this is presuming that the school already has that (have a watch of an earlier blog post containing a ranting movie).

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by glennda View Post
    At 8/900 machines if we banked £200 per machine per year we would have to bank £160,000/£180,000 each year

    not going to happen!
    As mentioned ... figures are purely used for explanation ... and another chunk of reality is that the 3/4 year turn around will quickly become 4/5 depending on money ...

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    simpsonj's Avatar
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    The ratio of broken laptops to broken desktops here must be around 10:1, I've got a pile of 5 laptops on my technicians desk waiting to be fixed, and I hate them, staff are now wary of laptops, where as the 4 year old desktops are going fine, and will be much improved after the RAM upgrade I'm planning over half term. So for £10 per desktop, they'll keep going for another 2 years or so, where as I've got to start looking at replacement screens, batteries, battery packs, keyboards and motherboards for the laptops which have been broken, misused or worn out.

    This is not to mention the number of times students have accidentally turned off the wireless and so can't login or access the internet. Plus students have lost respect for laptops, swinging them about, carrying them up and down stairs, holding them in one hand and all manner of things which make me wince.

    This isn't to say laptops don't have their place, I think they're brilliant for Science labs, and for topping up ICT Suites for Managed Coursework, or if they're aren't quite enough PCs to go around, but I would never replace an ICT Suite with a "mobile solution" unless I knew the teacher was brilliant at managing the classroom, the wireless was flawless and the desks and trolley were based on RM's wildcharge technology.

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    To some extent I didn't go into the classroom management side of things as this, in my experience, is far better in primary than secondary schools ... and whilst I would love to say that it is a given, I am also presuming that there is an understanding that there is an awareness with the teachers that they will have to make sure more care is taken ... and the examples given are only a few to show this ... but they are based on real numbers in real schools.

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    I also have to say a big thank you to those members who have shared information with me via PM, on tweeter, by email or when meeting F2F as this has contributed to the recent blog posts ... I don't name folk as they generally don't want to be, but you know who you are.

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    I face losing my ICT Suite in the near future as we've run out of rooms in the school. Being fee-paying the extra income from nums on seats should pay for the laptops and more. I know why we need to lose the Suite, but I have misgivings.

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    I'll give you the teacher's perspective (or at least mine, as an ex teacher).
    As a science teacher I would fill out my apparatus requisition sheet for the following week (magnets, iron filings, microscopes blah blah) and I could just tick a box to order a trolley load of laptops. easy peasy. But, If I wanted to use an ICT room, I had to go to the technology department to book it, then traipse my class down there on the day (because I'd forgotten to tell them of the room change the previous lesson,duh). So, as far as I was concerned the laptop trolley was the easier option. Unfortunately, inevitably, 1/4 of the machines didn't work, another 1/4 had flat batteries, half of the rest (another quarter, for those keeping up) took three weeks to boot up (I exaggerate, only 40 minutes) and most of the rest either wouldn't receive a signal or had their setting changed by some little herbert in another lesson.
    Soooo, although booking the IT suite was less convenient, at least the machines worked and we got some work done!

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    In the situation here (primary) where the head wants to get rid of the suite, staff dont, going to get Ruckus network in summer but reading between the lines if it proves ok he wants to get rid of the suite and get more netbooks and some pads. Not my preference and i teach the majority of the ict curriculum! Open to getting pads/netbooks but not at cost of a suite that just works, no ifs or buts. Suppose in the end i'll just do as i'm told. Finishing with one of my schools in the summer and the above was just one of the reasons, my choice to leave not pushed.



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