JaseO (13th May 2012)
we look after 6 primaries now, and some have it rooms some have trollies, it works for some now for others, it depends on the staff and the building.
if staff havent the time to unpack them, then put them away (neatly) then it will be a nightmare.
also when software updates are pushed out depending on your network this may cause issues, as each laptop will get the update when its turned on (dependant what system you have). normal stations (if powered on first thing) will get updates first thing.
if you are a primary on one floor, or are having a trolley per floor then this will go in your favour.
have you in house IT support?
You will at some point need to replace the batteries and that can be costly, so you need to budget for it.
Actually, that's another point - depending on how your network is currently set up, it would be useful for all pupils to have their own individual logins. It certainly helps to track things down faster rather than if you have generic "class" logins.
Keyboards being broken and due to them being laptops you simply can not replace it in 4 seconds, instead the technical staff have to replace (some laptops are a nightmare just to replace the keyboard) or worse send off for repair.
Using Wireless? Will not be as fast as a cable which most of the time you will not notice but Wireless tends to be far less reliable than a cable.
Battery failures - like Steven said - this is a big issue without being conditioned they can stop being useful after 1 year.
Smashed screens, again this is a nightmare to replace (at least most of the ones we have had) or worse sent off to repair.
ICT Suite to me always the better option. Unless you want to use a MAC system as I call it, No domain just turn on and use internet in which case this will work perfectly minus the occasional wireless access issue.
Many thanks to all who have responded, it's been really helpful and has given me lots to think about!
I am keen to have a telephone conversation with a primary school that has had a positive experience after losing their ICT suite and moving to a mobile only solution. Can anyone point me in the direction of one?
We replaced some hdd's with SSD's in laptops recently and this alone has saved several minutes in the time it takes for a child to retrieve a lappy from the trolley, get to his/her desk, switch it on and then start to work.
I teach ICT at an all girls Primary School in South Africa. Our aim has certainly been to push ICT tools into the classroom and to move away from ICT lessons that are unrelated to what students do in other subjects.
We have found that we still need to have a suite where I will teach certain skills, applications or concepts, which the students can choose from to apply. The students would often start work in the "lab", and then they can then carry on working on the shared netbooks that they have in their classrooms. (The Year 6 & 7 classes each have a bank of netbooks that connect wirelessly to the network.) We have just installed wireless access point in the suite as well so that we can use laptops there as well as the PCs.
There are also many teaching aids that we are acquiring, e.g. digital microphones, easy to use video cameras, etc..
We are also looking into buying iPADS but there are still some issues that we need to resolve with regard to bulk licensing. We have bought an iPAD for each phase so that teachers can experiment, but I believe that the beauty of iPADs for teachers is that it is a very personal device and is better used when it can be set up to synch to one's personal iTunes account. Free apps sometimes have limitations and the school does not yet have a payment structure in place for the purchasing of apps.
Even in the Primary school, the girls have access to cell phones and teachers have integrated these in lesson where it was appropriate.
In the Foundation phase, we find that we still need to teach skills, so the ICT lessons are very structured, but again based on what the teachers are doing in their classes.
Each classroom has an interactive white board or a data projector which the teachers use.
I agree with previous contributors that schools must steer away from making blanket decisions, e.g. out with all ICT suites, or out with Windows, only use Apple, etc.. We really should get to a stage where we select the right tool for the job, much like we use a pair of scissors when we want to cut a small thing and a guillotine when we cut in bulk...one does not exclude the other.
JaseO (5th June 2012)
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