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Hardware Thread, Age of Computer for Teaching and learning? in Technical; I heard that the maximum age for computers for teaching and learning is 5 years old. Any one know where ...
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    nicholab's Avatar
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    Age of Computer for Teaching and learning?

    I heard that the maximum age for computers for teaching and learning is 5 years old. Any one know where I can get this in writing as I would like to highlight this to the management.

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    Re: Age of Computer for Teaching and learning?

    I think it's relative,

    You could buy a low cost PC such as http://www.pcwb.com/catalogue/item/LENPC050 and you'd be lucky if it lasted 3yrs, but you could also buy http://uk.insight.com/apps/productpr...3D3%26SB%3Dplh and find that with a bit of extra ram it chugs along quite nicely for 6-7 years.

    I think the 5 years is a suggested figure based on averages. Best bet is to try and prove that the PC's you've got arent up to the job, or that the ones you are buying ae cheaper as they are lower spec and will need replacing in 3-5 years.

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    Re: Age of Computer for Teaching and learning?

    you're LEA should have a recommended replacement cycle. Ours is every 4 years although typically this is broken due to senior management spending the money on smartboards instead of client computers (which is it's whole purpose).

    We have computers that are 9 years old here, running windows 95.. I think that's says it all. Although thankfully we do have a lot of 3/4 year old ones, but the situation is getting worse year on year. I've warned then in writing, I suggest you do the same.

    Hardware cannot be repaired forever, especially Apple Macs where the cost seems to rocket for parts each year. CDROM drives now cost me £85 a shot, logic boards are up to £300 - it's cost less than £500 to replace it with a brand new Dell.

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    Re: Age of Computer for Teaching and learning?

    BECTA used to say that you could only count PCs on the pupil:computer ratio which are less then 5 yrs. They've since revised this to a rather woolly statement about being able to be networked and run multimedia applications, or be suitable for the task in hand. So, if you have a PC which is only used to play one DOS game, you can have a 286 on your books and still count it!!

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    Re: Age of Computer for Teaching and learning?

    Yes, I found the same information on BECTA. There is somewhere a list of minimum spec for a PC on BECTA (the link I used to have is now dead)and we used that to push through some upgrades\replacements. As for the ratio, I think when you fill the form out it meerley requires the PC to be able to work and doesnt say what spec it has to be!

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    mark's Avatar
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    Re: Age of Computer for Teaching and learning?

    Our figures to BECTA (I think) in a survey a couple of years ago included a lot of old PCs that we'd salvaged as thin clients, stripped down and underclocked. I think their revised statement is to cover those using thin client terminals.

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    Re: Age of Computer for Teaching and learning?

    Quote Originally Posted by mark
    I think their revised statement is to cover those using thin client terminals.
    That might be the spirit with which they were written, but it's not what they actually say. The BECTA guidelines say that a PC needs to be capable of carrying out the task for which it is intended/used; so if its purpose is running huge multimedia presentations or video editing, it needs to be a bells-and-whistles PC on a gig network; if however it just runs one really old program, and that is all that you need of it, then any age is sufficient.

    We had that here with a lovely little Acorn which the teacher wouldn't throw out because it had a program on it which she couldn't get for Windows!

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    Re: Age of Computer for Teaching and learning?

    I guess it would really depend on what your using it for. We have computers so old that they are still dos based, We also have computers that are running Fedora Core 1 as a server. So it really depends on what you use them for.

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    Re: Age of Computer for Teaching and learning?

    I think the answer is it depends on what the computers are required to do...

    We have Pentium 4 2.8ghz PC's that were purchased in April 2004...so that makes them atleaset 3.5 years old. They'll definitely make it into a 4th year for what we want them to do. I probably won't be around to decide whether to take them past the 5 year mark.

    In normal circumstances 5 years is probably the top end for useful life for teaching and learning but newer technologies and simple upgrades can really help to extend a lifespan even beyond this. We upgraded our P4's to 1GB of RAM and added gigabit nic's. The 80GB IDE drives are fine, the geforce 4 card has a paltry 64mb of shared grafx memory which is a bummer but no big deal as we don't plan to utilise Vistas ridiculous Aero Glass.

    The normal answer to old pc's is to use them as thin clients - but there are much better solutions without the compromises of thin technology.

    OS streaming is a tremendous solution to use the power of your network and server storage to ease the management burden on traditional fat clients. Processor requirements for OS streaming aren't too great...advanced features require 1GB of RAM on the client but that should be a minimum even for 4 year old PC's...if your PC's aren't then upgrade the memory NOW. With gigabit NIC's and a dual core server with plenty of RAM OS streaming has no performance degradation over storing the OS locally.

    The trouble is that while virtualization on the server takes advantage of dual and quad core servers, client OS's and the majority of applications at the moment don't take advantage of the dual core processor in new PC;s...and with microsoft years away from making a 64 bit OS the defacto a lot of the horsepower goes untapped.

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    Re: Age of Computer for Teaching and learning?

    Was always told it was 5 years myself, nearly wet myself when the LEA audited one local place where 90% of the PCs were 5 years plus but the head refused to change them when mentioned about replacing as why should he as they worked and they ran XP and he met the pupilc ratio. The LEA soon put him straight that once they hit 5 years they don't count so his wonderful ratio soon went from brilliant to something like 1pc to 50 children

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    nicholab's Avatar
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    Re: Age of Computer for Teaching and learning?

    It annoying as we still got a suite of 800mhz P3 they are so slow. Some idiot forgot to factor in a 5 year replacement cycle. At the same time the MFL dept are getting a lab with 30 new computers. I think main suites should be a 3 years cycle then next level down a 5year and then the max should be 7yrs. Directory of e-learning get to choose where the new computers go.

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    Re: Age of Computer for Teaching and learning?

    We've got 113 Dell Gx150s that we purchased in 2002. Still going strong but that's only because we've upgraded them to the point where nothing in the base unit is the original bits........so, do these count as 5 years old or are they 'newer' because of the upgrades?

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    Re: Age of Computer for Teaching and learning?

    IMHO, I would say if u can prove that hte system inside IE CPU, Ram level etc are no longer at the "average" for 2002 then you should be fine and count them as the age they are technically/

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