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Hardware Thread, Notebooks - Are they worth it???? in Technical; The Headmaster here has decided that all our year 7 & 8's (of which there are 70 of them) are ...
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    Geek_of_HeathMount's Avatar
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    Notebooks - Are they worth it????

    The Headmaster here has decided that all our year 7 & 8's (of which there are 70 of them) are to have notebooks from September 2010 This in itself is not an issue as we already have the spare capacity, licenses etc.

    What is of concern is what other people are doing are you guys using notebooks, mini notebooks, laptops, or iTouch, islate(when it arrives), etc. Some of the industry pundits are saying that the uptake of notebooks is about to fall through the floor as they are not able to cope with media rich content which is now being served up on the web and that the price of them have gone up which brings them back into the realm of the cheap laptops.

    The Headmaster is currently convinced that Notebooks are the way forward but i'm not so sure.

    Please let me know your thoughts on what you guys have done / used / recommend to your Heads

    Thanks

    Ian

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    I'd say look at some Netbooks that can double as tablets myself. There are a few around, such as this: Zoostorm Fizzbook Spin 8.9" Mini Tablet Atom-1.6... - 3310-9407 at Insight UK

    Then you get multiple functions in one...

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    My personal opinion is Netbooks are for sending emails, doing research and typing it up. 1024x600 is just too small for anything else. And even if it does fit on the screen, flash content kills the current single core atom CPUs, so thats 90% of educational software out the window straight away.

    Unfortunatly alot of people have been sold the idea that they are a replacement to desktop machines.

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    SC-UK's Avatar
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    I assume you mean Netbooks rather than Notebooks?

    If so, as previous replies have stated, I think they are fantastic devices for a little bit of web browsing / e-mail / documentation etc but for anything more, or for use over an extended period of time, then you are much better off buying a proper sized Notebook (laptop).

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    I think the best way to see netbooks as electronic textbooks. Great for web browsing and note taking.

    The best thing to look at is a TCO for using the notebooks. They often work out over the life of the product as being more expensive than other solutions.

    Include support, charging, replacements, installing software I find the best way to get SLT around to my way of thinking is explaining using hard cold cash as an incentive.

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    pwds's Avatar
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    If you are expecting year seven and eight children to carry these around with them all day then a absolutely key part of the deal will be size and weight, especially weight. Full size laptops, especially those in excess of 15 inches, will most likely be too heavy for this age group to manage.

    There is a strong argument for portal thin clients if these are only due for use in school, but I imagine a full operating system and apps (not web apps as some students won't have access at home) are required as off-site access is envisaged.

    Management costs for updates and anti-virus should be factored in whatever you buy, and is the school going to be expected to assist students to connect laptops to home wireless etc?

    Are these going to be student or school property and who is going to be responsible for installing software? If school owned how are you going to ensure software licensing compliance?

    Will the computers be part of the general school network or hived off in a separate VLAN?

    How is backup of student work going to happen and who is responsible for it?

    What happens if it is damaged by a student?

    I know of more projects of this type that have been abandoned than I have fingers.

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    teddybear's Avatar
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    I think it's the Toshiba Netbooks NB200 we have, I have put around 80 of them out into a primary school and they will be going in to a secondary school soon.

    The main complaint is that they are too slow.

    They have 800mhz processors which in itself for doing WP and surfing isn't too bad but when I installed XP onto one (they are rolled out with the latest Ubuntu version) it just runs too slow. I have tried several times, not too hard though, but found it difficult to get Flash installed...

    My wife used it one night to play Farmville on Facebook and quickly gave it back to me saying it was so slow.

    The primary school, that use Ubuntu, complain that the wireless connection takes too long to kick in. I explain that having 30 of them talking to one wireless base station at the same time isn't very good but the actual service takes up to a minute to kick in and it's too slow to make the kids wait.

    They are nice and light and it you aren't too bothered about how long it takes to boot (4 minutes in Ubuntu) then they are fine to do WP, Internet, e-mail etc but other more processor intensive stuff I'd stay away from them.

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    CPLTD's Avatar
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    after my experience this week see below, i would say NO lol and I seel them

    http://www.edugeek.net/forums/behind...dare-they.html

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    SimpleSi's Avatar
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    And even if it does fit on the screen, flash content kills the current single core atom CPUs, so thats 90% of educational software out the window straight away.
    That's not been my experience - do you have an example of a program that you think doesn't run at an acceptable speed?

    regards

    Simon

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    torledo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geek_of_HeathMount View Post
    The Headmaster here has decided that all our year 7 & 8's (of which there are 70 of them) are to have notebooks from September 2010 This in itself is not an issue as we already have the spare capacity, licenses etc.

    What is of concern is what other people are doing are you guys using notebooks, mini notebooks, laptops, or iTouch, islate(when it arrives), etc. Some of the industry pundits are saying that the uptake of notebooks is about to fall through the floor as they are not able to cope with media rich content which is now being served up on the web and that the price of them have gone up which brings them back into the realm of the cheap laptops.

    The Headmaster is currently convinced that Notebooks are the way forward but i'm not so sure.

    Please let me know your thoughts on what you guys have done / used / recommend to your Heads

    Thanks

    Ian
    The value in netbooks as i see it, is if you can deal with the compromises. For me, anything below an 11" screen is just too small. And i'd need the higher resolution screens [above 1024 x 600] even to do basic stuff like web browsing.

    And then when you start looking at netbooks with double the amount of ram, with increased screen size, the price starts to go up a little, the weight starts to creep up a little. Before you know it, the more power hungry budget laptops don't start to look that much more expensive.

    It's a real shame that the CULV processors couldn't be made and sold at a budget price, as laptops built around these seem to offer up fewer compromises.

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    Geek_of_HeathMount's Avatar
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    Thanks for the opinions so far guys. It seems that the answer is to stay away from notebooks then and look at budget laptops.

    Keep posting your thoughts though.

    Thanks

    Ian

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    RabbieBurns's Avatar
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    We have just rolled out 181 Acer Aspire 'netbooks' for student use. The 1410 model, 250gb disk, 11.6" screen, 1366x768 resolution, 2gb ram, 11n wireless, 1.2ghz celeron processor.

    Were about $800 which is about 400UKP so its more pricey than the cheaper EEE type machines, but they work pretty well, run adobe CS4 with ease, and have been pretty well recieved by staff and students.

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    SimpleSi's Avatar
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    Can we not standardise on a name

    I call a "netbook" something with less than 1024x768 display and no cd/dvd drive.

    I use the word "notebook" to decribe a normal laptop but understand that others sometime call netbooks notebooks

    Acer may want to call their 1410 a "netbook" but just because they cut back on the screen size a bit and remove the CD drive but since they're still charging laptop prices for it I'd just call it a "crap laptop"

    regards

    Simon

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    CPLTD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SimpleSi View Post
    Can we not standardise on a name

    I call a "netbook" something with less than 1024x768 display and no cd/dvd drive.

    I use the word "notebook" to decribe a normal laptop but understand that others sometime call netbooks notebooks

    Acer may want to call their 1410 a "netbook" but just because they cut back on the screen size a bit and remove the CD drive but since they're still charging laptop prices for it I'd just call it a "crap laptop"

    regards

    Simon
    i would call a netbook anything without a optical and running Intel's poor excuse of a CPU ATOM or Via's just as bad C3

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    SimpleSi's Avatar
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    It's a real shame that the CULV processors couldn't be made and sold at a budget price, as laptops built around these seem to offer up fewer compromises.
    Yes - what I want is long life battery,cheap laptops

    I go for netbooks as that is the only way to get cheap and long battery life.

    When "laptops" do the same - I'll swittch to buying them

    JFI at the moment I have 1 school with 20 orig 700 linux eeePCs in use mainly for OO writer, impress and searching net and printing.

    I have 4 other schools with Samsung NC10s/NC130s (ranging from 6 to 40 machines/ school)

    I only have 1 program (Crazytalk) that is a major problem (But not insurmountable with 3rd party screen res changers) on 1024x600 NC10 displays.

    I have used an NC10 for a year as my personal laptop in school/living room in the evenings - I use bigger displays when possible of course

    regards

    Simon
    And of course IT changes ALL the time - next year we'll be ordering ISlates

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