jcollings (1st October 2008)
As for the original post, if it was me being forced into this, i would make disk protection from Windows Steady State a tool to try and reduce damage. But i see screens and power adaptors and keyboards and batterys being the expence.
oh good god no (to answer the OP)
a laptop given to every pupil to use as they like?
I can't imagine a worse scenario to have to deal with on a daily basis...
If that was suggested here, I'd draw up a huge document,
detailling EVERY aspect of laptop lending/use/ownership/penalties/costs/replacements and so on, stacked full of policies for pupils to sign, parents to sign, rules and regulations......
hopefully that would put them off!
and if it didn't, at least there'd be a stack of stuff to help you
out agasint all of the inevitable problems that will come up witing
seconds of you giving the laptops out.
What I find bizarre is that when heads from other schools visit to see how the scheme is going, they never bother to talk to me! Instead, they are given the "buzzword tour": inclusion... independent learning... ownership... responsibility (hah!)... etc etc.
Still, at least there seems to be some thought given to possibly replacing one class's machines with EEEs (I'm pushing for Linux ).
Ah, yes, I think another reason, I ran away from this last time was the support issue.
But I do remember that another company (who's name has escaped me), did a similar deal, whereby they would do all the laptop support issues. So the students had a phone number to call in case of issues. I think this is something you could arrange with the company you decided to buy the laptops from, although this would push the price up a little.
I had the Syscap guy call me up today, and he's sent some examples over to my email account.
See attachments, and, this is what he quoted as rough estimates:
Unit cost: 2 year scheme 3 year scheme
£200 £12.50 pcm £9.88 pcm
£400 £23.85 pcm £18.53pcm
£600 £35.20 pcm £27.18 pcm
Required parental contributions
Arrangement fee: £165 one off fee per school
(the formatting seems to have gone awol).
When they finally agree to do something, a lot of time is wasted as often it's just an easily fitted part (optical drive, keyboard, hard drive etc) that needs replacing - but rather than send a replacement with us returning the faulty part on receipt the whole laptop has to be sent back .
Umm...I'm not sure about all this negativity here! I feel I am here to advance our students' education, and if the decision is taken to issue laptops for students' school and private use, and a good case was made for this, then I would support it. The issues raised here are all good ones, but I feel a bit of positive thinking could make this work. Insist on Anti-virus, and anti-adware, which is regularly run by the Parent/Guardian. A fee for repairs not due to fair wear and tear, or laptop not fixed. An understanding that any software faults would be resolved by 'burn and re-build' - a ten minute job with Ghost and a USB stick - possibly even do-able by tech-savvy teachers, or even the students themselves - why not?? - it would solve the problem! I can see a case where a project like this would reduce the load on our Desktops, and relieve the maintenance requirement there. I also believe that this is going to be the way forward, whether we like it or not - so I'm starting by working out what my list of requirements is, before it's forced on me!! Oh, and I would insist they NOT be joined to our Domain - they can use our external home drive portal to get to their work (they can get an IP address from our DHCP server just fine), and printouts would have to done from a regular desktop, where we can keep an eye on it...
dbrown (8th January 2009)
Laptops for Kids is nothing but big nightmare. I have 5 in my office waiting for repair. damaged keybaords, screens smashed. software all screwed up.
it has taken a month for the insurance company and xma to get their act togeather. Im at the end of my teather with it all.
the basic idea is great but from a support side of things you have little control
We do this with the eee laptops. We get the kids/guardians to pay £120 as a deposit, which covers warranty breakages / illegal software removal / virus removal etc etc. We stick the linux software on that comes with it rather than windows as quite simply, windows is far more prone to crashes etc etc. Anything non-warranty (IE malicious damage such as the screen breaking) is charged FULL price to the parents. They have to sign a contract agreeing to it, if they dont then the children dont get the laptop, its as simple as that. So far we have managed to charge £900 in breakages to parents and the ones that did it have not broken them since.
All of our Year 6's here have Asus EEE 4g's they take them home and have a wireless point in the classroom.
When they take them home they have T-Mobile dongles that go through a company called Synetrix which filters the access to unwanted sites.
Its a pain the backside though, they're constantly having connection troubles and dropping the things.
I had a key fall off, when I was hoovering dust of the head of science's laptop. The NM and JnrTech came down from the science roofspace (access ladder is in the cleaner's cupboard) and found me riffling through a Henry. It was only when I'd got myself properly filthy that the NM pointed out we had a broken laptop I could nick a key from.
Some pointers when I last looked into this:-
School owned laptops - expect a 40% damage return
Unless you transfer ownership to the parent, School is responsible for WHAT is view at HOME via the internet. If you supply and own the laptops its your responsibility what they do with them at school AND at home (Impossible to Police)
There will NEVER be sufficient power sockets in a class
Put two partitions on the laptop with two copies of OS one for home use and one school, use MS Steady State on school partition to undo and changes at logoff
Using two partitions keeps home rubbish off the school partition.
Make the default boot the locked down school partition
Invest in another technician, one local school has a tech continuously re-imaging laptops and he has 20-30 per week (1500 on roll)
Insist on Accidental damage cover, students WILL break screens if they think it will get then a new unit.
Explain to parents that the insurance does not pay out indefinitely, more than three claims a year and they refuse to cover you next year.
Watch the market as a leading Laptop manufacturer is testing a laptop that can be cleaned in a bucket of water, dropped onto concrete from three feet and has a re-inforced screen that almost indestructable, oh and its touchscreen!
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