We cabled and fitted desktop machines on the teachers desk in every classroom when we introduced computerised registration here 5 years ago. Best thing we ever did. All our classrooms now have IWB's, many have video players (lots of teachers have libraries of tapes that they cannot/willnot get converted to DVD) etc connected up, and having everything permanetly wired in is so much easier and more reliable.
It really has produced a culture change here as staff see kit is reliable and so use it more; now if we were to take the desktops away there would be an outcry.
Our staff all have access to upload/download files from home using our VLE (Frog) and we use roaming profiles for staff. They also do have a laptop issued to them, but these are rarely used to 'teach' as such.
I am absolutely certain that the extra initial investment in setting up the infrastructure is more than offset by increased reliability, longevity of kit and ease of use.
At the moment all our staff have ancient laptops with offline files so they can take work home. It's taken several years to get to this point.
They're expensive, slow, some are impossible to upgrade, and impossible to repair when the warranty expires.
We're a small school with only 20 staff laptops, but at £500 each for something half decent, it's going to cost £10,000 to replace them.
I'm seriously considering setting up a VPN and giving them home access to a Terminal Services on Server 2008. This will give them the same environment they have at school, with shares, printers etc.
They could use their old laptops or home computers as TS clients.
Laptops for every teacher to be used with smart boards, primary school so teacher in own classroom all day. We couldn't afford both laptops and desktops so laptops it was! Two spare old laptops are used for supply staff, labelled up with supply logon details and with all software/smartboard etc on. These of course are also used by staff forgetting their own laptops:D
Hard wired desktop teacher PC in every classroom on the network and with SIMS access.
It's worked an absolout treat for the last 4 years. Reliable and fast with a low cost of ownership and little support required.
I would never consider laptops - we only have a handful here (about 25), non networked (no wireless) and already several have been broken and generally the technical workload is far higher. As far as I am concerned - laptops and wireless cost too much to buy and replace, underperform, take more technician time to keep running, and attract theft, vandalism, and accidental damage.
We've got a curious mixture of both and can agree with a lot of the above - There are pro's and con's to both setups.
Personally, I prefer desktops - Luckily we have very little vandalism or theft so that's not really an issue, and having wired networking and a permanent connection to the projector/IWB means that we're seldom called in there with connection problems of any description which is always nice.
However, laptops are more suitable for certain staff members who work in rooms across school where it might not be possible to have applications that they use installed. Additionally, even if the network is down for whatever reason, laptops remain usable as teaching staff have a local logon so may still be able to proceed with a lesson as long as they've got a backup of any resources they intend to use on hand... or they can at least stick a DVD on :p
I'm wanting to look at staff having a network as a portable computer so they can still work from home and then have desktops on the front benches so that projectors look right (no widescreen problems that you get from laptops) and also visualisers and IWB's are installed and known to work with the setup for the room so if a teacher moves lots they don't have any worries
Originally Posted by chrbb
Ditto absolutely exactly!!
We went laptops for every teacher, after our mobile registration (using Palms) was dropped after Capita launched MobileReg.
It was a hard choice - rely on the possible flakiness of our wireless network (Mark P should be helping us with that), or invest in hard wiring the whole site and put a pc on every desk. As we already had a number of teachers with laptops (following the L4T scheme) - more laptops was chosen. It has its problems, but means that we have a more flexible system since staff can take their work with them. We just dont have enough open access pcs for all the teachers to use - or the room to put them even if we did!
We went the docking station root, until Dell released their fancy new latitude range of laptops 6 months ago. Great bit of kit, brand new port for docking. A new docking station is now £150 and isn't compatible with any of our old staff laptops (80+).
New latitude + docking station = £700ish.
New desktop + cheap laptop = £700ish.
Two computers for the price of one, and all because dell charge you £150 to put some wires neatly together for you.
We have PC's in every teaching room here. Staff love the fact that any PC they visit in a room is fast and has access to what they need regardless.
We brought this in at the time we began electronic registration as we felt this would give the best 'experience' for them.
Staff still have laptops but there are some who have given them back as they dont want them since the computers went in. Hopefully we will be moving away from them once Citrix Web Access is working but thats not for a while yet.
Every classroom has a PC for electronic registration / teaching through the projector etc.
All teachers have a laptop through school also, but the majority of which leave them at home to work on. The occasional LMT, Head of Department will bring their laptop in to use in meetings etc, but the majority are never seen. I think with the laptops not been transported to and from school every day we don't seem to get that many hardware issues with them.
We are slowly starting to phase the laptops out across school when they no longer are repairable or uneconomical to repair.
well thanks guys - lots of variation and ideas. It seems there is no particular model standing out.
Someone did point out the use for laptops - and whether it is a teaching tool or admin tool or both. There is definitely a great deal more suppor required for laptops and a more costly option than teachers desk computer. The movement around the school causes problems as clearly carrying laptops underneath a load of books is not healthy - which is not obvious to all!
We have wireless throughout - and has been sufficient for four years or so. However, staff do not use it correctly. Rebooting the laptop is also a task too far for some. While wireless works well, I am wondering whether the amount of potential interference from various things makes it a viable option to continue. We have hard wire around most areas and so would not be a major problem to lose but would be inconvenient for some staff.
So who is going to predict what the future will be like for a teacher in a classroom?
Biggest pro for the laptops other than portability here is the ability to hook up to a projector without the requirement for a splitter box. However, even with fairly modern laptops I'm getting sick of having to write off laptops/move them to a non-IWB usage due to nackered VGA ports from the usual heavy handling and kids yanking plugs :/ None of that at all with the desktop machines thankfully.
Bit late on the reply but mirrors what some others have said.
This depends upon level of schooling in the States. At the University level, teachers rarely use desktops and use more laptops, for projector reasons. High Schools and everything lower, teachers are given a desktop, but can also use a laptop. I personally think laptops are better. The teachers can bring the laptop home and to school. I find more teachers are using the internet as a social learning structure for students and a better way to communicate with their students, so the mobility of a laptop is definitely beneficial.
Where I work staff have had laptops provided for almost 3 years now. Each staff member seems to think of their laptop (an RM AL55) as their own personal machine... so I do get some grief when a board dies in one and I have to keep it for a few days while I wait for a new one!
It is easier for the staff than desktops in a corner of a room. Another pro of them having laptops, if they have a software issue they just bring the laptop down to me and show me in person.
Some staff have requested desktop machines in addition to their laptops, which has been set up. Staff will use these desktops to show DVD's, movie files, or powerpoints etc, so these desktops are permanently connected to the Projectors. If one of them has a printer, they also make ghetto print servers.
The main (only?) reason they want desktops as well as their laptops is so they can use the laptop to work on while the desktop is showing a DVD to class.
Laptops are harder to maintain than the desktops. I've already had to solder broken power connectors back onto a few boards etc.