Computers for school

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Tweefo (January 01, 2013, 16:39:19 PM):
Advice please. My wife is the owner/principal of a growing (not high end) private school (up to gr 3 now 2013). In 2014 she want the gr 4 and up to have a personal computer. A computer for every student in every class (English, Geography and so on) would be very expensive plus different students are going to work on a specific computer. Security is also something to think about. If it is known that there are a lot of computers on the premises they will get a break in of course. I think a laptop for every student, that they can take from class to class, would work but it will still be expensive for the parents. How about netbooks? What is the difference between them and laptops? Can you load Office on them?
BoogieMonster (January 01, 2013, 20:15:09 PM):
Netbooks should work. Typically they have very small keyboards and screens, and very little in the way of processing power. They're meant mostly for browsing the web or doing lightweight processing. One would struggle to make one go throughout the whole day without recharging in every class. Office would work but will probably be a bit slow, and I imagine quite costly if acquired on the up-and-up. LibreOffice would suffice as replacement at no cost.

In a similar fashion one may want to research for a model where one can dodge the microsoft tax and install something like Ubuntu Linux. If this could be done cost would be kept to a bare minimum but you'd have to have a chat with teachers to explain that this "NOT WINDOWS", and some teething problems from an unfamiliarity with Linux could happen. However these days ubuntu is pretty darn user friendly and I suspect everyone involved would rapidly adapt.

If I may add another option to the fray, you may want to have a squiz at the Raspberry Pi. This is extremely inexpensive per unit, but you would have to outfit classrooms with keyboards, mice, and screens (the screens would have to be chosen carefully, they have to work with the Pi's HDMI output). Then the student just carries their own computer around with them, and can easily hook it up at home given a couple of bare essentials. This option is "Linux only" and would require someone onsite with a bit of experience to set up and help out, the Raspberry Pi experience is quite "smoothed out" yet.

Quote
different students are going to work on a specific computer


Computers can be set up so that each student has to "log in" using an unique username and can then only see their own documents. This requires some central servers (PC's) to do the authentication and serve the files, and a school-wide network (was this a requirement?). A knowledgable person should be able to set this up.
cr1t (January 02, 2013, 09:54:37 AM):
What about tablets? You would also have to look at wifi and internet security if you want to add that? Plus what sort of
course work do you expect to put on them?

http://www.samsung.com/us/mobile/wi-fi-tabs
Rigil Kent (January 03, 2013, 09:23:56 AM):
In 2014 she want the gr 4 and up to have a personal computer.
May I ask why? Kiddies in private schools will have computers at home anyway. They can teach themselves computing on their own time. Valuable classroom time should be spent focused on the subject at hand, and only that. My fear is that high tech stationary will simply cause unnecessary clutter and distraction.

Rigil
brianvds (January 03, 2013, 09:31:41 AM):
In 2014 she want the gr 4 and up to have a personal computer.
May I ask why? Kiddies in private schools will have computers at home anyway. They can can teach themselves computing on their own time. Valuable classroom time should be spent focused on the subject at hand, and only that. My fear is that high tech stationary will simply cause unnecessary clutter and distraction.

Rigil

I'm a teacher myself. I shudder at the very thought of the kids in my classes having computers anywhere outside of a dedicated computer class.

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