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entropy
28th March 2010, 08:57 AM
Next Tuesday I am going to a P&F meeting where they will be discussing getting tablets for grade five and above from next year.

The only tablet that has been featured in the notice is a Dell, which looking at the dell website is heavy, clunky and can't make up its mind whether it is a gutless laptop or a tablet. Oh, and costs around $3,400 each. I do not know what the school can get it for, but I assume it will include some sort of service agreement.

They are supposed to be identifying alternatives to the Dell. I note that Brisbane Grammar is making a big deal about using just such a dell system, which has the ability to let the teacher see what the kids are dong on each of their tablets.

So do I go and say "Let's wait a couple of months and see what the ipad can offer?"

These Dells come pre-installed with one note, which I guess is supposed to be the killer feature for tablet use in schools. So is there something equivalent in the iphone already? Is there likely to be something like it in the future?

Because on price and weight alone, i would have thought a mix of desktops and ipads would be a better solution than that clunky Dell POS.

DagrtheSnide
28th March 2010, 09:40 AM
First you need to detach yourself emotionally from the Mac vs PeeCee subject.

You then need to find out what it is they are trying to accomplish, what are their goals.

Then find the best hardware/software combination that currently exists within their price range and comes with support that will fill their needs.

vecsty
28th March 2010, 09:41 AM
So do I go and say "Let's wait a couple of months and see what the ipad can offer?"

And if you asked, why is the school using this technology in the first place ?

My guess is if the school is looking at a Dell then the reason why the iPad + custom software is even a alternative may be lost on them.

lord
28th March 2010, 10:34 AM
Also, does Dell have some contract with schools? Might make it cheeper for them (maybe i'm missing the point though).

denwol
28th March 2010, 11:03 AM
Also important to look out what other technology the school is running.
Its not only the initial outlay of the machine that you need to take into account.
Running costs, including professional development for teachers, usually cost up to 50% of the outlay of the machine in general, a lot more taking into account the initial outlay of the ipad.
Of course, without the pd to teachers, the tool is fairly useless whatever you get.

applebyte
28th March 2010, 12:05 PM
Does anyone do any cost-effectiveness analyses when considering buying such expensive pieces of technology?

What is the outcome that is being measured? better student scores?

There is way too many distractions these days. Nothing beats pen and paper and some good discipline. I must be getting old, but I would not want my child distracted with all these novelties.

/end rant

Phunky
28th March 2010, 12:23 PM
Calculators have lead to kids not knowing how to do arithmetic in their heads
Hate to think what the reliance on tablets will lead to. Reliance on spell check perhaps, loss of penmanship, reliance on the autocomplete and predictive text features

marc
28th March 2010, 01:42 PM
Calculators have lead to kids not knowing how to do arithmetic in their heads
Hate to think what the reliance on tablets will lead to. Reliance on spell check perhaps, loss of penmanship, reliance on the autocomplete and predictive text features


Sextants have lead to kids not knowing how to plot a ship's course in their head.
Hate to think what the reliance on the fountain pen will lead to. Loss of feather quill penmanship, reliance on the non-dip features?

Skills required to live change with time. Language changes.

I can't catch and kill my meals with my bare hands. My handwriting is atrocious. Does it matter? No. I can type faster than I'd ever be able to write. Is reliance on calculators an issue? No. To solve complex problems, it's important to think at a higher level and at a quicker pace. Calculators and computers let you do that.

Phunky
28th March 2010, 02:06 PM
Higher level and quicker pace? Cmon, when the kid behind the counter cant work out how much change I should get when buying something, thats a problem. Im not asking him to solve a calculus problem, all I want is the correct change....
Oh thats right, everyone uses credit cards now for everything dont they? Yay for technology

tcimac
28th March 2010, 02:11 PM
No doubt this (http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2010/02/asus-eee-pc-t101mt-multitouch-tablet-display-new-pine-trail-chip/) will hit AUS shores soon too

marc
28th March 2010, 02:11 PM
Higher level and quicker pace? Cmon, when the kid behind the counter cant work out how much change I should get when buying something, thats a problem.

Skills like that require practice. If the person serving you doesn't need to calculate change manually often, then of course they won't be good at it.


Oh thats right, everyone uses credit cards now for everything dont they? Yay for technology

What's the problem? Technology has reduced the need to manually calculate change. Yay. That's a good thing. I think realtime spell check and predictive text has helped me improve my spelling over the years.

Hopefully this doesn't come across as rude, but what do you attribute your poor grammar to? Do you blame technology for that? (My point is that it might not matter to live a happy and successful life.)

applebyte
28th March 2010, 02:21 PM
marc, it seems you are very pro-technology for education

how do you justify the need (or benefits) of tablets in school? please be pragmatic with your response

just want to have a meaningful discussion and will be more than happy to be shown that there is a place for tablets in education... if this is off topic, I do apologise

zeddie2001
28th March 2010, 03:26 PM
marc, it seems you are very pro-technology for education

how do you justify the need (or benefits) of tablets in school? please be pragmatic with your response

just want to have a meaningful discussion and will be more than happy to be shown that there is a place for tablets in education... if this is off topic, I do apologise

The need of tablets in school is quite simply because they offer a better educational experience. How so?


For most students, typing is quicker than handwriting
Tablets allow for a more interactive experience (Quizes/pictures etc.)
With quick access to the internet, tablets allow students to access the most up to date information
Quick access to the internet can encourage students to explore areas that interest them (obviously the counterpart to this is the problems introduced re. distractions, but this can be solved both in the technology and with proper supervision)
A tablet is a flexible device, instead of having 1 exercise book for spelling, 1 for maths, 1 for comprehension, a single device can accomplish all this, with instantaneous marking. While this will never replace a teacher, it is still an ideal teaching tool, allowing the more efficient kids to work ahead, and the slower kids to get the help they need from the teacher.
Most homework tasks/assignments will be completed on a computer anyway, why not use the thing in general coursework?
Teaching students to interact with a computer for work is much closer to how they will be expected to work when they enter the workfoce/highschool
Tablets are more portable than laptops/desktops
Tablets allow students to draw graphs/diagrams right on the screen, negating many of the impractical aspects of taking notes on a computer as opposed to paper/pen
Using computers in class makes it easier to assign readings without making the kids take home heavy textbooks (maybe not so much a problem for younger kids)


That's just off the top of my head, and obviously would require significant training for the educators we would rely on to maximise the potential of these devices.

Also, Marc wasn't arguing that tablets specifically should be introduced into schools, he was arguing that to NOT introduce technology into classrooms just because people who don't understand these technologies consider them novelties or distractions is ill-considered, so while I've answered your question, I don't think you've addressed Marc's ideas.

EDIT: Apologies to the OP for highjacking this thread!

entropy
28th March 2010, 06:27 PM
Zeddie I don't think the tablets in question are more portable than a typical laptop, in fact I think they look a bit more clunky.

I have many concerns similar to others on this thread. They seem to be going with these Dells because, well, they have Dell desktops in the library and about three in each room. I am not sure how tech savvy the principal is. That said, if it appears the best tool for the job atm, well that will be what I support. It just seems that with the arrival of the ipad and other forthcoming tablets things could rapidly change, from an ease of use, portability and price perspective.

I really want to quiz the principal very carefully on what he is trying to accomplish, and how these tablets will help him to achieve these goals. I fear there might be an element of trying to look high tech. I have very little faith in the average middle aged Mrs Teacher being able to get the most out of whatever they end up with. At the moment Jimbo has a cool dude of a male teacher on his second year out (the only male among 50 odd teachers) but I suspect Jimbo won't have him when the tablets actually get deployed.

And that is before we even start on the cost of these things. I would expect the service contract would add at least a thousand, regardless of what type of computer it is.

I suspect the kids will be the ones leading the way. So they will need watching, the little buggers. My nine year old figures out my administrator password with annoying regularity. Which reminds me, the Rudd Government are absolute idiots if they think they can effectively filter content. Tools.

I do like the idea of finding out exactly what is expected for homework. At the moment Jimbo is a bit hit and miss with identifying the bits he has to do each night. Not sure an expensive tablet will necessarily solve that though.

will
28th March 2010, 06:37 PM
The joy of the SES funding model that is still in place!

My Public School could not afford a tablet, little alone more computers for our students.

Our problem?

All our kids live in the town that they go to school in!

Oh to benefit from the SES funding model!

Gosh!

nibbles
28th March 2010, 06:43 PM
Does anyone do any cost-effectiveness analyses when considering buying such expensive pieces of technology?

What is the outcome that is being measured? better student scores?

There is way too many distractions these days. Nothing beats pen and paper and some good discipline. I must be getting old, but I would not want my child distracted with all these novelties.

/end rant

My maths classroom just got a smart board installed(one of these) (http://www2.smarttech.com/st/en-US/Products/SMART+Boards/Front+projection/685ix/default.htm) last week, I know it's new but when we have it turned on everyone is more engaged in what's going on and sometimes all we want to do is play games on it but even that is good because they have maths games that everyone is a part of, I try barley use my calculator unless i'm doing something long or with large numbers such as 215 to the power of 12 (I can do it on paper but time is limited and I don't want to spend 10 minutes doing a long multiplication). We get laptops next term from ruddy, they will make things easier as we have set up a share folder on the smart board so that when the teacher saves something she has written up we can save it instead of writing it up, even with the most advanced technology we are given restrictions as to how often in particular subject we can use them, for geography it is only for research and stuff.

iPirate
28th March 2010, 07:59 PM
I must be getting old, but I would not want my child distracted with all these novelties.

Do you want to see a page of "paper tetris"? I drew out each frame where the block moved down one block-level per frame, and I could either move it one block left/right or turn it 90 degrees between those frames. Don't think that a lack of computer means a lack of distraction, procrastination always finds a way.

gikku
28th March 2010, 08:22 PM
My son, 9, in Year 4, has a project due tomorrow as it happens.
Two of the requirements;
Must be completed in Powerpoint.
Must be handed in on a USB stick

Pen, paper? Dodo?

areal
28th March 2010, 09:06 PM
To solve complex problems, it's important to think at a higher level and at a quicker pace. Calculators and computers let you do that.

I think this is a specious argument. Calculators and computers aren't required to study high-level maths and physics, for example. It's more important to know how to solve problems than to actually solve them. If you're just talking in general about keeping up with modern life etc. then I think most kids are sufficiently exposed to technology outside of school hours.


The need of tablets in school is quite simply because they offer a better educational experience.

I very much doubt this. In theory maybe, in practice no. I'm not against computers in schools, but it needs to be shown that they actually help students learn rather than just displace more important subjects from an already shallow curriculum.

As for the OP, I guess I agree with others that you should know what the school wants to achieve before you can recommend anything else. I'd be interested to hear about what goes down at the meeting.

kabyn
28th March 2010, 09:38 PM
If you're just talking in general about keeping up with modern life etc. then I think most kids are sufficiently exposed to technology outside of school hours.

I think the further that life in school becomes disconnected with 'modern life' then the more students become disengaged from what they are supposed to learn. If the processes by which they learn, rather than the content, are never to be used outside of a school context, then what is the point of learning them in the first place?

areal
28th March 2010, 09:52 PM
If the processes by which they learn, rather than the content, are never to be used outside of a school context, then what is the point of learning them in the first place?

What "processes" are you talking about?

BigAzzA27
28th March 2010, 10:57 PM
For most students, typing is quicker than handwriting
Tablets allow for a more interactive experience (Quizes/pictures etc.)
With quick access to the internet, tablets allow students to access the most up to date information
Quick access to the internet can encourage students to explore areas that interest them (obviously the counterpart to this is the problems introduced re. distractions, but this can be solved both in the technology and with proper supervision)
A tablet is a flexible device, instead of having 1 exercise book for spelling, 1 for maths, 1 for comprehension, a single device can accomplish all this, with instantaneous marking. While this will never replace a teacher, it is still an ideal teaching tool, allowing the more efficient kids to work ahead, and the slower kids to get the help they need from the teacher.
Most homework tasks/assignments will be completed on a computer anyway, why not use the thing in general coursework?
Teaching students to interact with a computer for work is much closer to how they will be expected to work when they enter the workfoce/highschool
Tablets are more portable than laptops/desktops
Tablets allow students to draw graphs/diagrams right on the screen, negating many of the impractical aspects of taking notes on a computer as opposed to paper/pen
Using computers in class makes it easier to assign readings without making the kids take home heavy textbooks (maybe not so much a problem for younger kids)


That's just off the top of my head, and obviously would require significant training for the educators we would rely on to maximise the potential of these devices.


Let me address some of these points:
1. Typing for most students is not quicker than handwriting. For many students, they are poor at handwriting and typing. I find from my experience that is easier for students to write with pen and paper.
2. Tablets will only allow for greater interactivity if the teacher is competent with the technology. To get the best from these devices, a significant amount of PD is needed for middle to senior aged teachers who are not digital-natives.
3. Quick access to the internet is useful but only at times. Many teachers don't teach the students how to use the internet effectively for conducting research. Look at reports that students produce that are not referenced, have large chunks copied from websites, and are using images that they don't have permission to use. Students are very quickly losing the ability to find information in books - yes, those things in libraries. They aren't gone yet.
4. A tablet can be a very efficient tool. However, it takes hours and hours of work to produce high quality resources such as self-marking work. I am aware that there is lots of tutoring programs available but they are next to useless if the kid doesn't understand what they are talking about.
5. Graphing on the computer is an excellent tool. However, students MUST learn how to graph using graph paper first. I was still graphing by hand in my third year of university maths and physics. Students learn the mathematics when doing it by hand and only need to use the computer for inclusion in reports or when doing some kind of mathematical investigation where numerous graphs are tedious and take away from the point of the lesson.
6. Tablets are not more portable than laptops. A tablet PC is about the same size as an equivalent PC except that you can swivel the screen around and fold it flat.
7. I am finding in the classroom that it is useful having the textbook on the computer. What I find annoying is that it is hard for students to have an electronic worksheet or task on screen, with another program on the screen as well because the laptop screens are too small. Students have textbooks. They can be heavy. So what? They need the exercise anyway.

For the record, I am a senior maths and physics teacher. My school has unveiled our 1 to 1 program to year 10 and 11 this year and it has not gone off without many hitches. As a young teacher, I am enjoying having the computers in class because I am aware of what they can do and what they can't. I am finding though, that for my subjects, we are currently not being supported by publishers for electronic textbooks (maybe the iBookstore will change that) and we require specialist software to do what we need to do. These obviously come at a substantial cost and when a minority of staff are not competent with the technology (some struggle to send an email let alone use something like Wolfram Mathematica) it is hard to justify the costs.

I strongly recommend that you quiz the principal and IT staff about every little thing. Dell does have deals with education departments, but so does Apple. Schools will always look for the cheapest option to them to fit in with IT support and current technology, even if you think it isn't the best. The 1 to 1 laptop programs being implemented across the country will have success stories and failures. Rest assured, schools are providing PD to staff, teachers are generally doing their absolute best to do what they are capable of doing, and parent support of well planned and executed programs goes a long way.

If you would like to know more about how a school is using laptops in the classroom, please PM me and I'll be more than happy to answer any questions (within reason).

glacierdave
29th March 2010, 08:00 AM
Decisions like these don't (usually) happen in isolation. They rely on an ecosystem of supporting technologies to work.

I suspect we're in the infancy of getting good use from these types of technologies. I've seen class management systems demonstrated at conferences where the ideal-world scenario makes them look compelling.

However, what often fails to get mentioned during such demonstrations are the underlying assumptions being made...

For example, they're relying on a decent quality (often WiFi) network to connect devices. They're relying on the back end software to manage the student computers (be they tablets, laptops or desktops). They're relying on having the IT support staff to keep it all running properly. They're relying on the teachers using the stuff to understand how to make effective use of it. They're relying on the content (or content creation tools) being available to offer great uses of the technology.

Just giving a kid a laptop and expecting it all to work out isn't a solution.

There ARE great uses for technology in education. There's also poor uses for technology in education. In the end, ALL technology (be it blackboards, text books, calculators, computers, etc) are not the problem. It's using them appropriately.

Unfortunately, that's also the challenge.

Few teachers (that I've dealt with in my area) grasp how to appropriately use the technology. The curriculum doesn't really seem to develop an understanding of the basics that can then be applied in new situations.

Leaving that aside you then also have to deal with the administrative side of things - you have a budget for computers and if you don't spend it, you'll get less next year. So, you spend it, even if you didn't really need it and the decision maker doesn't really understand how best to use the money that's available.

Still, that's hardly unique to the education system (or government for that matter).

glacierdave
29th March 2010, 08:01 AM
Oh, and for the OP, should they wait for iPad?

That depends. What are they aiming to get out of having each kid have a device? What support infrastructure is in place? Do the intended applications function on an iPad? Could the intended functions be adapted to function on an iPad?

marc
29th March 2010, 09:18 AM
marc, it seems you are very pro-technology for education

I'm not really pro or anti anything in education. My point was that times change and the need for certain skills can dissipate. What was important 20 years ago (handwriting, long division) may not be as relevant today.


how do you justify the need (or benefits) of tablets in school? please be pragmatic with your response

I'm not sure there is a need. If anything, it's probably too soon to claim they'd be a better tool for learning than a laptop. I guess only having one app open at once (iPad) is probably a positive. And they're probably cheaper too.


I think this is a specious argument. Calculators and computers aren't required to study high-level maths and physics, for example. It's more important to know how to solve problems than to actually solve them.

So you're saying theory is more important than practice?

Anyway, my point wasn't that calculators are required, but they're certainly the norm in industry. I can't think of a case where you'd be working and your boss would force you to solve a physics problem without a calculator or computer. In fact, I can't think of a case where you wouldn't have a calculator or computer with you... so why learn something a way that you'll never use again?


If you're just talking in general about keeping up with modern life etc. then I think most kids are sufficiently exposed to technology outside of school hours.

Shouldn't education be relevant and engaging? The more students are forced to do things that don't relate to life or possible work, the more you'll lose them.


I very much doubt this. In theory maybe, in practice no. I'm not against computers in schools, but it needs to be shown that they actually help students learn rather than just displace more important subjects from an already shallow curriculum.

Sure. I agree with that.


As for the OP, I guess I agree with others that you should know what the school wants to achieve before you can recommend anything else.

That'd go for anything in life. Can't make a recommendation without a brief.

areal
29th March 2010, 01:42 PM
I can't think of a case where you'd be working and your boss would force you to solve a physics problem without a calculator or computer. In fact, I can't think of a case where you wouldn't have a calculator or computer with you... so why learn something a way that you'll never use again?

For simple calculations there may not be much difference between knowing how to do them by hand and knowing how to do them using a calculator. But solving more complicated problems involves defining the problem, planning what to do, trying different methods, checking that the results are plausible, etc. In some cases this may be aided by a calculator or a computer, but it's not yet possible to eliminate the need for logic, etc. These abilities need to be built up over time, and I think that it's easier for students to develop them when they can see their thoughts, mistakes, and techniques laid out on the page in front of them. Relying heavily on calculators and computers early on just obscures the process and makes it seem like the answer is all that matters. Put another way, once you know how to solve a problem by hand it's trivial to get the answer using just a calculator, but knowing how to get the answer using a calculator isn't necessarily the same as understanding what's going on behind the scenes.

That said, I think programming involves many of the same skills I am talking about, so there is probably an argument for more of that, but not instead of old-school maths. For this the hardware requirements are pretty basic, however, and devices like the iPad might not be ideal.

Anyway, it's certainly possible to argue that since many people may not need these skills later in life they shouldn't be taught in school. I guess that is part of a larger argument about the purpose of school and what aspirations we have for our children.

I'm not an expert on education so I don't want to say too much. I actually find it hard to articulate my opinion on this subject—because the concepts are nebulous and because it's more of a gut feeling that I have rather than a reasoned position. Also, I'm definitely biased since I'm a physicist who wishes he had paid more attention in physics class.

entropy
29th March 2010, 09:35 PM
Oh, and for the OP, should they wait for iPad?

That depends. What are they aiming to get out of having each kid have a device? What support infrastructure is in place? Do the intended applications function on an iPad? Could the intended functions be adapted to function on an iPad?

At present they have a couple of desktops in each room and a computer room with about twenty Dells in it. Not sure what the high school part of the college has. The computers are on a wired network, but they do have a wireless network as well, but it is for the teachers atm.

They have an IT guy, but as is the usual case with these networks, it is some geek parent that originally got them set up.

I do not know what are the intended functions. I suspect that initially an ipad will not have the same functionality, but I would be surprised if this deficiency was not corrected rather rapidly, at least before the new year. It would be only an app away, and it is just too obvious a use. A HP slate or some touch screen Asus netbook would still be heaps cheaper than the Dell in question and most likely run the same software as the Dell.

Mrs Entropy found out a bit more today: Despite the Dell being described in the newsletter as an option under consideration, it has already been chosen. The so-called 'consultation' that is to take place tomorrow is actually telling us all about the wonderful new world of tablet computing using the marvelous Dell XT2.

I can smell the snake oil one day early.
The thing is, I probably would not be half so annoyed if the newsletter had said: "We are partnering with Dell to bring tablets into the classroom. Come along and hear how". No, there is some kind of pretense that they are consulting with the parents. I am going to chew his ear off afterwards.

bdude
30th March 2010, 03:23 PM
Higher level and quicker pace? Cmon, when the kid behind the counter cant work out how much change I should get when buying something, thats a problem. Im not asking him to solve a calculus problem, all I want is the correct change....
Oh thats right, everyone uses credit cards now for everything dont they? Yay for technology

I'm good at maths and it can take me a while to work out change at work.

marc
30th March 2010, 03:38 PM
Anyway, it's certainly possible to argue that since many people may not need these skills later in life they shouldn't be taught in school. I guess that is part of a larger argument about the purpose of school and what aspirations we have for our children.

Without going too far off topic, I'm surprised cooking/home economics and (practical) accounting aren't pushed harder at school. Eating and being smart with money are vital skills I'd rate far above solving simultaneous equations.

Back on topic: Anything that makes learning more interesting and fun is probably worth serious consideration. If that means giving students "toys" like iPads etc, then I think it's a good idea :)

I wanted to use the school's synth (a Juno 6), but wasn't allowed to, because the school wanted me to learn a few years of piano first. Placing obstacles like that in the way of experiencing new things seems a little daft. We were encouraged to experiment and program games on the BBC Micro computers. I learned so much from doing so, and am now working on software as a career. Maybe I wouldn't have without access to the Beebs?

Seakip
30th March 2010, 04:16 PM
Tell them to wait for the Courier.

bacco007
30th March 2010, 06:08 PM
For simple calculations there may not be much difference between knowing how to do them by hand and knowing how to do them using a calculator. But solving more complicated problems involves defining the problem, planning what to do, trying different methods, checking that the results are plausible, etc. In some cases this may be aided by a calculator or a computer, but it's not yet possible to eliminate the need for logic, etc. These abilities need to be built up over time, and I think that it's easier for students to develop them when they can see their thoughts, mistakes, and techniques laid out on the page in front of them. Relying heavily on calculators and computers early on just obscures the process and makes it seem like the answer is all that matters. Put another way, once you know how to solve a problem by hand it's trivial to get the answer using just a calculator, but knowing how to get the answer using a calculator isn't necessarily the same as understanding what's going on behind the scenes.

What scares me is that school leavers reliance on technology is resulting in them accepting the result that a computer will give to a problem as either the only answer or that it is 100 percent correct.

I've dealt with a few trainees who have very few problem solving skills, relying on the data that a computer spits out blind

nibbles
30th March 2010, 06:35 PM
To the topic of dell tablets, NO If they handed me one I would go no and sell my iMac to buy a macbook. I feel willing to learn more when we are using our smart board in maths so do a lot of other students, we get our work done faster because everyone is more switched on and it is easier to recognise how to use a new formula etc. We get laptops first week back next term and for a lot of the stuff we do it is available on the TaLe website so if we are away we can download it and do it at home, Our maths text books are available on CD and we will all be getting an electronic download as soon as one of the CD's are found.

Dell tablets probably aren't the best solution, I don't know what is though

entropy
31st March 2010, 08:33 PM
Ok, a report on last night's meeting>

lower primary are going to rely on smart boards.
upper primary are getting shared netbooks (enough for three classes and there are six)
lower high school laptops to take home
upper high school tablets to take home



All machines will be Dell. It will be a windows platform
All computers will have MS office and norton 360
Parents are urged to wait and buy computers through the school so everyone has the same
school will provide all support
internet access will not be restricted. Students will be taught appropriate internet access.
yourtutor.com.au access is already available. This requires flash



The meeting overall wasn't too bad but the above was the only meat in the meeting. The rest was an attempt to get parents excited about the possibilities with no real info at all. I have heard from another source (one of 7 affiliate schools introducing the same program) it will cost each student $160 per term over three years, including support, after kevie dollars (yourtutor is is already in the school fees).. I have three kids

The principal apologised to the macheads in attendance (which from the groans seemed quite a few, including the teacher sitting beside me) that only windows will be supported. Ironically the presentation was done on a macbook.

I suspect this decision was made months ago, and before the new paradigm in tablet OSs was becoming clearer. Before the first tablet in this program hits the ground next year there will be tablets running iphone OS, android, windows mobile 7 and win 7. For much much less cost.

I intend to email the principal about his risk management strategy, including flexibility for platform dependence if better options emerge, and the depth of teacher training (while they are all windows software, there are actually three hardware platforms with different capabilities in the above plan).

To me it seems the upper high school will be getting something that would be better in primary school, while not getting a laptop with decent grunt which I would have thought would be better for those grades. I might ask him if they have fall back, or alternative strategies depending on tech change over the next year.

areal
31st March 2010, 09:08 PM
Ok, a report on last night's meeting...

Did they explain what they were hoping to achieve with all of this? Do most parents seem to support the plan?

entropy
31st March 2010, 10:07 PM
Did they explain what they were hoping to achieve with all of this? Do most parents seem to support the plan?

They were emphasizing increasing the skill set of the kiddlies. The tech is supposed to be a means to the end. To enhance the interaction between the teacher and the students, to allow students to be more creative, to be more useful in the workforce etc. As I said, a big sell job.

Most parents looked like they had more questions than answers.

marc
31st March 2010, 10:17 PM
MS Office and Norton 360... EIK! Doesn't sound like a good choice to me.

Oh well. What can you do.

jack112006
31st March 2010, 10:18 PM
I am in a similar situation, except that I am the student. Our school recently decide that it was going all Mac. When it was first announced, it was claimed that all students in year 9 and 10 (which I am in) would be getting MacBooks. Thanks to KRudd's flawed plans, only year 9 students will be getting them, and younger students will be getting them when they hit year 9. There was a bit of a shitstorm over them going back on their word, but we have now gotten over that.

One topic that was constantly raised was that us year 10 students could receive iPad's in place of MacBooks, as the cost of an iPad was equivalent to the schools portion of the MacBook cost.

The school ultimately decided against it, as they wanted a common platform for all students. However, at least they know what they are doing. I know that they have been planning this since mid-2009, and they seem to have a very well thought out plan to really use their new found abilities. The have promised us iTunes U content, which will be nice to have, and we now have shiny new Wi-Fi network, which we are all using on our iDevices. The school has also suddenly caught up with the times and is now encouraging us to use our iDevices/Blackberrys etc. as a calendar rather then the physical diary they give us.

So while my lack of a school funded iPad is a bit annoying, the other benefits are still quite substantial.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, the school is Marymount College on the Gold Coast.