Low Cost laptops for students

The announcement of the One Laptop per Child scheme a few years ago – the $100 laptop – stimulated a lot of discussion and debate. Now, a few years down the road, it has also led to an enlarged debate about the right level of provision for students. Do they all need a device, in their hand, all of the time? What is the perfect device? What resources & software do they need access to? What connectivity will they need? (I wonder, if we have reached a ratio of one computer for every four students, are we now almost at the “tipping point” – where we no longer have computers sitting in a room waiting for students to arrive, but instead students each carrying their own device, and linking to learning wherever they are).

I was prompted to think about this again by this story on the BBC News site, reporting on our plans to trial Windows on the XO laptop (as the $100 laptop is now known). The availability of loss cost, hard-disk-less laptops, makes it more feasible that we’ll get to 1:1 access, and it is definitely worth considering what your long-term strategy will be when (not if) you can put a laptop into the hands of all of your students. We’re waiting for more announcements of low-cost laptops running Windows software – hopefully just around the corner. The magic moment is when we match the computing power students need, with the a size and weight that makes them easily portable.

Comments (3)

  1. Steve says:

    Just got hold of an Asus EeePC/RM Minibook today and was showing this around to students, who were really quite keen to start using this. Very favourable comments all round! At £200+VAT, you could lease these at £5 per week for one academic year (40 weeks).

  2. Alan Richards says:

    As a School we stopped buying PC’s a couple of years ago and went down the laptop route. It works well and we are now at abot a ratio of 1:2. Our biggest ‘request’ from staff is battery power and speed.

    Get both of those into a cheap WIndows based laptop and 1:1 becomes a greater reality.

    As an aside ….. Windows on an SD card ????????

  3. Ian Stuart says:

    We are lucky enough to be in the 1:1 game here on the Isle of Islay, Scotland.

    What a differance it makes. UMPC’s (Samsung Q1) are not the fastest but a touch screen tablet PC with OneNote to replace notebooks. With the ability to record audio and video directly into your notes they become much more flexible.

    What we have found is that the sustainability cost has come from the reduction of the Photocopying budget.