Hamble College started tracking netbook developments in 2008 following the launch of the Asus EEEPC the previous year. After a small scale pilot with 20 Toshiba NB100s in 2009 and a very reassuring visits to Arnewood School and Perins School we launched our ‘Laptops 4 Learning’ initiative last year. We started in Sept with the Lenovo S102 – generally a sound product but we have had some concerns over the care package. With the 2010 budget agreed, our action plan for Sept 2010 moves into purchase mode and this year our front runner is the Samsung NB30 (Samsung narrowly missed out last year with the NC10). We were attracted to a) the rugged case, b) upgraded processor, c) the strong battery life of up to 8.5 hours and d) the ‘Instant On’ capability. Not for the last time, the unit is only one factor to consider and most certainly should not be the defining factor.
First, we have learnt an awful lot from our first year experience and from other schools visiting Hamble College. There are a number of key issues for schools to address, but these will influence each school in a unique way. Some of these are presented below but in no specific order;
- Specifications and operating systems are important but should not be the defining factor
- A resilient wireless is essential or learning potential diluted
- Service and your relationship with the unit vendor must be open and reliable
- Accidents will happen, confirm your accidental damage timeframe before communicating to parents/guardians
- Units need to be day to day resilient
- You best asset is the level of service you can provide, parents will not understand or appreciate this unless you emphasise it
- Technology will redefine how learning happens in the classroom, prepare and support the staff
- Technology will change the way the VLE is used in / out of lessons
- Licensing is expensive, fully exploit Open Source options / dual products eg Microsoft Office and Open Office
- Policies underpin the success of the programme, make sure that all school stakeholders are involved
- Be prepared to listen to unique cases – eg Twins in the the same year group, students join mid term
What is NEW for Sept 2010
We have selected the Samsung NB30 (sub £200) and a indirect supply chain but maintained our cost structure at £240 with the school contributing £60.
- New Accidental damage policy
- Reduced licensing costs (shop around)
- We have planned and upgraded whole school wireless, this is going to be a significant investment
- Moved the IT Services office to a more central location
You are more than welcome to contact or visit Hamble College or we would be more than willing to discuss our L4L programme with you if it helps.