Thursday, March 12, 2009

Netbook Computers for schools

b1's government primary school is in warrnambool, victoria. Our school has opted to take part in a trial program to enable all students to have access to notebook computers. Sounds good.

But i have some thoughts. Just looking at the spin from the government and the company supplying the note books here it makes me wonder what they think the kids are going to do with the computers that they aren't doing already with the technology available to them. It might be a case of the adults being behind the ball again.

Previously there were 4 computers per classroom (although being networked there was often one that was having some time out) which required teachers to manage the access to make sure everyone had a chance to have a go at what they were using the computers for. One thing we have noticed is our son's interest in playing the computer games that were available through the internet at school in their "free time". He does have access to the internet and plays pc games on our computer. It's more fun when you have some little boy energy going on in a classroom.

One of the problems they have had at our school is chewing through the allocated internet hours when the kids play games (especially those that use Flash) and were download hungry (note that's just with 4 computers per class). Is there going to be a monitor on the system to identify the computers that are using up the hours? (Each computer can be identified on the network)

Noone i've spoken to seems to have noticed that the government is now asking us to pay directly for computers although not in full. Its cheap if you were looking at buying a notebook but we weren't. A retail price of $900 has been talked about but here we seem to have the real price of $468. An awesome saving for the government. We already have one computer at home. The kids at our son's level (grade 3) don't currently do homework but there was much talk of what could be done at home? Those without internet connections might feel they have to pay up or have their child left behind. Parents who aren't techno savvy are going to have problems understanding just what is needed.

We've already had the discussion along the lines of when the notebook comes home it goes into the loungeroom along with the other pc until you get allowed access to it the same as our current pc.

I'll add some more to this as i think of stuff.

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