Mobile broadband only / cheap laptop / longterm investment plans?
I read here http://www.homeaccess.org.uk/Get-help/Using-your-grant-things-you-need-to-know/Getting-on-the-internet-/ that ISPs will not benefit from this scheme, it appears only mobile broadband is to be available.
Some papers are running pictures of children using nice laptops that look a bit like MacBook Pros, it would appear the price limit is £400 including all service and support - that's going to be a naff laptop to use all day in school, and most of the night on Facebook.
Lots of £400 laptops will get broken, others will stop working with wear and tear, others will live long and happy 3-4 year lives.
What happens after the 3-4 year lifespan is up? Will students suddenly stop needing the laptop? or are we committing to a longterm scheme of purchasing laptop replacements?
Are these special laptops that last the full length of the child's school life?
How is remote access to the school to be provided?
Most schools have not implemented Moodle or Blackboard, most have little idea what a Citrix is or why they would want one.
Money is rarely available for consultants, training, or in many cases implementation of Citrix.
Moodle and Blackboard require changes in the way teaching staff work, and a commitment from senior management that they are unlikely to have / know they need without external IT knowledge and leadership.
How does this relate to IT provision in schools?
If the requirement that children all have laptops is so great that those from 'poor' families must have government provided laptops, shouldn't 'rich' or 'middle class' children also require a similar or better laptop?
If all children must have laptops why are schools aiming for between a 4/1 or 3/1 computer ratio. Would it not be better if laptops came with children in the morning and when home in the evening?
Schools would have less theft, computers would be part of every child's daily routine, and focus could be put on countywide provision of manage application / software service farms provided via existing JANET or county networks.
All children having laptops is a step forward, paying for other people's children's laptops with my taxes I'm not so happy about - but this is one of the more useful way to spend them.
A joined up IT policy in schools would be good though.