Cookies help deliver services on this site. By using our services, you agree to this site's use of cookies.

Blog » Buying Laptops or Tablets for Home Use

Buying Laptops or Tablets for Home Use

Saturday 31st August 2013

If you've a budget, e.g. pupil premium, and are considering spending it on computers and Internet access for students, then read on...

Just remember that if you're spending pupil premium money on such a project, that the results need to be measurable.

According to the charity ‘E-Learning Foundation’, pupils whose families have a computer are likely to achieve a higher grade.

A million children's exam results will be on average a grade lower than their peers because they do not have internet access at home, according to the charity.

The charity fears that the gap between rich and poor pupils' performance would widen unless more is done to ensure that every child can use a computer at home.

Benefits of access to technology:

  • Source of interesting knowledge from the web presented in engaging ways e.g. BBC revision guides, BBC language video tutorials/games, videos etc. (Use of which MUST be actively encouraged by home and school)
  • Means of presenting work quickly and efficiently
  • Benefit from becoming more computer literate
  • Many careers demand employees can use computers

Schools could assess the present home situation in regards to access to technology.

  • Does the family's income mean that their children are unlikely to be bought computers?

  • Does the family want the technology?
  • Does the named student have a suitable computer at home?
  • Does the home have access to an affordable internet connection?
  • Does the home have a phone line, if so, who is the provider?

The above information can be used to help offer families relevant technology support, for example:

  • Computer Loan and/or paid/subsidised internet access
  • Subsidised computer and/or internet access
  • Paid for computer and/or internet access

The proviso is that students make use of the technology for educational gains, and parents take responsibility for their use (including E-safety). Student MUST be able to access the Internet ("The worst thing you can do is give a child a computer without access to the internet." said Lila Ibrahim, general manager of Intel's emerging markets platform group. - BBC News)

Netbooks have been rapidly superseded by tablets. This means it is possible to purchase a Windows 7 netbook for less than £150...whilst stocks last. By all means consider tablets (Microsoft Surface, Google NEXUS 7. Be aware that others may not be quite so good!) and laptops. Remember to consider the availability of suitable applications and how practical they are for school work. There is a wealth of free productivity software that can keep costs down, for example Open Office.

A possible package might cost as follows:

HP 655 Laptop - 6hr battery life£270
Open source software bundle compiled by school£ -
Primus Saver Phone Line & Web Access (inc. activation)£182.28/year
TOTAL SPEND £ 452.28

Of course the costs will vary over time and depends on many factors including purchasing decisions, existing home situations and phone line set ups. I can't imagine any organisation not giving a significant discount in return for buying in bulk and being able to support a worthy cause. Then there is the need for someone to execute, manage and review the success a project.

If you have already implemented a project or are thinking of implementing a project such as this, I'd love to hear from you.