Districts in the States are looking more and more at the cost savings of purchasing Netbooks, but are still buying full-featured laptops and Desktops. Here are the results of a recent survey in order of popularity.
Netbooks – 43%
Laptops – 31%
Tablet PCs – 11%
There are significant potential savings to be had by combining the value of Netbooks with the Software as a Service (SaaS) subscription model. My pretty extensive research so far concludes that most traditional education and productivity focussed client / server installed applications have web-based alternatives – usually as engaging and more akin to what the kids – and teachers – are used to outside of the classroom. Netbooks – its all in the name – are perfectly designed for this type of use. Mix this with the massive time savings currently incurred by having to keep client installed apps running – patches, new versions, etc., etc., and the savings go further whilst classroom confidence can only increase!
Suddenly the traditional look of a school’s network with file and directory servers, backup solutions and so on is questionable.
The savings go further too… The resources typically required to run web apps are far less than what’s needed to run that latest version of your preferred office suite, or graphics package. The Netbook (or any other device) now has a longer useful lifespan.
“But I’ll still need to refresh my kit to support the latest version of Windows!”
Probably. Or you could switch to an Operating System with the clouds in its sights. Jolicloud and Google’s Chrome OS maybe?
If your interested, I’ve written a bit more on this at http://www.f2mke.co.uk/education/2010/09/21/how-much-ict-infrastructure-does-a-school-really-need-to-manage/
I’ve focussed upon savings – well I guess that’s de rigueur? But the above approach lends itself neatly to the nirvana that was the 80s marketing strategy for Braun’s Independent – “anytime, anyplace, anywhere.”. Or, the less favourable “Martini Learning” cliché?
Touchy, feely tablets are definitely up and coming… Since making the extremely nervous and shoulder perched gadget angel encouraged, over sensible angel, switch from my trusty, nothing can beat this, Blackberry Bold to the shiny iPhone 4… I am completely sold! Ever since I have found myself occasionally staring longingly at the long row of silvery numbers that adorn my credit card dreaming of that iPad that could so easily be excused to be mine But that’s just it… Even with Android on the scene and getting better and better, tablets are currently just too expensive. My nearly 3 year old Samsung NC10 Netbook just keeps on powering up, lasting on battery all day and keeping my ICT life relatively pain free…
If you’re still interested, I’ve rambled a little on the practicalities of Smart Phones at http://www.f2mke.co.uk/education/2010/09/01/smart-phones-a-serious-contender-for-everyday-productivity-learning/ and general Cloud stuff at http://www.f2mke.co.uk/education/category/education/cloud/
This article was first published as a reply at http://www.ictineducation.org/home-page/2011/2/7/what-are-school-districts-buying.html