Having listened and consulted with parents, teachers, students and academics, in addition to visiting a number of other 1:1 schools in the past eighteen months, we have decided that the use of a single laptop model is perhaps the single most important factor in the success of any 1:1 programme.
We realise that whichever model we choose some parents will prefer an alternative choice. We believe, however, the educational benefits of using a single model far outweigh the benefits of allowing students to use any model of their choosing. Below you will find the key reasons for this.
Why a single model leads to the best educational outcome for students and families
- A single model is an equal entitlement for all students. All students having the same computer means there is no possibility of envy between students or pressure on parents to buy an unnecessarily expensive model. Students are in an equitable situation, and don’t feel they have inferior opportunities.
- A mixed model situation makes life difficult for teachers in the classroom, distracting them from teaching by making it difficult to quickly and efficiently help students. If teachers are familiar with the version of software, and capabilities of the computer, they are quickly able to move from student to student providing help as necessary. A mixed model environment restricts the educational benefits of the programme and diverts the attention each student can receive in class.
- Teachers familiar with the capabilities and software of the computer can plan and use technology more confidently and effectively. Teachers will be more prepared to integrate technology effectively in a unit of work, thus benefiting student learning.
- It allows us to add value to the laptop package by negotiating a bulk purchase from the supplier, including extended warranty and accidental damage insurance.
- We want a working laptop in front of every student. Learning is disrupted for the student and others when they do not have a working laptop for a task requiring their use.
- We can offer an efficient and comprehensive range of quality on-site technical support, repairs and spare computers, meaning that when students have a problem with their laptop it can be quickly addressed ensuring minimal disruption. We will commit to supporting this model for 3 years.
- We can stock spare identical computers. In an emergency requiring a student laptop to be kept (or sent back for repairs), we can swap the hard disk into a spare unit in 5 minutes, and the student can continue with a working computer.
- We will create a moderated user community where students can ask and answer questions about all aspects of the laptop computer. This is a useful service and a good learning opportunity for students.
- We can test new peripherals, software, upgrades and patches to ensure they work well on student machines and our network before recommending them to students.
Whichever model we choose each year will be because as professional educators we are convinced that it will provide the best educational outcomes for your child at the best possible price. It would be less work for us to leave parents to choose and purchase a computer on their own, and we will face criticism when we choose a model. However, the educational benefits to our students are so important that we have no choice. Please understand our rationale.