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Cranky

Laptop needed for 8 year old at school

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Lily starts grade 4 next year and wants / needs a laptop. Any suggestions? Do I just go to Harvey Norman, JB HiFi, etc and ask them or is there something I should know? I can work a computer just fine but don't know anything about their insides! They haven't given us many guideines.  See attached.

Are there any that are better than others or any that I should stay away from?

Do they have pre or post Christmas sales on this sort of stuff? 

BYOD-charter-appendix-B-purchasing-a-device-2.pdf

BYOD-charter-appendix-B-purchasing-a-device-2 (1).jpg

BYOD-charter-appendix-B-purchasing-a-device-2 (1).pdf

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Won't let me see the link, says not for my account????  Anyway, why don't you just right down the spec requirements for us to see?

When you say wants/requires - which is it?  Is it a requirement at the school, or does she just want one?

I'm not trying to be a Dell salesperson here, but we've had a number of different pc's and laptops over the years, as well as some of our family.  We've had hp (high end), toshiba (mid and low end), acer (fil's) and so far the best of the lot for us have all come from Dell, so I doubt we'll buy much else.  They almost always have something on special.

Personally, I wouldn't spend too much money, as by the time she's in grade 8/9/10 she'll be needing another one.  And while I can't see the specs surely they wouldn't be too high?

We bought my daughter a reasonable spec dell 15" laptop when she went to high school, but then they brought in byod and it was really too big for her to be carting around.  So we bought her a cheaper (was $600 or less) 11" laptop with touchscreen that converts to a tablet and she loves it to death - barely touches the bigger one now.  It's an i3 processor, with 4g ram and 128g solid state drive.  But the key is it's small and light and easy for her to carry in her bag.  It's basically at the bottom end of the required specs for her high school, but she's not interested in any info tech subjects so does the job well.  Battery life is the key, and this lasts well for her.

For my son, he always showed an interest in coding and info tech stuff, so while he was only entering year 7, we spent a bit more (about $1200 I think) but got him a 13" i5 with hd screen, 8g ram, 256 ssd etc.  It met the suggested specs for senior kids doing info tech subjects.  But he only has the one laptop (since Jas has two) so we did feel we should spoil him a bit.  It also has a touch screen and converts into a tablet.

I know Dell's will get slammed by many, but just for us personally they have been the most reliable so far.

This is the sort of thing we got my daughter - http://www.dell.com/au/p/inspiron-11-3168-2-in-1-laptop/pd?ref=PD_OC    - ours would have been the dearer of the 3 here, cept I know we only paid $600.  They are always having specials so we just kept our eye on them till the one we wanted was discounted.  Yes you can't try them out (though I think JBHIFI sell Dell, though not necessarily the same price) but we have been very happy with the build quality of them!  I wish my wifes old Dell laptop would die o I could get one of those little ones too but the sucker just won't kick it!

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Most consumer grade equipment will be relatively hit and miss.

goughy has positive Dell experiences, but there will be plenty who say otherwise.

You should get 2-3 years out of most mid range consumer devices though.

Your budget will be the biggest consideration.

There may be some Xmas deals, but Tech stuff is usually more around fixed release schedules.

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Hi Cranky

Im a Year 2 teacher and your letter is the same as we give out at our school. Schools are moving towards using laptops rather than iPads because laptops are better for typing (they have a keyboard). Our school is phasing out our stock of iPads and replacing them with small laptops.

Your daughter does not HAVE to buy a device as your school would have something she could borrow. However it is better for her to have her own and she as she progresses up the grades it will become more and more important. Year 6 in my school uses Google classroom and does the majority of their work on their devices. Might as well bite the bullet now.

The new iPads have an optional keyboard which attaches magnetically so the kids can type. I reckon these are perfect for the younger kids. Don't buy Android as they simply don't work with the Dept of Ed internet. The other option is to get a laptop which she can use for the next 3 years. High schools never tell us what they prefer and tend to change their minds on a whim. So you cant anticipate High School. But take that letter to your Harvey Norman or whatever and look at the new iPads with the keyboards. Or a small laptop. Don't get an iPad mini they are too small.

Edited by Derny Driver

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24 minutes ago, Derny Driver said:

Don't buy Android as they simply don't work with the Dept of Ed internet. 

Not your fault Derny, but this type of thing annoys me no end.

Most recent comparable Android devices will connect just as easily as an iPad, but tech teams don't want to support them.

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1 hour ago, goughy said:

When you say wants/requires - which is it?  Is it a requirement at the school, or does she just want one?

If we hire one through the school it will cost $200 each year. So I figure we buy one and so long as it lasts 3 years we will probably break even. That way she can also use it over Christmas and we can pick the one that she gets. Also if she goes through the school she may have to wait a couple of weeks when school starts back to actually get the thing.

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8 minutes ago, Tyno said:

Not your fault Derny, but this type of thing annoys me no end.

Most recent comparable Android devices will connect just as easily as an iPad, but tech teams don't want to support them.

Agree Tyno - this shows either incompetence, laziness, or bribery from big-tech. I was having beers with the NSW CIO the other day - I'll give him a call and ask WTF, or is this Federal?

What will the device be used for? Is it all browser-based work through web apps etc.? Will they have Internet connectivity? Will they install applications on the device?

I see they mention AutoCAD install, do you have Appendix C, as this would seem to give more specs. E.g. don't splash out on an i3/i5/i7 when a celeron/xeon/pentium might do (or AMD of course).

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Sounds like one of the cheap ones will do the job! Tyno is right regarding Dell, we are about the only people we know who seem to like them.  But they've worked for us. But something from anyone along the lines and specs of what I linked will do the job. But do get one with at least a 128g drive, will probably be a SSD (solid state drive).  With any luck it will last her to she needs something actually speced higher!

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They list iPad and Android but then digress to AutoCAD - sounds like you need to know what software it's going to be required to run.

If browser based use, then that opens up the door to a ChromeBook.

Edited by XCOM!

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5 minutes ago, XCOM! said:

If browser based use, then that opens up the door to a ChromeBook.

This was my thinking until I saw AutoCAD.

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Surly they wouldn't be using AutoCad until yrs 10-12 in technical studies, Seems like it was just an example of software that may be used

Edited by Limited
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8 minutes ago, TenPints said:

This was my thinking until I saw AutoCAD.

Yep - too early in the day for this case, but the upcoming ARM-based Windows notebooks may be a game-changer in this segment... Light, fanless, 20hrs use, 30days standby, Windows-S with Window-Pro options and scheduled support for Win32 applications.

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5 hours ago, TenPints said:

 

What will the device be used for? Is it all browser-based work through web apps etc.? Will they have Internet connectivity? Will they install applications on the device?

I see they mention AutoCAD install, do you have Appendix C, as this would seem to give more specs. E.g. don't splash out on an i3/i5/i7 when a celeron/xeon/pentium might do (or AMD of course).

It will be used for stuff like www.mathletics.com and excel, MS Word, googling.....

 

Appendix C, please see attached

59 minutes ago, XCOM! said:

They list iPad and Android but then digress to AutoCAD - sounds like you need to know what software it's going to be required to run.

If browser based use, then that opens up the door to a ChromeBook.

I have no idea what AutoCAD is!

Ipads are for year p-3, laptops for yr 4+

 

Thanks so much everyone the info!

Screenshot_2017-12-12-14-35-11.png

Screenshot_2017-12-12-14-35-18.png

Edited by Cranky

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from my experience with my kids laptops

  • cheap ones the battery life can be short, and a problem at school
  • buy what the school supports as then the school will help, it will be overpriced but IT support is easier
  • you can buy and throw away 3 windows laptops for the price of a mac
  • one of the smaller mac's has a solid hard drive which lasts better than a spinning hard drive (real tech stuff)
  • smaller machine is better as less weight to carry
  • the protective bags they will try and convince you to buy your child will not use, so just buy a trendy padded sleeve
  • get a backup service at home
  • Apples operating system on a mac is nothing like on a phone or ipad

both my kids eventually ended up with mac's in year 10 after windows machines

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I'm not aware of an iOS or Android version of AutoCAD (presumably LT) so I suspect you are going down the PC or Mac path at that point.

I vaguely recall 'tech drawing' when I was a kid - drafting tables, t-squares, precision drawing tools (which got used as weapons) - so I guess AutoCAD is where this type of thing is now. Good thing they are installing it though, pretty exy otherwise.

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My biggest beef with this sort of stuff is that despite the educational gains, kids at 8 shouldn’t have to be responsible for an expensive bit of kit like that. 

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If the Autodesk stuff doesn't come until Grade 7, forget about that.

Your next laptop is gunna be specced up a fair bit though.

 

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Do the kids still learn how to write with a pen and pencil, or has that been phased out?  Is the spell check disabled on the laptops so they actually have to learn how to spell for themselves?

So potentially, children can use their device in the morning then at school, then when they get home. In my opinion, this is the continuation ( I won't say start, because it's been going on a while ) of what is worse about todays society and it won't improve.

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3 hours ago, softy said:

Do the kids still learn how to write with a pen and pencil, or has that been phased out?  Is the spell check disabled on the laptops so they actually have to learn how to spell for themselves?

Each class is different. Some use them lots, mine not so much. Mathletics gets used as extension work for fast finishers, typing tutor is used as a fast finisher, excel is used for graphing in maths, word is used for assignments (with spell and grammar check turned off), powerpoint is used for projects, Google is used for bits and pieces, an online learning site is used to access lessons that have been taught if needed when absent or for revision, Word is used when taking notes as optional to writing SOMETIMES.

They still have a handwriting lesson everyday. Spelling tests are done with paper and pencil as is most maths.

On average, in my class, they wouldn't be used for more than 1hr/day.

3 hours ago, Tyno said:

I think it's just that teachers are so lazy nowadays.

Isn't that right Cranky/Derny/et al :D 

There are some VERY lazy teachers.  Sorry, but I don't fall into that category 😛

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