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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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Our old school struck up a deal with JB Hi-fi.  Parents had the option to go through them or anywhere they wanted with the specs, price was pretty good and for another $49 or something got 3 years on site repairs at the school.  Think we used it twice in the 1.75 years the oldest was still at the school, to start with we just placed the order and the laptop etc was waiting at the school on the first day for distribution to the kids.  Get your P&C onto sourcing a similar deal, increased buying power and you can all save

New school they get an ipad, think the laptop was a much better option.  But at least the new school puts a bit of emphasis on the kids being able to spell, write and do basic maths which the old school seemed to drop as soon as the computers came into the picture

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1 hour ago, Prince said:

I still don't understand why any primary school kid needs a laptop?  

I think a laptop trolly (which we used to have years ago) to share between 4-6 classes would do.  Then you could still teach them IT stuff without the expense. You just booked when you wanted to use them. It would suit my class. Was a bit of a pain moving the truly between rooms but wasn't expensive for the parents! 

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14 hours ago, Prince said:

I still don't understand why any primary school kid needs a laptop?  

Mate you would need to ask the bureaucrats that question. There is a lot of research to say that they actually inhibit learning rather than enhance it. Everything we do in the classroom is political - some politician or bureaucrat has decided it looks good in the eyes of the public. What we do has NOTHING to do with best teaching practice. As a Primary school teacher, I have to teach the new national curriculum. In my school, I am not only told what to teach, but how to teach it, when to teach it, and in many cases the exact words I need to say when I am teaching it. Teachers know it doesn't work, the results keep going down down down but we have to do what we are told. I spend so much of my school day collecting useless data ...did you know there are more people working in the Data section of the department of education than there are in curriculum? Governments are obsessed by it, and its a waste of time.

Now all teachers are being "accredited". More paperwork. Hundreds of hours of paperwork. I spend more time collecting paperwork for my accreditation than I do teaching kids. I got a letter this week to say I am accredited as a proficient teacher. Thanks for that, Ive only being doing it successfully for 30 years. Oh, and I have to pay $100 to the system for the privilege. This is all so politicians can say that they have weeded out all the $hite teachers. Only problem is that the $hite teachers could still fudge the paperwork. And in 30 years Ive never met one of these underperforming teachers. They are all amazing. Trying to do their best with their hands tied around their backs, with no resources and no time.

Anyway Im having a rant. And Im not supposed make critical comments on the internet. So I will delete this post shortly.

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12 minutes ago, Derny Driver said:

Mate you would need to ask the bureaucrats that question. There is a lot of research to say that they actually inhibit learning rather than enhance it. Everything we do in the classroom is political - some politician or bureaucrat has decided it looks good in the eyes of the public. What we do has NOTHING to do with best teaching practice. As a Primary school teacher, I have to teach the new national curriculum. In my school, I am not only told what to teach, but how to teach it, when to teach it, and in many cases the exact words I need to say when I am teaching it. Teachers know it doesn't work, the results keep going down down down but we have to do what we are told. I spend so much of my school day collecting useless data ...did you know there are more people working in the Data section of the department of education than there are in curriculum? Governments are obsessed by it, and its a waste of time.

Now all teachers are being "accredited". More paperwork. Hundreds of hours of paperwork. I spend more time collecting paperwork for my accreditation than I do teaching kids. I got a letter this week to say I am accredited as a proficient teacher. Thanks for that, Ive only being doing it successfully for 30 years. Oh, and I have to pay $100 to the system for the privilege. This is all so politicians can say that they have weeded out all the $hite teachers. Only problem is that the $hite teachers could still fudge the paperwork. And in 30 years Ive never met one of these underperforming teachers. They are all amazing. Trying to do their best with their hands tied around their backs, with no resources and no time.

Anyway Im having a rant. And Im not supposed make critical comments on the internet. So I will delete this post shortly.

That's OK. We don't know who you really are anyway. 

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it also appears teachers are asked to educate as well as "parent" or pick up the gaps as to what parents are meant to teach their kids. tough gig.  

back on point though, I know we are technology based, but the it seems basic numeracy and literacy is falling behind in this country. maybe the bureaucrats are overcomplicating things? and  I just feel sorry for the many households that probably can't afford to buy their kids a laptop. 

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18 minutes ago, Prince said:

... it seems basic numeracy and literacy is falling behind in this country. maybe the bureaucrats are overcomplicating things?

Mate - the literacy system I am forced to teach is rubbish.

And the latest numeracy fad being imposed on us is just as bad.

The only good thing about being told to teach in a rubbish way is that it never lasts long. Next year there will be an outcry over the rubbish results and the rubbish we are teaching will be replaced by a newer thing, which will look remarkably similar to something we did in the 1990s.

Have to do what the employer says though. This is a good analogy. Im a house painter. You employ me to paint a room for you. I turn up to do the job. Im not allowed to do it my way. You give me a sample pot of paint and a 2 inch brush. Tell me that's how I have to do it, and I must use that stuff. I either do it or find another occupation. Then you complain when the job doesn't even get half done and looks like crap. You then take a photo of the half finished room and complain to the media about how bad painters are. Politicians jump on board and tell everyone they are going to get rid of all the bad painters and get new ones. Paint can sizes will be reduced 30% and brushes will need to be shared from now on .....

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54 minutes ago, Derny Driver said:

Paint can sizes will be reduced 30% and brushes will need to be shared from now on .....

And there will be a maximum room size, but most of the time it will be bigger.

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Ok. Happy to admit,  I have no clue. First of all, is 'drive' the same as 'ram'?

Any of these do?

https://www.jbhifi.com.au/computers-tablets/laptops/hp/hp-stream-11-y009tu-11-6-laptop-with-office-365-1yr-subscription/330176/

https://www.jbhifi.com.au/computers-tablets/laptops/lenovo/lenovo-ideapad-120s-14-laptop/503707/

Thinking I'll avoid the 2 in 1. I thought it might break easier? ?

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'drive' is storage and is non-volatile - it's where you put stuff that you want to keep, even after power-off. Storage used to be drive exclusively, but these days there are more technology options providing storage. eMMC storage is like the storage you'll find on mobile phones.

'ram' is memory and is volatile - it's the working space the computer needs for running programs, etc. Once the power is off, whatever was there is gone.

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Just tell her which one to buy Xcom!

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Of those 2, the Lenovo has the slightly better spec, but it will likely weigh more and you don't get the O365 subscription

If that's your price point, I'd look at:

https://www.jbhifi.com.au/computers-tablets/laptops/hp/hp-stream-x360-11-ab015tu-2-in-1-laptop-with-office-365-1yr-subscription-aqua-bl/350715/

Just a bit of a step up from the one you posted.

Bear in mind with the HP Stream models, you don't have much space to save/install stuff locally, they are pretty much designed to work with cloud storage/apps..

If you can stretch a bit more, I'd be tempted to go with https://www.jbhifi.com.au/computers-tablets/laptops/lenovo/lenovo-yoga-310-2-in-1-laptop-white/421350/

More local storage and better processor should mean better performance, but it depends if you'll need it.

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Oh and 11 or 12 inch screen is going to generally be lighter for your little girl to lug around than a 14 or 15 inch screen..

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I'm gonna say it! Just buy the Lenovo yoga one that Tyno linked, the second one.  Those other ones may as well be sold at Toyworld as they're not much more than that. Jasmine is entering grade 11 next year and will be using nearly the same sort of system as that Yoga (cept hers is a Dell).  The flip over screen will be fine.  

She was carrying a 15" laptop in grade 9 and it was killing her.

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1 hour ago, Tyno said:

Of those 2, the Lenovo has the slightly better spec, but it will likely weigh more and you don't get the O365 subscription

 

If you can stretch a bit more, I'd be tempted to go with https://www.jbhifi.com.au/computers-tablets/laptops/lenovo/lenovo-yoga-310-2-in-1-laptop-white/421350/

 

Not too worried about office. I'm pretty sure the school put that on for us.

2 in 1 - She's not real gentle. Rushes everything. I'm concerned that she's going to try and pull it apart or put it back together too quickly and bugger it. Maybe i need to look at one IRL

1 hour ago, Tyno said:

Oh and 11 or 12 inch screen is going to generally be lighter for your little girl to lug around than a 14 or 15 inch screen..

Yeah, ideally 11"

1 hour ago, goughy said:

I'm gonna say it! Just buy the Lenovo yoga one that Tyno linked, the second one.  Those other ones may as well be sold at Toyworld as they're not much more than that. Jasmine is entering grade 11 next year and will be using nearly the same sort of system as that Yoga (cept hers is a Dell).  The flip over screen will be fine.  

She was carrying a 15" laptop in grade 9 and it was killing her.

Not too concerned about price so long as it's value for money. 

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33 minutes ago, Cranky said:

I'm concerned that she's going to try and pull it apart or put it back together too quickly and bugger it. Maybe i need to look at one IRL

I think this is a similar model:

 

Go to around 1:30 for a look at the hinges and the way it folds.

Mute the "music" there is no commentary.

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2 hours ago, Cranky said:

2 in 1 - She's not real gentle. Rushes everything. I'm concerned that she's going to try and pull it apart or put it back together too quickly and bugger it. Maybe i need to look at one IRL

You should get her one of the "Tough Books" our linies use in the field. They are tested dropping into a 3m deep manhole, and also into a pit full of water. Pretty indestructible. Just what a kid needs.

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11 hours ago, Tyno said:

I think this is a similar model:

 

Go to around 1:30 for a look at the hinges and the way it folds.

Mute the "music" there is no commentary.

Thanks.  I was under the impression that they came apart from the keyboard. ???

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12 hours ago, Cranky said:

 

Not too concerned about price so long as it's value for money. 

Actually, I take that back. .. $550.... she's likely to leave it behind one day in the sports hall or somewhere! 

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7 minutes ago, Cranky said:

Thanks.  I was under the impression that they came apart from the keyboard. ???

Some do, and used to.  The Dell's and Lenovo Yogo's, the screen just flips over to the back of the laptop.  The hinges in both seem pretty solid to me.  Look, I know $550 seems a lot for something for someone as young as your daughter!  Both of ours only got laptops when they entered high school, and shared a desktop till then.  Don't know about your daughter, but my kids are at state schools and had no requirements for byod in primary, only high.

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23 minutes ago, goughy said:

  Don't know about your daughter, but my kids are at state schools and had no requirements for byod in primary, only high.

Yeah. She's in a state school.  It's either $200/yr to hire a school one or BYOd from yr 4 onwards

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1 hour ago, Cranky said:

Yeah. She's in a state school.  It's either $200/yr to hire a school one or BYOd from yr 4 onwards

Private can do whatever they want. But SS's should not have any sort of Boyd requirement in primary!  I'm sure the cost will be a struggle for some families. 

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1 minute ago, goughy said:

Private can do whatever they want. But SS's should not have any sort of Boyd requirement in primary!  I'm sure the cost will be a struggle for some families. 

Yeah. They just miss out and have to share.

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