Tuesday, 24 June 2008

My colleague Peter Harris, headteacher at Farsley Farfield Primary School, clearly isn't as passionate about the RM Asus Minibook as I am. Unlike me Peter is seriously into ICT in schools and I respect and welcome his views...

"Hi Chris,

Are you on an RM commission or what? As I said before, the RM Minibook appears to have some serious limitations, not least the inability to easily combine with existing networks and the screen size that messes up the appearance of our learning platform. They have also yet to provide a mobile internet 'dongle-type' solution. The Windows version will probably be expensive and the LINUX can't run most of our legacy software.

The TES article was very basic and didn't address these issues. Have any Leeds schools actually tried using a job lot of these? I hear almost nothing strategic from Ed Leeds ICT in terms of really detailed case studies. I appreciate that you have had a positive personal experience but does that necessarily translate at a school level? I have a Mac at home that is the absolute business, but integrating ten into school has been a pain for many of the reasons I suggest could apply to the minibooks. People always go 'Wow you've got a cool set of Macs', but I always explain the pros and cons in practice.

What do your ICT colleagues think of the minibooks, and how do they disseminate their professional opinions to the likes of me? Peter"

For me it is a brilliant little notebook but Peter is right we need some case studies and to find out the real strengths and limitations in a school setting. Anyone out there want to comment and talk from their experience.

1 comment:

Andrew McGlen said...

Hi Chris,

As you will be aware, here at the Derek Fatchett CLC we have been working with the MiniBook and other ultraportable devices for some time. We would defiantly recognise some of the issues raised by Peter. In order to move the agenda on for Leeds Schools we have planned a project that will see up to 50 devices (Including a number of MiniBooks) rolled out to one Leeds High School.

The purpose of this project is to identify and where possible find solutions to the issues we will undoubtedly encounter. In addition, sets of the devices will be used in different ways by different groups of staff and pupils to try and identify the most appropriate/effective solutions. Our aim will be to provide some guidance to schools on the practicalities of implementing this type of device.

We have lots of questions to answer…

Should the devices be issued to students giving them ownership?
Should the school issue and collect the devices each day, each lesson, by subject?
Which subjects benefit most from the use of these devices?
Which students benefit most?
Which device works best with the school network, learning portal, applications?
Do you have to have full wireless coverage in school to make them worthwhile?
How durable are the devices, batteries, chargers?
How is insurance dealt with?
What if a student doesn’t bring their device?
How do we keep the student connected out of school?

…and many many more.

Although researching new technology is only one small part of what we do here in the CLCs we should hopefully be able to provide some useful insight. I would also encourage schools that have questions around the use of new technologies to come along to one of our annual Technology Futures days this July. There are still places left and a good mix of workshops available on both the Primary and Secondary days. Anyone interested can get more details and register online for free at www.leedsschools.org/futuretech