[LINK] NSW Nettops for Students to Keep
Tom.Worthington at tomw.net.au
Mon Dec 1 08:54:34 EST 2008
According to media reports NSW year 9 to 12 students will get a small
notebook computer which they get to take home and keep at the end of
The quotes from the NSW Premier appear to indicate that they will do
a deal on a net-top type small notebook computer and equip the
schools with wireless. There is now a good range of computers with
screens around 9 to 12 inches to choose from. However, there is a
considerable challenge in managing tens of thousands of computers on
a wireless network.
NSW is claiming that the computers will cost $2,245 per student,
including the network hardware. Given that the PCs will cost about
$400 each, it is difficult to see what the rest of the money is to be spent on.
There will be a considerable cost in training staff and support,but
that does not appear to be budgeted for, nor does there appear to be
any plan to provide educational content for the computers so they can
be educationally useful. The assumption seems to be that by giving a
student a computer it will some how magically help their education.
It will be interesting to see what operating system is chosen for the
computers. The education department could save itself a lot of
problems (and some cash) by installing Linux. This would drive the
kids nuts, as they then could not run lots of computer games, but it
might also help drive home the point the computers were for education
(and reduce some support problems).
Also the premier is claiming the laptops will be "... powerful enough
to support all the IT needs of our high school students ...". This is
clearly not true: more powerful computers will be needed for specialized tasks.
It might also be interesting to imagine if the state government did a
deal with a network provider to put a WiMax base station on the roof
of each school, while installing the WiFi. That should be able to
cover most of the population of the state with a wireless network.
Perviously installing a mobile phone type antenna on a school would
attract complaints about radiation, but in this case it could be seen
as a symbol of modern education.
Tom Worthington FACS HLM tom.worthington at tomw.net.au Ph: 0419 496150
Director, Tomw Communications Pty Ltd ABN: 17 088 714 309
PO Box 13, Belconnen ACT 2617 http://www.tomw.net.au/
Adjunct Senior Lecturer, Australian National University
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