Sunday, December 21, 2008

Kids bringing their own laptops to school?

I've been reading some of the discussion about kids bringing their own laptops to school.
One of the reasons for it is that it could save money for the school. If most kids have one, then schools wouldn't have to provide so many labs. (obviously, this is easier in areas where kids can afford their own laptop - but you'd be surprised how many kids do already own one).
Reasons against it have to do with the fact that computers logging onto the school network could bring viruses & other harmful infections. (however, schools have found creative ways to deal with this issue)
For more, here is one article on the topic -
http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=3750169&

Anyway, whichever way a school decides on this issues, parents might like to know that there are inexpensive laptops out there that would certainly handle most jobs a students would encounter.

For example:
The Classmate PC
It's rugged & affordable. Some start out around $250.




Also, I've heard a lot of talk about the Acer computer. These also begin around $300

Lastly, I just noticed another small, affordable notebook at Target. The brand is Asus.
They also start out around $300
Here's a picture of one:










A few things to consider when looking at these affordable notebooks.

1. You want to research it fully to make sure it comes with the software you need. Sometimes adding software can substantially increase the price, so you have to weigh what you need versus expense
2. Some of your options will be using Linux operating system, rather than Windows. You might want to try it out and make sure it's for you (or your child, if you're buying it for him or her).
3. If you don't want to pay for expensive software, consider open sources software. For example, Open Office is a free to download & use. Google Docs is another free, online version to consider. Both of those include all of the most common programs (word processing, presentations, databases, spreadsheets). There are a few more online versions like Zoho. Here are some links to those programs if you're considering them:

Open Office (download and work on your own computer)
Google Docs (online - work online & save online - access anywhere - password protected)
Zoho (online - work online & save online - access anywhere - password protected)

There are more out there, but I've used all three of these and like them.

Anyway, just like any computer purchase, check the reviews and figure out what your child really needs. I'm just trilled there are so many affordable options out there to choose from.