Over recent years hundreds of schools nationwide have been switching from a traditional ‘school-owned’ model of laptop program to a Bring Your Own Device model (BYOD).
Traditionally, parents would pay a levy ontop of their school fees while other initiatives such as Kevin Rudd’s ‘computer for every child’ provided for state schools. The machines would be issued then replaced every few years.
This ensured that students had access to the same technology as their peers. Assignments that needed to be done on laptops could be done. Research could be carried out. Educational games and other uses the school deemed appropriate were accessible to all.
The switch to BYOD in schools has brought up many issues, Equity is one of them; it’s like a perpetual free-dress day for technology. ‘Mackenzie has a top-of-the-range Macbook Pro, Mum! Why do I have this useless machine? Everything is so slow! I can’t work! It’s not fair!’
The effectiveness of a newer laptop that one family can afford versus the five-year old laptop Dad no longer uses varies greatly. Modern and better quality machines have notably better battery life, better wireless internet capabilities, they’re faster, have more hard drive space and allow students to work across several programs at once.
Even with new machines, parents are not buying the same quality as the schools once did; albeit through no fault of their own. Schools and large corporates buy commercial grade hardware and warranties. Your local retailer won’t generally provide these models, even if their 24 months interest-free finance is appealing.
Retail grade computers are built to a price-point – the components are lower quality and the machines are not designed for the heavy use students require when in late primary and secondary school. Quality aside, it turns out the warranties that come standard with retail models aren’t suited to school environments either.
Brad Dargusch, our Education Manager, offered this advice to parents:
“Avoid back-to-base retail warranties like the plague if you are buying a computer for your child. Especially if they are in high school. These standard warranties mean students are left without computers for weeks at a time, a huge disadvantage in this day and age. Ensure that you purchase an onsite warranty, no matter what machine you end up buying. This will ensure your child has their laptop fixed at home or at school in a timely manner. In my ten plus years selling laptops into schools, I have seen that most kids need a laptop or tablet repaired at least once a year. They’re kids and they’re using these machines all day. It’s going to happen. Accidental damage protection should also be something you consider when purchasing for student-use."
BES have been supplying students with laptops for 20 years and only offer machines that will suit your child’s needs. BES IT Systems recommends asking your school if they have a BYOD portal that will allow you access to school-approved, commercial grade hardware and warranties. These portals can offer parents peace of mind and sometimes even finance options. BES provides custom portals for schools and also has a generic portal available for the public to use: www.besonline.com.au/BESBYOD.
Give us a call on (07) 3340 5555 if you have any further questions regarding your child's computing needs.