Chromebooks

July 24th, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Pati Suailua looked at buying a laptop for his six children to share – now, thanks to a school lease system, he has four in the house.

The Porirua father said some families were too proud to sign up to the $4-a-week lease system but he jumped at the opportunity to invest in his children’s education.

Te Mana o Kupe Trust has already leased Chromebooks to 400 families and, by the end of next year, more than 2000 children from 13 schools in Porirua East are expected to have a device.

One-third of Porirua East households don’t have access to the internet, so the next step was to get community wi-fi set up, trust founder Antony Royal said.

“Ideally, in the next few months, we’ll start building and installing wi-fi so that households with our Chromebooks can connect to it.”

Schoolwork could be completed offline at home, but Royal said online learning should not stop at the school gate for those families that could not afford broadband.

Suailua has internet access but said the big difference with Chromebooks was that his Corinna School children could do their homework online at a price that didn’t break the budget.

A great initiative. The cost of Internet capable devices is dropping. Kids don’t need full computers or iPads.

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11 Responses to “Chromebooks”

  1. Alan (1,087 comments) says:

    These are decent tools for research, combined with a google docs account and some cloud storage you can do a lot.

    Not suitable for everything of course

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  2. coventry (321 comments) says:

    Our local primary school is in the process of moving from a closed ICT environment (Apple) to an open one based off Google Doc’s. Old Apple devices can access pretty much all of the new environment, new (Chrome) devices cost 1/2 the price of ipads. It’s win win for the school.

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  3. woodburner (30 comments) says:

    I have a Chromebook, and it does pretty much everything that my $900 tablet can do, for $450. In many/most cases it is superior to the tablet, and don’t need to bother with exorbitant licence costs for entry-level word processing etc. I have upped the data on my cell and tether it to the chromebook if I need internet access out an about. Again, cheaper than paying for a simcard in my tablet (and the additional cost of the 3g devices)

    Also great as an educational device as there is less ability to clog it up with pointless apps and games. Great initiative.

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  4. chris (647 comments) says:

    Fair points, woodburner. Just a couple of points:

    1) You don’t need to pay for expensive word processing software on other computers or tablets either.

    2) You can also “tether” tablets to phones using your phone as a WiFi hotspot*. I do this all the time with my laptop and our iPad. The iPad even has a SIM slot in it but we’ve never used it. In hindsight that was a complete and utter waste getting the 3G version instead of just the WiFi version.

    (*And probably in most cases with a cable too, although for some reason my MBP wouldn’t tether with my wife’s iPhone using a cable when we were away recently but worked fine using WiFi with both her phone and my Android one).

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  5. rangitoto (247 comments) says:

    “Our local primary school is in the process of moving from a closed ICT environment (Apple) to an open one based off Google Doc’s”

    In what universe is google docs “open”

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  6. SHG (316 comments) says:

    Summary: Windows is dead.

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  7. Lucia Maria (2,417 comments) says:

    Chromebooks could be even cheaper if we could source them directly from the US. For instance, the cheapest on on Amazon is an Acer C720 Chromebook (11.6-Inch, 2GB) for US$179, but they won’t ship them here because of supplier agreements.

    I looked at getting a Chromebook for my 13 year old when he broke his ASUS tablet at the end of term 1 this year (which incidentally is covered by ASUS for breakage for 1 year in the US, but not in NZ), but at $450+, it made better sense to get a full laptop for more, thus making it more versatile. We also bought him a much better case for the laptop so that it’s less likely to break in his school bag.

    The laptop is still alive in Term 3, so far.

    It’s good that kids that would otherwise not afford it are getting Chromebooks, however, the concept that kids break things might change the financial equation, unless there is an insurance option added.

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  8. Bob R (1,370 comments) says:

    Great, so they can all surf the internet and check facebook more easily :)

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  9. Johnboy (16,483 comments) says:

    I’ve worked all my life and donated all the cash I can to my family and yet I can’t compete with the “free” stuff that Pati gets!

    Christ I feel utterly inadequate!! :)

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  10. Johnboy (16,483 comments) says:

    I’m a white male…… almost geriatric. :)

    If only I’d been born black, female, lesbian! :)

    It’s not to late to become transgender I hope? :)

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  11. Harriet (4,967 comments) says:

    You can buy an 8inch Pendo Pad tablet at Woollies or Coles here in QLD for $65. The wife did buy one in the last school holidays as my daughters Samsung stopped working and had to be sent away. The Pendo Pad is fast ect and built with kids in mind. There is no longer any excuse for any school kid to not have a tablet.

    And I can’t understand parents who say they can’t afford the internet – it’s not that expensive.

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