Question: Are laptops durable enough for school use?
The IT Guy says:
The answer can depend upon the type of laptop you are considering and the age of the students who will be using them. Many laptops produced for the consumer market are not designed for school use and are likely not durable enough for educational needs.
Many laptops are now being designed specifically for educational contexts. The Apple iBook (opens in new tab) computer is designed with students in mind, both from a durability as well as a cost standpoint. The Apple 1 to 1 Learning concept is based on the idea (supported by research) that access to technology raises levels of student engagement and achievement. The State of Maine made headlines by purchasing an iBook for every 7th grader in the entire state. Some school districts are doing the same thing, for every child in the district. More information is available on http://www.apple.com/education/onetoone/ (opens in new tab).
Another computing devices specifically designed for the educational market is the Dana by Alphasmart. This keyboard and screen includes the Palm operating system and wireless connectivity, making it an extremely powerful device for a fraction of the cost of a standard laptop.
Laptops like the Panasonic Toughbook (opens in new tab) are geared more toward business and government purchasers, and are not priced or designed specifically for the education market.
For more ideas about laptops versus desktop computers in school environments, refer to a previous IT Guy tip on http://techlearning.com/content/outlook/itguy/2003/5-15.html.
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