Best lightweight laptop for school?

(15 Posts)
basildonbond Sat 20-Jul-13 09:43:40

Ds (just finished Y8) has been using an alpha smart for the last few years however a couple of his teachers at parents evening suggested using a laptop instead as he would find it much easier to get a sense of what he'd written if he could see the whole page at once.
He can barely write (dyspraxic) but is an excellent touch typist.

His school won't provide a laptop so we would need to buy one for him so would be grateful for suggestions - we need something relatively light as he'll need to carry it round all day and not so expensive that it would be a complete disaster if it got stolen or damaged.

kitchendiner Sat 20-Jul-13 09:58:44

We just bought our DS (also just finished Yr8) a secondhand HP Mini and so far so good. It's small and lightweight, has a long battery life and it's not too frumpy.

His previous and first laptop was too big, too heavy, frumpy and the screen got smashed at school. I think he got a bit of stick for it from his ICT geek mates.

Only concern about the HP Mini is that the screen and font size are small (although you can obviously enlarge the font size) but seeing the whole page at once is tricky. We compromised on screen size because it needed to be light and small and easy to carry around but the jury is still out on this one as he hasn't had it long.

How long did it take him to learn to touch type?

RussiansOnTheSpree Sat 20-Jul-13 13:15:49

DD1 uses an iPad with a keyboard. She obviously has to use a school computer for exams and assessments.

majurormi Sat 20-Jul-13 16:54:00

My son has an Asus. Great

basildonbond Sat 20-Jul-13 17:25:25

what kind of asus, majurormi?

ipad too expensive russians and too nickable and he's certainly not taking mine to school!!

we had a play with some netbooks kitchendiner but the keyboards and screen were very small .... we finally got ds's primary to give him time to learn to touch type in Y6 (had been on his statement since Y2 but they'd been remarkably ineffective ..) but I had to tell them which programme to get as he needed to have the same one at school and home to avoid confusion. It only took him a few months and he's phenomenally fast now - which is great because writing just doesn't happen for him ....

MothershipG Sat 20-Jul-13 17:44:59

Basil I think ours boys must have been separated at birth! We are in exactly the same position so I shall be watching this thread with interest.

May I also ask what support your DS gets at high school? I seem to have to be constantly nagging DS's school for him to get anything. hmm

middleclassonbursary Sun 21-Jul-13 09:44:56

We have the lightest Toshiba with a very high processing speed and the battery lasts 11 hours hours but it cost about £600. It's also incredibly thin and light and the build quality appears very strong. We used to have one of those little ones costing £199 but the processing speed was rubbish so it took too long to start up the Toshiba you press the button and its on, the build quality wasn't great and the battery didn't last that long so my DC had to always have a cable/be near a plug.

basildonbond Sun 21-Jul-13 14:25:11

Hi mother support is v variable and teacher dependent and I do feel I'm nagging quite a bit

He's had an issue with his homework planner - they're supposed to write down their h/w but it's usually not due in the next day. The teachers usually set the h/w at the end of the lesson and it can be quite complicated. Obviously ds can't type In his planner so has to write which is slow and painful and barely legible and then he's got to pack his stuff up for the next lesson and cos it takes him much longer to get himself sorted he rushes writing his h/w so we end up with instructions like 'do thing' ... Of course 2 or 3 days later he has no idea what that means! At parents evening his geography teacher raised homework as a concern and I explained the problem and she asked if it would help if she wrote the homework on a slip of paper or emailed it to us - this is something I asked for when he started there but it doesn't seem to have got to all the teachers

His MFL teacher is brilliant though - instead of singling him out she gave the whole class individual target cards for each lesson - ds's were to help him with organisation and focus at the start of the lesson and the result is that not only has ds done really well in Spanish this year but the rest of the class has really benefitted too

His PE teacher is a bit of a dinosaur - keeps complaining that he takes too long to get changed and his tech teacher says he takes too long so never finishes projects - he doesn't have any support but considering he has v poor fine motor skills it's probably where he needs support most!

He's a bit of a conundrum to them I think - very academically able, very well- behaved but needs support in some areas when they're really more geared up to help the academic strugglers

RussiansOnTheSpree Sun 21-Jul-13 14:35:26

Sounds exactly like our experiences. Some teachers either never get the messages or decide off their own bat that they will disregard an expert diagnosis because they know best. PE teachers are demons for this. But they are not the only ones.

MothershipG Sun 21-Jul-13 17:46:47

Thanks basil very similar to our experience! Despite me banging on and on about how recording h/w in his planner WAS going to be an issue he still got a couple of detentions last year when something hadn't been done because he had no idea what the h/w was because he can't read his own scrawl. angry It's been a bit better this year.

DS main strength is non-verbal reasoning so he does ok in Maths and is really good with computers and is learning to program. At parents' evening one of the few teachers that spoke highly of him was his IT teacher.

Unfortunately DS's method for coping is to keep his head down, behave and avoid drawing attention to himself, which includes not asking for the help he needs. This doesn't make either mine or the teacher's lives easier!

RussiansOnTheSpree Sun 21-Jul-13 17:51:58

Yes, DD1 would rather die than ask for help. sad

Happymum22 Thu 25-Jul-13 20:54:57

DD recently got a HP ultrabook pavillion which is very thin, almost like a mac, but not as pricey. She found a good deal for it online.
She is at uni and says it is great as she can carry it around to the library etc. and it fits in her bag like a book would.
HTH

Happymum22 Thu 25-Jul-13 20:57:28

Forgot to say- it also turns on and off in seconds! Has been a really good buy.

lily9478 Fri 26-Jul-13 19:02:05

My daughter has a Samsung NP355V5C laptop. It is quite a slim laptop so your son should be okay with carrying it around all day (obviously the lightest option would be a netbook but I agree, they're too small). The keyboard is very easy to type on which is great. However, the laptop's operating system is Windows 8 rather than Windows 7. Windows 8 can be confusing at first but once you've gotten used to it, it's great. I can't remember exactly how much it was but I don't think it was too much for a laptop.

Watching with interest - DS1 is just about to go into Yr6 and is probably dyslexic (seeing EP later this year). A laptop could help with his writing speed and spelling I'm just waiting to see what the EP says.

One thought - would the school let your son dictate his homework into a dictaphone like this
www.amazon.co.uk/Digital-Dictaphone-Recorder-Telephone-Recording/dp/B009T1RWJS/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1375090180&sr=8-3&keywords=dictaphone

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