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laptops in school

(15 Posts)
nsure Wed 03-Oct-12 12:12:47

hi , does anyones dc use laptops in school instead of writing . my son has just been diagnosed with dyspraxia and this is going to be recommended for him. Do schools dislike this? , and also how easy is it to use for every lesson , and work being marked etc . Do they cause more problems for the teacher and do they really benefit the child ?

creamteas Wed 03-Oct-12 22:31:59

IN my DC's school they use alphasmarts neos. The school prefers this as the only word-process so no chance to use facebook etc and no opportunities of hiding behind a screen.

noblegiraffe Wed 03-Oct-12 23:05:47

They're useless for maths, mathematical notation is impossible to do quickly and diagrams really need to be hand drawn.

Niceweather Thu 04-Oct-12 06:30:22

My son has dyslexia and has recently started using one in school. He says he finds it much easier. To begin with, he was getting it out every lesson but now he just uses it for longer writing tasks. He needs reminding to print stuff out every day - I am sure he's not doing this. His handwriting appears to have got even worse than it was before but I still think that using it is the best chance he has of being able to express himself to his full potential. He really needs to learn to type but school are not offering any lessons.

goinggetstough Thu 04-Oct-12 08:11:33

IME schools don't have a problem with laptops. Schools usually provide somewhere safe for it to be stored, but printing out, learning to type and making sure it is charged is the pupil's responsibility.

niceweather why not find a free online typing program or buy a program like Mavis Beacon - very few schools actually give lessons and if they do it is usually linked to an online programme.

GrimmaTheNome Thu 04-Oct-12 08:19:37

It occurred to me when I read that last post that people with dyslexia may need different help with learning to type. I know absolutely nothing about the subject but a quick google yielded this which might possibly be helpful.

Ingles2 Thu 04-Oct-12 08:25:03

it really depends on the school... Ds2 has just started at a state comp where all yr 7's are working on iPads.
He is also dyspraxic and finding this so much easier, for the first time in his school career, I've started to feel confident he can reach his potential.
I think schools have to be more geared up to accepting word processed work now,but it shouldn't be difficult for your son to type his work, save to a stick and print at home/at the library or email to the teacher...I would have thought all secondaries are geared up for that.

goinggetstough Thu 04-Oct-12 08:58:38

Grimma that is an interesting link. My DS is dyslexic/dyspraxic and he found the Mavis Beacon program very good.

Whatever program you choose it takes time and that is often where the problem can lie. With our DS he was not allowed to take his laptop to school until he could type at a particular number of words per minute (this was well within his capabilities after some practise and not as mean as it may sound). It was his challenge one summer holiday and 5 /10 mins most days achieved his aim.

basildonbond Thu 04-Oct-12 10:41:30

ds2 uses an alphasmart in school for anything longer than a couple of sentences and the main computer at home for homework. The good thing about alphasmarts is that no-one would ever steal one, they're light and the batteries (AA) last for ages. The downside is that you only see a few lines of text at a time so editing and planning is trickier than with a laptop, they also do rather scream 'special needs' so if your child is self-conscious about their difficulties they may be reluctant to use one.

ds has low muscle tone along with dyspraxic tendencies and asperger's and his handwriting is truly terrible - almost impossible to read and writing anything is a long slooooow painful process. He simply can't put down on paper what's in his head without a keyboard and it's made a huge difference to his grades. In the last year of primary school his English SATS marks went up a whole level (from 4a to 5a) as soon as he started typing and at last year's Y7 parents evening most of his teachers begged me to encourage him to type as much as possible

He used Mavis Beacon to get his speed up - and he's incredibly fast and accurate

nsure Thu 04-Oct-12 10:50:10

thx for all replies , I think the alphasmart is the way to go, my ds also cannot put down whats in his head onto paper, but finds it easier on a keyboard , however , his typing is still quite slow ( allthough quicker and less painful when typing). Are these allowed in exams , does anybody know? Will def have a look at Mavis Beacon , thankyou. Just need to get school on board now. I get the feeling a private diagnosis doesnt hold as much weight as a nhs one , which he is on waiting list for

basildonbond Thu 04-Oct-12 10:57:28

yes - ds2 types in exams where any kind of extended writing is required - for him that means anything more than a couple of sentences

the SENCO told us it was good to build up a history of using a keyboard for school work and exams as that made it easier to make a case for using one for GCSEs or whatever they'll be called when ds does them ...

complexnumber Thu 04-Oct-12 11:35:47

Just to reiterate what Noblegiraffe stated earlier. Lap tops and the usual word processing software is not conducive to effective mathematical communication.

Word does have 'equation editor', but this is cumbersome. Excel can draw some graphs, but not necessarily the sort that required.

Sometimes there is no practical substitute for pen/pencil and paper.

(Having said that, our school is on the verge of allowing laptops into all lessons for all pupils)

nsure Thu 04-Oct-12 11:57:37

thx , I know the lap top isnt going to help with everything, luckily math is his strongest subject for now , I dont know how he is going to get on as it get harder and he had to draw graphs , charts , use compass etc, but where he struggles most is long essays , and this is where I would like him to use an alphasmart/laptop , whatever school reccommends.
Does anybody know about the practicalities of using laptops with regards to handing in work after classes, would he be given time to go and print his work off , what about work needs diagrams and lots of writing , I am beginning to wonder how it all works.

nsure Thu 04-Oct-12 11:58:30

work that needs diagrams ,sorry

camptownraces Sun 07-Oct-12 19:37:48

It's probably up to each subject teacher how the written class work should be dealt with - is it to be printed on loose sheets, or pasted in an exercise book; what is the deadline for handing it in. Where can the material be printed off, will he have to miss his lunch to get it done, etc.

In some cases (rare?) the school may have a whole-school policy about these things. The school's SENCo should be able to tell you, in the event that tutor cannot.

Alphasmarts are very practical and withstand drops etc but, sadly, can attract mockery from other kids.

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