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An iPad or Laptop for Secondary School use?

(26 Posts)
zazas Fri 25-Jan-13 09:59:12

My 11 DS is Dyslexic (although what has been referred to as a stealth sort - slipped through the net until now due to his ability to compensate!) but it is very obvious now when faced with the Year 7 and his secondary school has acknowledged that the use of IT in classes will be of great benefit to him.

So what to get - a laptop or iPad? I was leaning towards a laptop after doing some research but the SENCO teacher feels an iPad will be a better solution - smaller, less needing of a power plug (which will influence where he sits in class), easy to use for basic note taking and great at recording information either in lists or page maker.

Does anyone have any suggestions which will work best? Thanks. (have added this to Special Educational Needs too - not sure where is best?)

zazas Fri 15-May-15 13:44:31

Hi, just realised that I was the OP all those year ago! My son has been using his iPad relatively successfully the last three years. There has been some hiccups along the way and some times when the teacher thinks that he is 'messing' when in fact he is taking down notes but in a very visual way - mind mapping etc! He is definitely the school 'expert' on their use and there has been quite a few children that are now using them where he has helped them to maximise the iPad's use. However we are now looking at a laptop for Year 10 as there are capacity and organisational issues that the iPad causes and with needing to access 2 years of notes, he really needs to be organised. So thanks for the recommendations on suitable PCs as not really wanting to spend at this stage money on a macbook!

Supervet Fri 15-May-15 11:49:58

Look at Hp Stream. Argos do it for £180. It's light, boots up quickly, has sleep mode, long battery life, office free for a year, apps you can play on etc.

We replaced dds tablet with this as it couldn't do what she needed.

PaperdollCartoon Fri 15-May-15 10:14:22

Get Dropbox. Its an app that hosts documents online, so you can pass them between machines. So I have it on my computer and iPad, to get it onto the computer from the iPad I just drop the document into Dropbox and it will be there in Dropbox when I go into it on the computer. You can pass things between different people as well, so my brother sometimes sends me music through Dropbox. Very helpful if you're moving between machines, and gets round the printing problem because you just Dropbox it to yourself on the computer and print from there.. I know this a terrible explanation because i know how to use it but not how to explain it, but worth looking into!

TheUnwillingNarcheska Wed 13-May-15 19:13:55

I use a Chromebook (like a netbook) it is 2 years old now but Dh who is in IT recommends this up to date version of it.

Acer Chromebook PC World

Plus points are

it is a glorified browser so you will not get a virus on it
no maintenance
fast to start up (I literally open it and type a password and I am in)
good battery life
Offline applications - so you can note take without being on the internet

He bought this for me so I didn't keep having to ask him what this pop up meant etc etc. We have had no issues with it in 2 years. It is fantastic. I say this as someone whose Dh has an all singing all dancing laptop for work as he is an IT architect who writes code on his.

noblegiraffe Wed 13-May-15 17:13:47

If you want to use a website with flash content on an ipad, you need to install the free Puffin app, which is a web browser that flash works on.

Scootergrrrl Wed 13-May-15 16:20:07

I have this which is brilliant. It's very lightweight, long battery life and can be folded flat to use as a touchscreen or like a normal laptop. Its also very cheap because it has very little storage but you can use an SD card or memory stick with it.

JustADadHere Wed 13-May-15 16:13:55

My son's school approached us with concerns about his handwriting and suggested a laptop (we opted for remediation before machination) and I did some research and I was quite impressed by the Microsoft Surface 3. Typing and a stylus for when a picture needs to be drawn.

Rugbyscrum Wed 13-May-15 10:41:40

I have just found this thread and hoping to resurrect it as I am researching a laptop for DS, year 6, needs a laptop to carry to school for writing so it must be
- lightweight
- cheap(ish) as in school all day
- be used with a memory stick for printing etc and to store work easily.
- relatively quick and simple to use in class
He is used to windows and Word on old computer at home but doesn't like the iPad for typing.

Any suggestions gratefully received!

flowwithit Sat 02-Feb-13 17:33:58

My Ds has the same sort of difficulties with writing and organising and we have just started a statutory assessment as the school were not helping at all. We have been advised to ask for him to use a laptop and I think the netbooks are good but I can see why an iPad would be good too and even better with a separate full keyboard you can buy I think.

solidfoundation Wed 30-Jan-13 17:58:51

iPads won't play anything with Flash content and it's not easy to print from them, so I'd go for the laptop. I'm using one now in a cafe.

zazas Wed 30-Jan-13 10:01:49

It's a fair point BooksandCuppa - the school has a strict no mobile phone policy (none at all allowed in school) but they have OK the use of his camera to take notes. Obviously my and their concern is that it will be misused at break we are. However it is pass coded and my DS is well aware that if it is misused then it will be removed from him!

BooksandaCuppa Tue 29-Jan-13 23:14:06

... a normal, basic pc laptop is at least as cheap and probably cheaper than an iPad (granted not a generic tablet but definitely an actual iPad)!!! It would be a bit strange for a parent/household to claim they couldn't afford a laptop/pc but have an iPad!!

I think what the teacher is complaining about is that if you only have one, then a pc obviously has more functionality in terms of programmes that are used in everyday life/school/offices etc.

OP, have school agreed use of the iPad along the lines you've mentioned, eg. taking photos of notes etc? It would just seem a little strange since schools are usually so hot on use of mobiles in school (mostly because of the cameras and child protection issues around vulnerable children etc etc). I'm sure you have cleared all bases with them and ds will use it sensibly. I hope he gets a real benefit from it.

CalloftheHaunted Tue 29-Jan-13 23:01:18

GTBABY "It really annoys me when kids say they couldn't do their homework as they only had access to the iPad. "

Surely then schools should provide homework materials that are available across multiple platforms. It is wrong to assume that every household has, can afford, and even wants, a PC/Mac (in which to do homework).

GTbaby Tue 29-Jan-13 22:36:06

looking at your reasons, seems like a very good idea!

zazas Tue 29-Jan-13 22:22:15

In reply to GTbaby - no funding smile My DS slips in regarding testing just above where they would consider him!

zazas Tue 29-Jan-13 22:19:06

Thanks for the replies (got busy and forgot to check up!) We have decided on a iPad after all for the following reasons - if they are of interest although they closely relate to 'neversaydie' experience. In no order of importance... they are less visible (can sit discretely on his table without the barrier of a laptop screen being up), the battery power will last longer and switching on and off is automatic, he will use it primary for note taking (laying out projects etc at home on the iMac), it is has the ability to record sound through either pagemaker or notes, so the teacher can speak into it re homework or instructions, he can use the camera to take an image of the notes from the whiteboard so he can type them up later, there are great apps to help with his memory, sequencing and organisational skills and the school has set up network access for him so he can email his notes to the teachers.

We felt that a laptop would be of more benefit when he was older - Year 10 above, when he could organise his files etc and use it to its full advantage. We would have had to get a macbook as well (we are all mac users here - work & home) and there was the expense to consider too.

He can type quite well but he is not so caught up in using a keyboard (like me!) that he finds the iPad harder to use, although we might consider a keyboard as time goes on.

He is very excited about if naturally - kind of "if I have to have help, then at least it is cool", so I feel that he will engage with it in a positive was from the start...

Although of course we have not added any gaming apps - best to have no temptation for him!

So we will see how it goes - first day tomorrow!

GTbaby Tue 29-Jan-13 00:00:48

So sorry! Just answered based on title n didn't read further post.

I still think laptop.

However being a bit cheeky here. If the SENCO thinks he would benefit from a device should the school not provide it? I know not all SEN depts have enough funding. But worth asking.

It seems you have an iPad? As DC has used one. Do you have a laptop also and he can trial each for a week to see what works? Could the school lend him a lap top to trial before you invest if that is what your doing.

I think it depends on how he will use it. A diary app. Writing notes. Quick research tasks would be easy on iPad.

might also be worth asking teachers what online resources are used to see if they work on an iPad.

Reaa Mon 28-Jan-13 23:58:18

Ipad but get the app that allows you to use flash player on it. Will post what the app is called when I can find it on DHs ipad.

GTbaby Mon 28-Jan-13 23:50:21

Secondary school ICT teacher here. Get a laptop!
It really annoys me when kids say they couldn't do their homework as they only had access to the iPad.
I think it's fine as an extra device. But not instead of a laptop.

TheDetective Mon 28-Jan-13 23:47:06


neversaydie Mon 28-Jan-13 23:46:07

Having read back, I should probably add that DS could already touch type, and is confident with computers generally. He started off with a wireless keyboard, but is now quite happy typing on the Ipad.

neversaydie Mon 28-Jan-13 23:43:25

A different opinion from me, from experience with my DS who is both dysgraphic and dyslexic.

An Ipad is much less bulky and heavy to carry, even if you add a wireless keyboard to the load. But more importantly, the battery will last a whole school day, and it comes on instantly, without the delay and faffing about you have when starting up Windows at the start of every lesson.

There are some nice homework diary apps which help keep track of deadlines etc.

The word processor, presentations package and spreadsheet apps available for the Ipad will all communicate with their Office equivalents, so no problem with cross-compatibility.

For DS 'needing' to use a laptop seemed to be felt to be an admission to his peers that he was having difficulties. Somehow having permission to use an Ipad was seen as a distinct win, and so he was happy to actually use the damn thing!

The only thing that has been problematic has been getting class work printed off (my DS's dyslexia shows up in part as a truly dreadful memory), because you can't use a memory stick. We supplied a wireless printer at home, and the school eventually organised network access so he could e-mail stuff straight to his subject teachers. It took a while to get that sorted, but is now pretty seamless.

meditrina Fri 25-Jan-13 10:48:05

Laptop. My dyslexic DS has one of the very little ones (light, basic), and I think a proper keyboard is necessary.

Might be worth investing in touch typing lessons too, as you need to be able to type faster than you write to get the real benefit.

BooksandaCuppa Fri 25-Jan-13 10:37:33

Laptop. You can't type properly or quickly enough on a tablet. Unless you get a separate plug-in keyboard. Even still: it's just much harder to punctuate correctly etc etc on most tablets (we've had an iPad and two other makes).

Trills Fri 25-Jan-13 10:08:24

Laptop. No contest. Much easier to write on.

You can get small/slim laptops with good batteries these days.

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