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new yr 7s - laptop or tablets necessary? Which?

(56 Posts)
whickles Thu 13-Jun-13 11:27:50

Our 1st is off to yr 7 in sept. What do secondary children "need" these days in terms of access to laptop/pc/tablets?
Does handwritten vs typed homework vary by school? Or is it all typed these days?
Do homeworks never/sometimes/always require internet research? At what stage do these things become genuinely necessary? Do they take them into school?
What would you say is the best option:
-sporadic access to the main pc and laptop, both of which get used a lot by us as we work from home / and laptop gets taken away a lot.
-cheapish tablet and get a plug in keyboard ( a diy MS Surface!!), but the screen would be quite small
- save up for cheap laptop? maybe a 2nd hand one?
- an extra desktop style pc, but not sure where it would go?
What have you found is actually more useful and less useful?
And money is tight, so looking for a cost effective solution!

AllDirections Thu 13-Jun-13 20:08:34

I bought each of my DC a laptop for their first Christmas after starting year 7. I didn't want them to be using a small screen for long periods of study/homework so I wouldn't have compromised with a netbook and I didn't want to police who uses the family desk top when and for what.

DD1 has just finished year 11 and her laptop is past it's best but it has lasted her the 5 years which was the original plan.

They each have a USB stick and access to the wifi. I don't get involved with homework but I know that they've needed to use VLE/other sites to access homework and return it.

I just checked with the DSs what their school's policy is on flashdrives; no issues at all apparently. Some teachers get shirty if you attempt to give stuff in on the flashdrive rather than print it yourself but there's no restriction on taking it to the PCs in the library to print out there.

I should clarify actually. DSs have access to the family PC and a laptop, but DH and I both have our own laptops and no one touches mine on pain of painful things so there's never any clash with people using them.

coppertop Thu 13-Jun-13 20:25:44

Ds (Yr 8) has a laptop which is kept downstairs at all times.

He types nearly all of his homework, but that's mainly due to his illegible handwriting.

Internet access is often needed for homework tasks but this is available at school if needed.

Ds does use a laptop at school because of the writing difficulties, but this is one that's been provided by the school and is stored there.

hardboiled Thu 13-Jun-13 20:53:15

We receive a weekly report for each child with number of hours they've spent on the computer on each day, which websites they've accessed and what search terms they've entered

Is that the standard Windows parental control or some other software?

whickles Thu 13-Jun-13 21:13:46

Thanks. I knew mumsnet would have great info on this kind of thing... usbstick issues, screen size, software on tablets etc etc.
I'm thinking maybe extra laptop is most useful - even just a simple 2nd hand one initially as it would be mainly for Word and internet searches and they can use the main pc for more complex stuff.

lljkk Thu 13-Jun-13 21:40:36

DS is in y8. Supposedly in top sets. He never uses his ipad for homework. Does use the family desktop for some homework thing maybe once a month.

ThreeBeeOneGee Thu 13-Jun-13 22:10:13

It's Windows Family Safety. We also have Kaspersky which blocks gambling sites etc.

hardboiled Fri 14-Jun-13 08:58:28

Thanks threebee

JenaiMorris Fri 14-Jun-13 09:03:39

At ds's school they can access and save work remotely via the online portal.

Dededum Fri 14-Jun-13 09:06:33

Another good piece of software is K9, free download.

Caught Ds2 accessing Omegle, a horrendous site which allows you to talk and web cam strangers. Meant to be under 18 and monitored, but another click takes you to unmonitored site. Always trusted DS1 (ASD) whose only interest is watching endless utube minecraft and pokemon videos.

Theas18 Fri 14-Jun-13 09:09:03

I would not allow computer access in bedrooms for " homework" in year 7. Shared access in family areas is enough and is easy to monitor so that a 20min home work doesn't take 3hrs due to facebooking etc LOL

The big kids here got there own little medion netbooks at age 15. We felt that " flying solo" then with minimum net nanny type things was about right. DD2 had a lucky break then of course because when DS got his own computer the slightly creaky " kids laptop" became hers by default LOL.

I can recommend a cheap medion laptop ( ours were from aldi) they aren't all sing/dancing/gaming machines but they do the work of research and word processing fine (DD1 is 2nf year uni and hers is till going, though I'm amazed about that)

Theas18 Fri 14-Jun-13 09:09:54

We have K9. Actually DS is 17 now and his laptop still turns off at 11pm.... think I'll forget to remove that as he hasn't asked!

flakjacket Fri 14-Jun-13 09:14:11

DD in Y7 uses her laptop (my brothers old one) for most of her homework. She had to download something at the beginning of the year which enables her to log on to the school system and she does it on there - so no printing or emailing required. She is at a grammar (don't know if that makes a difference).
We too have limited her access to wifi and her devices can only use the internet between 7am and 9.30pm. Laptop is not generally kept in her room (mobile phone and Ipod downstairs at night too).

Dancergirl Fri 14-Jun-13 18:46:29

Before you spend a lot of money check with the school what their computing facilities are like. Most schools are very well equipped and pupils can use them at lunchtime and after school.

Dd is coming to the end of Year 7. She doesn't have a laptop or tablet and hasn't asked for one. Most of her homework has been written. Occasionally she's had a longer essay to do for History or English which had to be typed, she did those at school.

She's had very little homework requiring internet research, mostly it's completing worksheets for various subjects or completing questions from a book.

I would save the money for now and put it towards a laptop nearer GCSE time.

Bunbaker Sat 15-Jun-13 07:56:20

DD's school has loads of facilities for using computers. However, the school is in a rural area and all the school buses leave the school at 3pm, so most of the children have no other way of getting home easily. Also the computers are in a very public area and it is easy to get distracted by other people walking past.

Bunbaker Sat 15-Jun-13 07:56:55

Also, the teachers in DD's school often give links to websites for homework research.

SuperiorCat Sat 15-Jun-13 08:17:22

Varies massively by school. DS school has homework on a VLE but flash drives are ok. However still lots of handwritten stuff - partic languages.

Nearby state secondary in wealthy catchment stipulates which net book they need on starting y7 mandatory costing £300 shock. Not sure how they get away with it but as vastly oversubscribed people desperate to get their DCs in so no one challenges it.

Semi selective single sex state school that we are hoping for DD is all online for homework and parental communications / payments etc.

It's a lot of pressure on families in poverty IMO

BooksandaCuppa Sat 15-Jun-13 08:52:33

Yep, along with house prices in catchment, obligatory ownership of a (personal) laptop is another way in which supposedly comprehensive schools sometimes aren't. The laptop thing not so much now are they are more and more accessible to most people, but ten to fifteen years ago I knew of a couple of schools (out of our county) who stipulated ownership of a certain spec pc as an entry requirement. That didn't half help with their catchment for a few years...

boomting Sat 15-Jun-13 09:54:03

Netbooks work absolutely fine in terms of power. All they will ever need to do is word process, use the internet and perhaps make powerpoints.

If a netbook can get me through a degree with no problems, it can get DC through secondary school.

SuperiorCat Sat 15-Jun-13 11:03:01

Yes it is wrong Books - the catchment hasn't enough children to fill the school (mainly villages) so they take children from the main town too - but it is kind of self selecting as to afford the uniform and bus fares and kit needed then it is only the children of the more affluent parents who value education and are willing and able to jump through hoops to get them there.

JenaiMorris Sat 15-Jun-13 11:13:50

Ds uses the family laptop for now. We'll buy him his own later, Y10 perhaps. Our desktop would have sufficed (10+ years old, running XP) has it not given up the ghost.

They don't need anything fancy.

JenaiMorris Sat 15-Jun-13 11:14:44

Ds uses the family laptop for now. We'll buy him his own later, Y10 perhaps. Our desktop would have sufficed (10+ years old, running XP) has it not given up the ghost.

They don't need anything fancy.

Clary Mon 17-Jun-13 23:43:48

There was a big push at DS1 and DD's school to get you to take up their Ipad offer (very expensive tho it includes insurance hmm) but in fact DD says that when anyone wants to use their ipad in the lesson the teacher says they can't as it's not appropriate! Needless to say we didn't go for it. The DC can use the family laptop fr homework as needed - probably about once/twice a week (yr 7 and yr 9).

I teach MFL and certainly don't expect any HW to be coming to me typed! Well maybe a yr 12 essay...

Isthiscorrect Tue 18-Jun-13 03:49:00

Pleas ensure your child names their USB. In the rush to get to the next class they often get left behind and I am truly amazed at how many we get each day, very few of which we can reunite with their owners.
Likewise they should use headers and footers if they do a lot of work on their computer, and be organised with subject folders etc. And make sure they back it up regularly.

MrRected Tue 18-Jun-13 04:01:29

My DS1 has a school provided tablet - which they are expected to bring to school each day. All the children have them from Year 7 onwards. The school focus heavily on tablet based learning - it's all integrated into their classrooms. Each child has a school email account which they use if they need to send assignments to the teacher or home for parental review.

We pay for this as a part of the school fees and it seems quite standard in Australia.

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