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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!

PandaG Thu 13-Jun-13 11:33:58

DS is Y8, in a comp. Yes, internet access is needed for some homeworks, but there is availability at school for those without access at home. Don't think any homework has had to be printed rather than handwritten, but DS usually choses to type.

We bought him a laptop fopr Christmas this year, partially for homework, but tbh for leisure use too.

Laptops and netbooks etc are not taken into school, though DS borrowed a netbook from school to use when he broke his wrist and could not write - he did bring this home.

I think rather than having his own computer, access to one (and a printer) is fine.

JRY44 Thu 13-Jun-13 11:36:31

Some of the software used by schools for homework (mymaths, SAMlesrning etc) do not run on tablets as they require flash. A laptop is the better option.

ouryve Thu 13-Jun-13 11:39:37

All you child needs is occasional access to a computer and no more. My niece convinced my SIL that she needed a laptop for school back in Y5. This was, quite frankly, bollocks and she used it for no more than facebook and online stuff.

whickles Thu 13-Jun-13 11:40:01

And if a laptop is the way to go, are cheap ones (like netbooks) rubbish? What would you say is a realistic minimum budget?

whickles Thu 13-Jun-13 11:42:01

Ouryve -yes, I can imagine me stressing about this, and it ending up getting used for iplayer and youtube!!

ouryve Thu 13-Jun-13 11:46:53

We have a Dell netbook in our laptop arsenal - it's old and slow, but works just fine. We just use it when we go away, now, and it happily runs chrome and libero office.

ouryve Thu 13-Jun-13 11:50:43

The Dell outlet is a good place to look if you do go for a new laptop, btw. We buy all our stuff from there and have never had any problems.

DC have access to a PC and a laptop, the internet and a printer; all of which are in the living room because I'm incredibly unfair and don't allow internet access in the bedrooms smile If they didn't have access at home though, they could use the computers/printers at school - it's just more convenient for them to do it at home. I think schools (good schools anyway) have to be aware that not all pupils will have access to technology (or quiet places to work)

BooksandaCuppa Thu 13-Jun-13 15:35:06

It will vary considerably by school.

Ds just finished year 7 at an independent and their homework is very traditional, lots of writing and exercise book work, the same at the grammar I work in. Ds has needed computer for maybe 4 x internet research (though we do have lot of books) and maybe 2 x poster/powerpoint, plus quite a lot of online maths stuff (which they can do at school if they want to stay behind for 20 minutes).

At my neighbours' dc's comprehensive, though, they do a lot of word-processed stuff and powerpoint kind of things, though. They recommend child has their own laptop!

HSMMaCM Thu 13-Jun-13 16:28:41

We bought DD a laptop, which she has used a lot, but she could have used the school equipment. She doesn't take it to school with her. She is in yr 9 now and would dearly love a tablet. She needs Internet access for quite a lot of homework.

LIZS Thu 13-Jun-13 16:59:28

We've found access to a pc/laptop is sufficient. dd also has a Kindle Fire so can do some work via that. ds got a laptop in year 9 and has increasingly used it.

bizzey Thu 13-Jun-13 17:17:37

DS1 is coming to the end of yr7 and has used the laptop loads for homework

Remember to get a memory stick as well..ICT home work required this and it is handy for putting research stuff on and not keep starting new files ....

Mind you I don't have any tablets just lap tops ...oh ds is here ......

Well he said "unless you are good at typing on a tablet laptops are easier "

But i would say ..not neccessarily he needs a lap top ..but a second one would make life easier for .

What a garbled mess !!!! grin

ThreeBeeOneGee Thu 13-Jun-13 18:27:00

DS1 is coming to the end of Y8 and has managed fine with access to the family laptop and printer. He certainly doesn't need his own computer. He uses a memory stick to transport documents to and from school, but luckily no viruses yet.

hardboiled Thu 13-Jun-13 18:42:56

Oh yes I like the no internet access in bedroom approach Mrsdmitry. Is that a rarity? Who else out there with dc is secondary has the same rule? OP sorry am I high jacking...I am in the same situation as you!

Bunbaker Thu 13-Jun-13 18:49:32

JRY44 is right. Access to a laptop is better than a tablet due to software issues. DD is in year 8 and often uses Powerpoint as well as Word documents.

"He uses a memory stick to transport documents to and from school"

That is a no-no in most schools, so please don't assume you can do that. A lot of DD's homework uses the school's VLE (virtual learning environment) portal so whatever your DC uses be prepared to be able to access this.

Mutt Thu 13-Jun-13 18:50:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Mutt Thu 13-Jun-13 18:51:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ThreeBeeOneGee Thu 13-Jun-13 19:20:28

We have two shared computers between the six of us; one desktop and one laptop. Both on the same network so anyone can access their stuff from either machine. Printer which can be used from either. Although we have wi-fi, all of the children (including the 13 year old) only use the computers in the study, which is open plan with the dining room.

Each child has to log in under their own account; all accounts have various restrictions except our (administrator) account.

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.

The 13 year old has a smartphone but it only gets internet access through wi-fi. He has restricted access to our wi-fi so he can use his phone to access the internet (with controls that we've set up) from anywhere in the house until 9pm.

ThreeBeeOneGee Thu 13-Jun-13 19:21:34

Sorry, all that was in answer to hardboiled's question.

ThreeBeeOneGee Thu 13-Jun-13 19:29:10

For those schools where no memory sticks or storage devices are allowed, how do the children move half-completed homework between home and school (Powerpoint presentations etc.)?

DS1 regularly needs to do tasks both at school (for example if working jointly with another child or two) and at home. The school provides a memory stick which the children are expected to bring to school with them every day.

Do other schools manage this by having some sort of online storage for children's half-completed work, so they can access it and update it from both home and school?

HSMMaCM Thu 13-Jun-13 19:30:59

It's definitely a good idea to limit wifi access. DD keeps her laptop in the living room.

Bunbaker Thu 13-Jun-13 19:33:58

"For those schools where no memory sticks or storage devices are allowed, how do the children move half-completed homework between home and school (Powerpoint presentations etc.)?"


DD's school don't want the pupils importing viruses onto the school's network, but it is difficult to police, and some teachers just turn a blind eye.

PowderMum Thu 13-Jun-13 19:43:00

Both DD started in Y7 with access to the home PC and my laptop if I was at home and not using it.
Now in Y9 and Y11 they both have there own laptops and tablets which they use constantly, as there are no restrictions on use here as I trust them. Certainly they need them daily to complete the work set a school and sharing would be impossible especially as we are now in GCSE revision.
They start on homework and research (or YouTube) as soon as they get in from school (well before DH or I get in) and will often be still working or playing at bedtime. Neither have TV in their rooms as they generally are studying or watching catch up on their devices.
Plus if they used my laptop how would I spend hours working on mumsnet every night?

ThreeBeeOneGee Thu 13-Jun-13 19:45:59

I hadn't thought of email. If each child has a school email account and their own home email account, then I can see how this could work quite well. Unless the files emailed from someone's home are corrupted by viruses... smile

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