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What type of I.T to use in school

(5 Posts)
kalpamum Thu 18-Apr-13 19:29:44

My DD has had access to an alpha smart in primary although this was hidden in a cupboard and was not encouraged to use (was not allowed to use for Sat's) Since moving up to high school she has been given a netbook. I have only seen evidence of a few pieces of work been done on it. I have really been trying to encourage her to use it but she has now told me she can't get on with it.
Takes forever to switch on and load up.
Only has access to work on it
Key pad is too small (fine motor skills very poor)
She has to save on a memory stick and go to IT suite in breaks and lunch to print and she not like doing this.

At home she is using an I pad with a wireless keyboard that she says I great.

I think I need to ring school, any one got any experience on what is best to use in a school environment for instant use when she needs to.

BeeMom Thu 18-Apr-13 22:25:04

I would suggest that you talk to the SENCO about what works for your DD. My DS has had a computer since Y7, but the ruddy thing is a boat anchor and slower than a frozen snail. They even deleted the Windows 7 it came with to install Windows XP hmm

After the computer being totally useless (it would not boot up due to "lack of available memory") through half of Y8, at Christmas I took advantage of the sales and bought him his own computer (was supposed to be for home, initially). This year (Y9), however, to ease his frustration, he has just been using his own computer. He doesn't have to play the incompatibility game that way, and can complete work he starts at school once he gets home. This was the easiest option for us - his "school" computer sits on a shelf in the SENCO's office and collects dust. He knows that if it gets destroyed, it is his issue, not the school's (I have already had to replace his monitor after it got cracked - but it wasn't very costly).

Many families are not willing to do this, though - and frankly, appropriate and accessible tech should be available when it is suitable. Perhaps, if you have a word with the SENCO, you'll find that it is well received. Maybe it is as simple (at least for interface) as plugging in a full sized USB keyboard to her netbook in the short term. Well, that, and demonstrating how long it takes for the machine to boot and get to a point that it is usable - honestly, how much time is wasted in a school day waiting for it to "wake up"?

Ask the SENCO to have your DD's netbook handy when you meet - turned off, and stowed away. Start the meeting with it off, and ask her to take the minutes on the netbook. Clearly, this will not be possible, but it should help to demonstrate how difficult it is for your DD to keep up when the tech that is there to support her lags terribly.

If, however, it is not as bad as your DD reports, you'll see that, too. Sometimes, as tough as it is to admit, our kids may exaggerate a problem due to their desire to have something that is preferable to them for a reason they cannot verbalise otherwise. If that is the case, then there is another (likely very valid) reason why she is resisting the netbook, which you'll need to try to tease out.

All the best.

kalpamum Fri 19-Apr-13 10:17:05

I don't think she is exaggerating for something more desirable as she has said she would prefer to back to an ancient Alpha Smart, as it is instant and easier to connect to print.

I feel that due to the support required a I pad with a wireless keyboard would be more suitable:
No copying from the board - Take a photo
Struggles to write homework down and listen to all instructions (very poor auditory issues) She could instantly press record
Has a separate vocabulary book to write words in she does not understand- This is normally in the depths of her bag so she doesn't get it out, no words written in it and had it since December. - I-pad can have an instant note app to store things immediately whilst she remembers.
I-pad has just launched Read and Write Gold App.
Also lots and lots of Education Apps to help support work - MindMaps, Dragon dictation. Many different ways of taking notes.

I am going to speak to the SENCO as I think this a way forward, although in Y7 the amount of long pieces of writing isn't huge it will get harder in the years to come. I am prepared to fund this myself, I am just a bit worried about the theft aspect in school and would need assuring that school would help to try and retrieve if stolen. Although it is a good school and hopefully this would not happen. But in the meantime as I don't think School are just going to agree to something like this, I am going to ask if she can revert back to a Alpha Smart.

BeeMom Fri 19-Apr-13 17:50:33

I typed out this well thought out response, and then the internet took it as a sacrifice to the Wi-Fi gods...

The short version - there are some great rugged cases with straps attached, so she could reasonably have her iPad "on her person" all the time, and an agreement that it is stored in the admin or SENCO office when she can't be carrying it - like phys. ed (the only responsibility you ask them to take for it) might work.

Make sure there are no "fun" apps on the iPad. It can be most confusing if there are distractions, and that will definitely be a reason the SENCO might resist. You can put many levels of restrictions in the settings (for example, on Bee's iPad, she cannot use the internet browser, download or delete apps or make any in-app purchases) and the restrictions are password protected.

I was not implying that your DD was exaggerating her resistance - her arguments sound very reasonable. I look forward to hearing how it goes for you - and if you want any recommendations for cases (it sounds like you have the apps well under control) please let me know.

kalpamum Fri 19-Apr-13 18:10:11

Thanks for your help BeeMom. Phoned the Senco manager this afternoon but too busy to talk. I have to ring back monday.

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