Parents Conference for L4L

June 14, 2009 § Leave a comment

This week we introduced the concept of Laptops for Learning (L4L) to parents.  I appreciate we are focusing our product range on netbooks, but we were unsure whether the term ‘netbook’ was clearly understood and that proved true as the devices were quickly referred to as ‘computers.’

As parents arrived we displayed a powerful quotation from Grace, a Year 7 Digital Leaders and part of pilot project using Toshiba NB100s. Following our head teachers introduction, we offered a simple presentation that focused on four key questions, why, how much, what and when. This presentation was then followed by a healthy and open Q and A.

As we anticipated, the focus was not on the product, in fact I do not think there was a single question pertaining to our choice of product, the Lenovo S10. As we believe we have offered a strong financial package, cost was not a stumbling block either. The issue of hand writing was raised as we had anticipated and we were able to assurances that netbooks were not replacing pens and paper in school, that in our visits to Arenwood and discussions with Perins – pens and paper were still important learning tools.

The two main focus points for a) parents were netbook security / responsibility and b) internet connections at home – at this point the parental attentions turned to learning.  We feel we answered the first question we confidence. We have planned for a dedicated Netbook manager, for a relatively small start up with 200 units.  We have allowed for 5 hotswaps and technical support (in saying that, the parents were looking for 24/7 support – which we just could not offer). It is clear that we will have to write very clean and clear policies on the levels of responsibility we expect from students. This will underpin issues we experience when units are damaged or stolen. I also think we may invest in some form of bold numbering system for the units.

Internet at home, we think we have solved this issue and will be able to allow students to connect at home. So this was easily answered but it is clear the students were keen to define that their home usage would NOT be the same filtered use as in school.

So, overall a very positive step forward and feedback on the night was very pleasing and the feedback I have since received has further confirmed my feelings that we are following the right agenda for students.

Dear Mr Knights

Thank you for hosting the meeting tonight and please thank your staff for a thorough and interesting presentation.

Having raised a couple of issues I am pleased to see the school has considered the risks and thought through a contingency in the event of theft or accidental damage, as best as can be achieved given the venture ahead. Clearly  careful consideration has been made regarding the choice of notebook and pricing. It was pleasing to talk to the governor present and understand that issues of social disadvantage have been factored into the scheme.

Now we must connect with all the parents that did not attend the event – we have done a lot of follow up via the telephone already but this projects success relies on a level of saturtion that impacts the learning in the classroom. The presentation is on our website if you are interested.

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