Qld education department snaps up 14,000 Acer Windows 8 tablets

Qld education department snaps up 14,000 Acer Windows 8 tablets

Summary: The Windows 8 tablet rollout is among one of the biggest in the world, according to Acer.

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The Queensland Department of Education, Training and Employment (QDETE) has procured 14,000 Windows 8 tablets from Acer.

The Acer Iconia W701 11.6-inch tablets are 3G enabled, and will be supplied to a number of high school students to enhance their learning experience, according to QDETE CIO David O'Hagan.

"The digital revolution has created remarkable opportunities for enhancing student learning, and devices with built-in 3G allow our students to stay connected wherever they are," he said in a statement.

According to Acer, this is the largest rollout of Windows 8 in Australia, and one of the biggest in the world. This isn't the first big contract the vendor has scored with the QDETE. In November 2011, Acer was tasked by the QDETE with supplying 65,000 notebooks to Queensland schools under the National Secondary School Computer Fund.

The Microsoft Australia education director said that using the Windows 8 tablets will enhance students' skills when they enter the workforce.

"We're setting up Queensland students with the skills and experiences that are going to be essential for their careers," he said in a statement. "Familiarity with the Microsoft technology is important, given its broad use in business around the world."

Despite high hopes from Microsoft, the response to the Windows 8 operating system has been tepid since launch. Buisnesses have been reluctant to adopt Windows 8 tablets, but the operating system has had some success.

In November last year, the Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry said it was looking to deploy Windows 8 desktops and tablets across the agency.

Topics: Windows 8, Government, Government AU, Mobility, Australia

Spandas Lui

About Spandas Lui

Spandas forayed into tech journalism in 2009 as a fresh university graduate spurring her passion for all things tech. Based in Australia, Spandas covers enterprise and business IT.

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25 comments
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  • Tragic

    "Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM". These days it's Micro$oft.

    An excellent 10" Android tablet costs $450 1-off, and has available all the free apps any student could need.
    splatman
    • Windows 8 offer much more than Android

      The difference is very clear, one is a phone OS adapted for tablet and the other is a desktop OS adapted for tablet. Windows 8 is a multi-user, desktop grade OS which provides both touch and mouse/keyboard interface. Not to forget a full productive multi-window desktop environment and applications like Office.

      Use it for sometime and the difference is crystal clear
      soulxfer@...
      • This is so very true

        I can say the same wasting 1500USD on android tablets over 3 years. I am now happy with 1 solid tablet that can operate the way i am comfortable.
        mychitterman@...
        • Good work!

          Obviously you now own an iPad.
          uniteach
    • Yes indeed!

      Lets supply our students with cut down back to the future consumption devices!
      "shakes head"
      martin_js
      • Talking about

        Android tablets of course!
        martin_js
      • Um, most of education

        Is consumption. We don't give students computers so they can learn computing, we give them computers so they can learn literature, math, science, history, etc.
        baggins_z
        • I'd agree with you

          When it comes to primary school, but according to the article it seems these are for secondary school, by that time they should be learning how to use and understand a computer! Not to mention most secondary school I know expect there student to create, not just consume.
          martin_js
    • Not toys

      Students needs real tools.
      warex3d
  • there is more to this is then just apps and RRP

    I remember having a meeting with another Education department just last year about many the massive problems that have occurred with the rollout of laptops and other devices to their students and teachers.

    The biggest of the issues was the support cost, and not just tech support issues. The need to provide charging points for laptops. Repair costs and software updates and policy management had taken the education departments completely by surprise. Hell imagine the cost of recharging 50,000 laptops during business hours? How many power points are there in a call room? What happens in summer time when your attempting to charge and air-condition class rooms on overloaded circuits?

    The tech support and hardware repair costs were massive as well. The Education Department was telling us of rooms overflowing with damaged hardware caused by kids maltreating it.

    Then add on to this the fact that much of the hardware provisioned to our kids is hardly engineered for the sort of use that has occurred. Remember these machines are run constantly for several years at a time, 4-5 hours a day during class and several hours during the evening. The number of times these poor cheap laptops batteries cycle alone is massive let alone the sort of crap that builds up in the OS. How many times a year do these machines get rebuilt?

    Like military has realised, the idea of buying off the shelf consumer grade equipment is a particular stupid one. Long lasting hardware that can handle tumbles and constant use is something that engineers need to build to. A iPhone, Acer or Samsung phone is simply not engineered to handle the sort damage that they suffer.

    These Acer tablets. How long do you think they'll last till their unusable. I've smashed four smartphones (over 5k in hardware) over the years. I don't think these tablets have a chance in hell in lasting a year or two. Then what, what is the QLD Education going to do with 14,000 tablets that all probably need a rebuild? What are you going to with screens scratched to buggery?

    I don't disagree with the idea that our children need technology however much greater thought has to be given on how this will work. Especially policies. In a complex environment like a school where each school is given a huge amount of freedom on how they provide their services the idea of a one sized fits all system policy environment is again a particularly silly one.

    Hell many schools have no way of applying group policy to their machines, be it IOS, Android or WP8 (Phone or otherwise)?

    Then leveraging this hardware to compliment and improve the learning experience all the whilst ensuring that the kids aren't using it for bullying, hacking and non-scholastic purposes is a mindbogglingly complex one.

    I really think the Education departments need to pool their IT funds together, a super education group that provides Support, Hardware and end-to-end intergration and policy management for every layer of the education system.

    There are so many things that need to be tracked. From the Financial billing side of the fence to the operational needs it just seems crazy that we have six states and six different education groups trying to do the same thing.

    The system needs to be flexible so the extra state, each school can define their needs. The catholics can have policies that restrict access to sexual health information the public schools can have polices that restrict access to religious health information and so on.

    Last but not least they need to start building school rooms with the ability to lock down this hardware and ensure that that it can be charged and managed during lesson times.

    Until all this happens I think the laptop and tablet buys from Australian Education departments is a shortsighted waste of money.
    chugs@...
    • What timescale are you suggesting?

      If I understand you correctly, you are firmly against the purchase of consumer-grade tablets for students until a central bureau (for want of a better word) is established, having oversight of all aspects of IT procurement and usage.

      What kind of timescale are you thinking of for discussions and consultations about such a bureau, negotiations with interested parties, its establishment, and its initial steps towards the design and commissioning of custom-made tablets (of a sufficiently robust nature) for deployment in schools and colleges?
      professorjohn
  • 14,000

    At least these can be controlled through group policy.

    14k tablets is not much to share across the whole of QLD. I'm assuming these are going to be doled out for specific niche purposes, unlike the school laptops - eg school outings.

    Personally I think tablets will be garner more respect by kids over laptops when it comes to looking after them.
    Pachanga-4184c
    • Pachanga-4184c...what is the object here

      to learn literature, math, science, history, etc or just be the cool dude or hot bitch? or maybe they can watch a F**k**g movie or play stupid games?

      Who controls what they are using them for...............

      stupid world we live in today
      Over and Out
      • Tough one

        But seeing as this is the department of education, I'm assuming the object is to assist with teaching and the department of education will control what can be done with them.

        I could see all sorts of uses if, for instance, these were used for pupils to record their day trips - photos, voice/video recordings, onsite notes you name it.
        And yes, I could also see them watching videos on the bus trip that prime them for the place they're visiting.

        And any teacher knows, games are a very good way to teach certain subjects and keep the children engaged. I'm guessing you're not a parent, let alone an Australian parent and haven't heard of Maths Mentals, for instance.

        I'm also curious that you should refer to female schoolchildren as "hot bitches". You need to go and seek some professional help about that before you get arrested.
        Pachanga-4184c
      • Bit of a no where post don't you think?

        If you were talking about Android or iPad's you might have a point but a full on Win 8 if they set them up correctly, they should be able to avoid movie watching and have the games disabled. Heck! They could do that15 years ago with Win 95/98 so surely they can do it with Win 8!
        martin_js
        • Wrong.

          Once again you are WRONG. It's very easy to block kid using windows 8 family protection feature. Don't just talk if you haven't used windows 8. Everybody will laugh at you.
          alcskid
      • Gee whiz

        Is that the sound of a Linux dummy ricocheting around the room that I hear?
        KRP1950
      • You haven't taste it.

        That's because you haven't taste the new family protection feature on Windows 8. It's truly very useful. It will give full report to the parent of what your children goes and activity hours. You can blocked or restrict the hours. You don't need any additional app. Very good improvement on windows 8 for Child protection.
        alcskid
  • kids get Windows 8

    Love it and can use it.
    hubivedder
  • Qld education department snaps up 14,000 Acer Windows 8 tablets

    At least they chose Microsoft Windows even if it is on a tablet.
    Loverock-Davidson