Victoria schools begin netbook trial

Victoria schools begin netbook trial

Summary: The Victorian Government announced today that it would begin a trial program providing students with netbook-style laptops, with schools set to receive more than 10,000 machines from Lenovo and Acer.

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update The Victorian Government announced today that it would begin a trial program providing students with netbook-style laptops, with schools set to receive more than 10,000 machines from Lenovo and Acer.

Correction: we originally reported Lenovo's figure of 10,400 netbooks with only 400 to come from Acer. The true split, according to a Department of Education spokesperson, is 8000 from Lenovo and 2000 from Acer.

Had the netbooks been provided at retail value, the roll-out would have been worth just over $9 million; however Lenovo has provided a bulk discount to the Victorian Government, offering the netbooks at a cost of $468 per device.

Of this cost, the government will cover $312 per device, while parents are expected to pay an additional $52 a year over three years, totalling $156. The schools will retain ownership of the netbooks.

Both Lenovo and Acer are taking part in the trial, with Lenovo supplying 8000 IdeaPad S9 netbooks and Acer supplying 2000 Aspire One netbooks, giving 10,000 netbooks in total, according to a Department of Education spokesperson.

The Lenovo IdeaPad netbook (Credit: Lenovo)

The netbooks supplied by Lenovo will be an IdeaPad S9s (a 9-inch version of the S10). The current netbook offering from Acer is the Aspire One.

The netbooks will be delivered to students in years five through to eight, and students will be allowed to take them home after school. Parents will be given the option to purchase the netbooks after the trial, which will last for three years.

Included on the netbooks will be Microsoft Office and Encarta along with 28 other educational applications and will run on Windows XP. In addition, the netbooks will come with a protective cover, power cord, a six-cell battery, a warranty and insurance.

Premier John Brumby said in a statement that the trial would cover schools throughout Victoria.

"This netbook pilot will open the door for thousands of students at more than 344 schools in regional and traditionally lower socio-economic areas to keep pace with all the benefits of modern learning," he said.

Topics: Government, Government AU, Hardware

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20 comments
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  • Who owns the unit?

    "remaining $588 expected to be covered by parents" to purchase the unit and then "Parents will be given the option to purchase the netbooks after the trial, which will last for three years" ... and what value would that be after 3 years, better option would be to get your $588 back, especially when sitting in the "lower socio-economic" position.
    Who covers theft, especially when outside of the common home/school insurance boundaries?
    Fine print anyone?
    anonymous
  • ummm

    Are you sure this is part of the Fed Govt's PCs in School program? I don't think it is.
    anonymous
  • Fair point

    hi there,

    thanks for the feedback -- our bad. We incorrectly flagged this as part of PCs for schools, which it's not. The article has been corrected.

    Cheers,

    Renai LeMay
    News Editor
    ZDNet.com.au
    anonymous
  • ...and what are they going to do with them

    So the have netbooks... What are the aims? How does this fit in with the education plans? What if the families already have computers for their kids? Details anyone?
    anonymous
  • 28 applications

    Doesn't anyone have concerns about 28 applications bringing *any* netbook to a grinding halt?
    anonymous
  • 28 applications

    lets give kids more credit than that. I can't imagine kids/teachers would leave 28 applications running, and if they did they will quickly learn to close ones down
    anonymous
  • OS?

    i heard that units were running something different to XP.
    anonymous
  • 28 applications

    Sorry, I should have clarified. I know that they wouldn't leave that many open, but wouldn't pre-loading them with that many (some of which would have autoloading system tray/background) hog the memory, increase boot time, etc?
    anonymous
  • Dell PR

    hi everyone,

    in the interests of disclosure, I feel it important to note that Vuki Vujasinovic works for PPR, a public relations agency which represents Dell.

    Kind regards,

    Renai LeMay
    News Editor
    ZDNet.com.au
    anonymous
  • As above

    Just confirming the above. To clarify, I'm not discussing the selection of vendors for the trial -- simply the Victorian Government's decision to pre-load so many applications.
    anonymous
  • OS?

    you heard correct
    anonymous
  • hmm... interesting

    As a parent of a grade 5 student and a teacher of Grade 5/6, I am going to be very interested to see how this works out. I'm very excited about having access to them in my classroom. There's so much you can do. Reading the latest info, it seems they have all bases covered for the finer details but my biggest concern is the minimal provision of tech support. We struggle already and the 2 hours a week they're offering is a little under the mark.
    anonymous
  • 28 Applications

    As an ICT manager in a schools system, unfortunately I have learned the hard way not to give credit to teachers and students to do sensible things when it comes to technology.

    These machines are slow now (10 seconds to load any App is looong), running a cut down version of an outdated OS (XP Home). How well will they perform in three years? Their 'value' in that time will be 0.
    anonymous
  • Let's look at the facts

    I have read the comments and chuckled a little to myself. The OS will be XP not Linux as was hinted at. Using Linux would clash with the XP systems already in use (keep it simple). XP is still the more popular OS not out dated at all. The netbooks choosen will easily handle 28 pre-installed applications, very few will autoload to the system tray, they won't all be sitting chewing up your RAM, 1GB is more than sufficient for XP Netbooks. The lifespan of any computer averages 3 years although some use theirs way beyond that. I do believe however after 3 years they will be of no monetary value (depreciation) $588 is a ridiculous amount to cough up after 3 years and it would never happen.
    I will be honest and say I sell and service computers so I know my Netbooks and to say the ones choosen are not good enough is a little off the mark. They will more than meet the students educational needs. They won't be for high end gaming, video/photo editing. They need education on the "Three R's" and there is a world of information out there that every child should have access to. How can a child with an outdated set of reference books compete with a child with the most up to date information from the Net, they can't, so please for your kids sake be happy they are being given access to these things and stop taking away the fun part of education.
    anonymous
  • Lets look at the real facts

    The 10,000 trial is not running XP or Linux
    anonymous
  • its a great deal

    final payment is $58 or something like that to buy it out at the end then you own it

    my son is getting one
    Insurance is all part of the lease

    What I would like is to be able to pay the whole lot up front but you cant do that.
    anonymous
  • Netbooks faulty

    We have found many of our school's netbooks to have technical problems, such as the mouse pad not working and constant re-booting. These problems are compounded by the fact that only the grade fives have them and we have grade 3,4 and 5 composite grades, leaving some students in a class without access to a netbook. Equality for all students?
    anonymous
  • What schools will be getting the laptops

    Just came across this thread and was totally unaware of it before,does anyone no how or where I would look to see what schools will be getting the laptops?
    anonymous
  • Hmmmm

    They are running Vista and have the same image as the last rollout of teacher laptops.
    I can see them creating a very large headache for school office staff and IT folk like myself
    anonymous
  • who owns the unit - CrimeGuard

    CrimeGuard offers a Anti - Theft detterent which is the most cost effective Anti - Theft device on the market. For a one of fee of $70 you are covered for $1,000.00 cash back indemnity. CrimeGuard places your unique identification code(licence number ect.) into a stencil and permanently etches this by using compressed air and a high grade abrasive,and it can not be removed. please contact us on (03) 9773 5771 for more information .
    anonymous