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Education Linux

Ask Slashdot: Best Choice of Linux Laptops For Elementary School? 310

Posted by samzenpus
from the while-they're-young dept.
An anonymous reader writes "I work in the tech department of an elementary school and I am trying to show the tech director the world of Linux. I will be installing edubuntu but I am not sure which laptop to get. I know there are companies like System76 that sell laptops with Linux already installed but I wanted to ask you for your thoughts. We want something small and light weight for the kids. We do not need much horsepower as the main use will be internet/email/word processing and whatever other apps come with edubuntu. Basically, what we really want is something MacBook Air-like but not nearly as expensive. Thoughts?"
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Ask Slashdot: Best Choice of Linux Laptops For Elementary School?

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  • by bhcompy (1877290) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @12:38AM (#40319087)
    I think it depends on the point. If he's got Mavis Beacon and Math Blaster for linux, sure, go for it. If the point is just to give the kids a computer to dick around in, it would probably be better on an OS that will provide them better educational opportunities later on in their careers.
  • Need? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by colinrichardday (768814) <colin.day.6@hotmail.com> on Thursday June 14, 2012 @12:51AM (#40319171)

    Do elementary-school students really need laptops?

  • Netbooks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by subreality (157447) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @12:53AM (#40319177)

    You don't want an Air. That's basically taking the parts from a full power, full featured laptop and using heavy integration to cram it into an extra thin case.

    Doing that for cheaper is basically the definition of "Ultrabook".

    But you're looking for less powerful and less expensive. That's square on what Netbooks were created for. Pick your favorite 12" model.

    If you want something with more midrange performance, look at the Thinkpad X130 series. It's not a real Thinkpad, but more of a premium-grade netbook.

  • by jedidiah (1196) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @12:53AM (#40319185) Homepage

    What "educational opportunites"?

    Computing is about gettting stuff done. It's not about using particular branded products. Even if you do choose to fixate on a particular brand, it's rather likely that the brand won't be recognizable by "later in their careers".

    Schools should be teaching concepts not products.

  • by Joe_Dragon (2206452) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @12:55AM (#40319197)

    lots of school software is windows only so linux may be a no go.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 14, 2012 @01:47AM (#40319453)

    Any school requiring my kids to purchase anything from a particular vendor, ESPECIALLY Apple is going to get sued by me, in addition to my pulling my kids out and sending them to a better school. (There must be a better school, since any school making such requirements is obviously inferior.)

    iFad's are not necessary for education, in fact they're a distraction from it, (unless the education is on how to play mini-games). Any public or private primary or secondary school that insists on electronic babysitting of students rather than actually teaching them is part of the reason we are falling farther and farther behind other nations in education.

    Why not take the money squandered on devices for playing games, and spend it instead on paying teachers? Maybe even buying them supplies like chalk, etc., so they don't have to pay for that stuff out of their own pockets, like mine did.

    Apple must be loving that though... I wonder how much money Apple kicks back to the people running the schools every time one agrees to go along with that kind of harebrained idea to waste a bundle on technical toys from Apple... Plus, each time this happens, it helps entrench their "experience" (over functionality) in the minds of impressionable children, and reinforces the value of standoffish, jealous, closed-mindedness, versus the openness of the community that Apple has stolen so much from, (OS-X borrowed very heavily from a variant of BSD) and given so little back.

  • Chromebook (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 14, 2012 @01:57AM (#40319509)

    Samsung has a nice one, total cost of ownership is a lot lower, replacement is trivial, and the web gives you all the apps you need. What's not to like?

  • Stop It (Score:5, Insightful)

    by KalvinB (205500) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @02:10AM (#40319565) Homepage

    You know what would educate kids better than some flavor of laptop?

    Teachers.

  • by niftydude (1745144) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @02:13AM (#40319571)
    Submitter said he wanted to run edubuntu.

    Edubuntu doesn't run on windows...
  • Re:Lenovo mini (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wvmarle (1070040) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @02:15AM (#40319579)

    Why pay a premium?

    Warranty and overall build quality (including strength and durability of the casing) come to mind. Children are not the most careful bunch.

  • Re:Need? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mindscrew (1861410) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @02:20AM (#40319613)

    Why would you EVER buy a 6-11 year old child a 300+ dollar piece of technology to take to school?

    Are you really trying to just throw you money away?

    If a school district ever required my (nonexistent) child to carry a device around that costs hundreds of dollars, i would pull my kid out of that district fater then they can say "but its our requirement!"

    Are you KIDDING me? The last thing i want is for some 5th grader to steal my child's ipad that i paid for with my hard earned money.

    If they want to provide them... and provide support.... and provide replacements to stolen ipads... free of charge from me... than fine. But this would never happen with our education budgets.

    And dont come to me to replace the stupid thing when it comes up missing.

    Im sorry but that is ridiculous.

  • Re:Lenovo mini (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Joce640k (829181) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @03:14AM (#40319815) Homepage

    Children can break anything. Why not get something that's cheap to replace?

  • Re:Lenovo mini (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Joce640k (829181) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @03:26AM (#40319867) Homepage

    ...especially keyboards.

    Before buying anything find out exactly how easy it is to get hold of and fit a new keyboard. Some brands sell keyboards online directly to consumers and they pop right out if you know exactly where to press, others need you to disassemble the entire machine and put together a purchase order before they'll even bother to find somebody to talk to who knows the correct order code.

    PS: I've been through the mill on this one. I usually replace laptop keyboards right after purchase to get rid of the icky local keyboard layout.

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