Sunday, 10 January 2016 16:50

Too many mistakes made buying computers for students

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Parents all too often buy the wrong device when providing a computer for their student children. It is not just a question of Windows, Android, Chrome, OS X, iOS or the various form factors (if they understand those terms) but the curriculum and student’s needs.

New research conducted by The Online Research Unit of 1024 parents with school age children across primary, middle and senior school in all Australian states is telling –

  • 37.4% of Australian parents receive little to no guidance regarding purchasing the correct device for their child’s individual learning needs
  • 55.6% agree that their child’s learning style is unique to them yet parents are still putting price ahead of finding the right device to cater to the way their children learns and interacts with school work
  • 23% admit to purchasing the wrong device in the past, or one that doesn’t do what they need it to or suit their child’s learning style
  • 17.7% believe the more expensive the device, the better it will be for their child
  • 86.1% are spending up to $1,000 on a device for their child

43.9% of parents admit to being concerned about value for money and often feel ‘in the dark’ when it comes to the technology needs of their children. With price high on the agenda, 28.8% are also feeling the pressure to keep up with other parents with what they buy their child.

“The wrong device has the potential to hinder a student’s growth and development. There is no ‘one size fits all’ school device as every individual has their own needs, and it’s important to take this into account when shopping for a device,” said Pip Cleaves, parent, head teacher and Senior Education Consultant at Design, Learn, Empower.

Every student has differing needs based on their learning style and classroom requirements allowing for a range of options from traditional laptops to 2-in-1 devices with a pen or even tablets, all of which can suit the desired learning outcomes.

The research shows that each student learns differently – the top learning types were ‘analytical problem solver’, ‘creative and visual’ and ‘literary’, followed closely by ‘gamer’.

When looking for a device for school, parents should be thinking about how their child studies and interacts with school work and what device will provide them with the best learning outcomes in the classroom.

“Price shouldn’t be the number one decider, as devices are available in a range of prices that aren’t indicative of the value in the classroom," Cleaves said.

Travis Smith, National Education Specialist, Microsoft Australia says “For example, the pen technology with Surface allows students to work as they would with a pen and paper. If a child is more creative and visual – the pen helps to create, brainstorm and collaborate, and those skills aren’t lost to the world of keyboard-only devices.

“Whether it’s the sheer abundance of technology options available or the confusion as to the capability required of the device, parents are feeling overwhelmed about the decision at hand – but there are plenty of resources available that parents can tap into,” Smith said.

Microsoft and Intel have designed a back to school guide that simplifies the purchase decision.


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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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