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Australian schools are taking part in a federal government program to provide wireless-braodband laptops to senior students.

 

NSW students to get promised laptops Sun Herald 30.11.08

Every senior NSW public school student will get to keep a mini laptop. Some will receive their custom-built computers, powered by a wireless broadband network, by the end of term two 2009. Students will be able to keep their computers after they leave school.

 

The laptops in NSW public schools will be supplied under a bulk contract. This is an efficient way of buying computers, with the cost being around $600 each as I understand it. The computers are described as student friendly, but are nowhere near top specification.

 

The concept of keeping large amounts of data on your hard drive is under challenge from remote (ie not at your house or work) “data farms” and “cloud computing” – see article link below.

 

People may have a variety of devices, laptops, hand held etc from which they can access their data anywhere via broadband internet. No more synchronising between devices, or carrying data around on memory sticks or DVDs.

 

People have experienced this type of technology for quite some time now when using gmail or hotmail, where you can access all your emails from anywhere in the world. These systems are getting better and have greatly improved storage capacity. They are attracting more and more people away from programs such as Microsoft Outlook, which is clunky in comparison.

 

Broadband speeds offered by Australian suppliers such as Telstra and Optus are unfortunately still slow and expensive by world standards, but eventually they’ll improve and make “data farms” and “cloud computing” really attractive.

 

Cloud computing can also use the rapidly improving open system applications which provide the functions of Microsoft products such as Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Access, and other applications such as Skype, Facebook, etc. This will result in the use of these programs for free, or much reduced costs, without the constant need for individaul users to update. The applications will reside in the computer cloud, further reducing the need for storage on your own laptop or device.

 

I can foresee that the next generation of student “laptops” will be much smaller devices, costing $100 or less – and it may only be a couple of years down the track.

 

Student personal devices will be increasingly linked with school systems, such as the NSW DETs Connected Classroom technologies, which include interactive whiteboards and video links.

 

See more links below.

 

David Hope

President, P&C Northern Sydney Region

Email: pc-nsregion-owner@yahoogroups.com

 

 

Cloud computing ascends the mainstream SMH 19.02.09

This developing technology may quickly render strategies to give every student a fairly expensive computer obsolete. Worth a read.

 

LINKS from this story

 

Google's cloud browser Chrome now has 10 million users
 

Microsoft's Live Mesh lets you synchronise your devices
 

Connect your Mac products through MobileMe:

 

Web desktop AirSet creates your cloud computer
 

Amazon's EC2 cloud service for web developers

 

 

Other Sites

 

Open Office

 

OpenOffice.org provides open-source office software suite for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases and more. It is available in many languages and works on all common computers. It stores all your data in an international open standard format and can also read and write files from other common office software packages. It can be downloaded and used completely free of charge for any purpose.

 

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