Parents need to fork out for school laptops

SCHOOL will be back in session next week and with cuts to the federally funded School Computer Scheme, students will need to buy their own laptops to use at school.

For students --- or rather parents --- who can't afford to spend big money on a laptop, their kids will have to use computers provided by the school but they won't be able to take them home.

The Bring Your Own Device program has been rolled out across the state and students from year seven to 12 are now encouraged to, you guessed it, bring their own device.

A spokesperson for the Queensland Department of Education and Training said the BYOD program would allow for the "seamless movement between school, work, home and play".

Sally Townsend who is in control of all things digital at Toolooa State High School stressed that it was not compulsory for students to have their own laptops at school.

"We have equity devices available so that teachers can hire out laptops for class and that way no one is disadvantaged," she said.

"We've still got computer labs and there are plenty of devices to go around."

But if students at Toolooa State High decide to bring their own laptops, they will incur a $50 fee which is meant to cover the costs of internet upgrades and security programs for every students device.

Ms Townsend said the school's vision was to have more students using computers without sacrificing the skills of handwriting.

Mum Tammy Goggi has had previous experience with her kids using laptops at school and thought they helped a lot with classwork and assignments.

"Both my girls are now at Toolooa and at the end of last year we were told that laptops were going to be an optional thing now," she said.

"I know that in the past my daughter Ebony used them for her assignments and power point presentations --- you don't really get a straight essay nowadays."

Ms Goggi bought both Ebony, 15, and Caitlin, 13, laptops for Christmas at $1100 a pop.

"They're not cheap but it's the way of the world and everything is internet based and going digital," she said.
Ebony said the benefit of using a laptop at school was that task sheets, textbooks and everything you need are permanently on your laptop.

"It's also easier and faster to type," she said.

She expected that most of her friends would have laptops this year.

Having used a laptop provided to her by her old school last year, Ebony said most of the laptops were broken and needed replacing.

"They were a bit slower and had older windows on them and sometimes it would be so slow we'd hardly get any work done and we'd just give up and go back to our books," she said.

As more and more kids are thrust into the digital world it's clear that for Ebony and Caitlin mum's word is still gospel, having sat her kids down and given them a lecture about looking after their brand new laptops.

The decision to implement the BYOD program at schools remains the prerogative of local principals.
Toolooa, Gladstone and Tannum Sands State High Schools are all on board.

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