035: Back to School Computer Tips

Hey there YouTube! Did you know that today, January the 19th is National
Popcorn Day in the US? How about that! Why not pop a bag of your favourite, sit back and watch our 2019 back-to-school edition.

As it’s nearly time for school to start I thought I’d do a quick overview in this video of some of the technology used at various schools I know.

Some schools provide each student with a computer, which looks great because they’re all the same, parts are the same, everything’s the same, but it costs a lot of money.

Many schools have a closed BYOD system (Bring-Your-Own-Device) where parents are given a range of options at different price points with various accessories. This is a great middle ground and helps people at various income levels.

Other schools have an open BYOD where you can bring whatever device you like and they may or may not offer any for sale through the school or its supplier. This makes management really difficult at the school but it does mean if you already have a device you can bring it along and the school will do the best they can to make it work for you. Hopefully. Eventually.

If you don’t have a choice, then welcome to your new device, whatever it is. If you do have a choice I want to give you a few ideas that might make the decision easier for you.

The first point is durability. Kids are, well, kids. Some are more careful than others, most are not very careful. A few extra dollars spent upfront may mean a lot of money saved and a lot less time in for repairs. Cheap consumer grade computers and tablets are just that, cheap. They’re built to a price point, not a level of quality.

I’m not going to recommend specific models or anything here because
this video would be out of date before I even get a chance to upload it. Suffice to say that Lenovo makes tough computers, as do Apple (to a lesser extent, aesthetics can trump function in that case). Dell and HP tend to have good models and cheaper models, as do some of the smaller manufacturers.

Cheap junk is cheap junk. As an indication, grab the sides and give it a bit of a twist. If it flexes, be wary. This Lenovo is tough and doesn’t
budge at all, ditto this MacBook Pro. This Acer has a bit of flex but it’s still pretty solid because it’s a metal case. This HP is pretty bottom of the range, consumer stuff and this Laser tablet I feel like I could actually snap it in half with my hands.

As far as software maintenance goes, if you have access to them, Chromebooks are awesome. There are some things you can’t do on a Chromebook, but that’s often a good thing especially for keeping kids on track.

Macs are really reliable software wise, as are all the tablets. Windows computers can have a few issues, though they are also the most general purpose of machines.

I’m not really a big fan of touchscreens on the laptop, especially for kids. It’s just one more thing to go wrong and make screens even more expensive to replace. I almost never see anyone with a touchscreen laptop using the touch features on it. The reverse is not necessarily true though, keyboards for iPads and Android tablets do get a bit of use, especially if you have to input a bunch of text. Typing on the screen just isn’t that much fun.

Speaking of tablets, put them in a case. Not a slip in storage case but an
always-on plastic or rubber case ideally with a cover or decent bumper at the front to protect the screen. Screen protectors, especially the glass ones are great too. Make sure all the phones have a case – ideally a flip one that covers the front.

Laptop cases and backpacks:
Either a slim neoprene case that goes on the laptop and then in the school bag or a dedicated backpack with a laptop storage compartment.

Also on the topic of protection like this, I recommend you never put a device flat on the ground. Not to charge it, to put it aside while you get off the floor, never! Stand it up, either lean it against the wall or stand it slightly open on a edge like this.

A decent laptop should survive falling its own length but very few survive any sort of decent impact on the top of the screen.

I hope that was helpful for you. If you have any popcorn left there’s some more of my videos here for you to watch.

At The Tech Doctor Network our goal is to help you navigate the technology maze. Come back every weekend for new videos or subscribe and hit the notify bell to receive notifications when there’s new ones out.

I’m here to help. Thank you so much for watching. Have a great day!

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