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What do you think of PSP's in Schools?

By ebeck ·
One of our schools is proposing to give (checkout) Sony PSP's to kids (middle school aged) for learning add ons. This is mainly to enable e-books and other content - same as an ipod.
I could put this thread in several topics, since we have many concerns about such devices on our district network, and the resulting (or perhaps perceived) issues in infrastructure and security.
What would be your thoughts on this and what would be things to watch out for or use to support the initiative?
My gut is telling me to shut the door on this one fast, especially since we already are willingly supporting Palms, Axims, Treos, iPods, and are trying to stop the device proliferation (I have 12 techs suppporting over 18,000 devices already).
Any suggestions (logical ones of course) would be great to hear - as well as general feedback.
Thanks

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Students first

by cwgmpls In reply to What do you think of PSP' ...

I understand your concern about device proliferation. But of your 18,000 devices, how many are actually used by students?

It is a school after all, and school IT is supposed to ultimately support student needs. Having a convenient way to distribute educational games and ebooks seems like a solid, student-focused initiative.

If you're supporting too many device types already, I'd tell the administrators to choose one PDA platform -- Palm, Axim, Treo, whatever. Choose one and dump all the rest. Let the students have their iPods and PSPs.

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most are for students

by ebeck In reply to Students first

over 12,000 and growing. We're rolling out laptops to all schools this Fall as well and have all systems locked down for student use only (meaning staff can't use them for their accounts - and take the laptops for their own use or "trade-up").

My personaly concern is the focus and use of these as well as security. They deployed PS1's a while back and within weeks they were missing 30% of them or so. The rest turned up in the depot much later - unused or so I'm told.
I'm in agreement to help the kids, but the reality is I don't feel these "help" substantially more than iPods and Axims. Plus with the PSP's wireless a whole other concern is created. I already know we do battle with "kids" that are as smart or smarter than the staff on technology. Knoppix, rootkits, wep hacks, DoS - we get this all the time.

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Recognized and accepted need

by Mr.Wiz In reply to What do you think of PSP' ...

If there is a recognized and accepted need that cannot be accomodated by existing technology, then I'd think that you would have to get the PSP's. If it is just someone wanting to spend money to make the school look good and they won't be used as intended, I'd say no. You have to get the whole picture before you make a decision. At least your schools are asking IT "before" the purchase instead of after like mine do.

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I really want to know...

by dawgit In reply to What do you think of PSP' ...

...What is the intended use? and just how does this fit into their education? I can't imagine how they can use a PSP to learn Math, Language, or History with one, but maybe I've been out of school too long.
(Does your school have too much money?)
I would say this, if a student can program one to use Linux, and use it for school work, than He / She gets it.

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Some valid uses

by ebeck In reply to I really want to know...

You probably have been away for too long! I had been too. There are many valid reasons for the multi-media and web capabilities. There a hundreds of multi-media and game based apps for all the basics and other subjects as well. Remember Carmen San Diego? Then think about foreign languages - where audio and visual feedback and prompting are key. But most of this is doable on a ipod. I don't know of any PSP games for education, but there has to be some out there.

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Think about the intended end result

by Deadly Ernest In reply to What do you think of PSP' ...

As I see this there are two major issues and how you deal with it is guided by the intended end result.

First Issue - Distribution, management, service and control of the hardware.

Tech hardware today is changing so fast that most gear like laptops and these devices are out of date in 18 months. Most schools here in Australia do NOT supply any hardware except what is kept on the school grounds in labs and libraries - usually desktops. The few that do usually select a model each year and then buy a bulk deal, set them up and give them to the new students, maintenance and care is the student's responsibility as they are now their property. A few choose a model, set up deals with local suppliers and recommend that new students buy that model if they wish to use one on school property other than class in the labs - this usually realtes to laptops.


Second Issue - Access to the rest of the system.
The only reasons I can think of that the students would need access to the school system for any of these devices are:

1. Download recommended, or supplied, software, shared notes, assignments and participate in school discussion boards. That covers everything related to school.

2. Upload completed assignments, notes to share, discussion board messages.

Both these can be easily handled by creating a logical sub-net for the students that accesses a special server (in the gateway) that provides these services. The students have no other access and the access is via common industry protocols and any extras that you intend to use, and material is stored in the approved formats. Teachers also have access to the server for the same reasons. The gateway systems conduct their normal AV scans etc on all comms to the server.

Once this is set up who cares what they use to access, if they use something that does NOT use an accepted protocol or format - well, stiff, buddy.

Set this up without access to other school systems or the Internet and security is not an issue anymore.

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