NSW has handed out 66,000 student laptops


NSW Education Minister Verity Firth today gave an update on the state’s implementation of the Federal Government’s Digital Education Revolution initiative, saying some 66,000 laptops were handed out to students in year 9 last year.

The Lenovo laptops will continue to hit the school system this year, with an average of 10,000 to be delivered each week, Firth said in a statement. “By mid-2010 there will be almost 130,000 laptops in our schools, turning our classrooms into 21st century learning hubs,” she said.

This year’s batch will be Lenovo’s ThinkPad Mini 10 devices, running Windows 7 on an Intel Atom processor. Previously Lenovo had been supplying its IdeaPad S10e laptops.

The update coincided with a visit to Australia of global Lenovo chief executive Yuanquing Yang, who said the Digital Education Revolution was considered to be the single biggest educational netbook rollout anywhere in the world.

In total, Firth said the state had employed more than 300 technology support officers and was spending 16 million to to also provide every secondary teacher with a laptop.

The Digital Education Revolution project is the result of an election promise where Prime Minister Kevin Rudd promised a computer on the desk of every high school student from year nine and up. The students will keep the laptops as they move through the school ranks.

The Federal Government is contributing $2.2 billion over six years for the rollout, and also for supporting infrastructure such as broadband to schools. However, much of the administration of the program is being done by the states.

Also today, Firth reportedly said the state would consider relaxing the rules through which NSW students were restricted from accessing certain types of material through the state education department’s filter.

Image credit: Guillermo Ossa, royalty free