Do you have advice on a laptop for me in my classroom?

Photo of HP Tablet PC running MS Windows Table...Image via Wikipedia

Tomorrow is “b” day — the day I have to buy the new laptop at school for me.  Yes, it has to last me another five years. The trusty Toshiba I got five years a go lasted until the backlight went out.  I don't have a lot in my budget for this, but here is what I'm looking at right now.

  • 64 bit Windows 7
  • 8 GB Ram
  • fingerprint reader
  • Media card reader
  • docking station (so I can hook to external monitor)
  • Adobe Suite
  • New MS Office
  • Pinnacle 12 (Man, I love that movie program.)

Ok, these are just some of the things and I looked at a Tablet PC but all of my machines HAVE to be able to edit video and the Tablets seem to have a lower power processor of some kind that has issues.

Now, those of you who read my blog know that I don't really ask for too much, but today, I'm asking.  Throw it at me — give me advice. What advice would you give a geeky kind of teacher who doesn't have a ton of money ($1100-1200 probably not including adobe) but wants to be as current as possible and edit video.

And no, I cannot go with a Mac at school — we're PC and that is the way it is going to be for now with our budget.

I'll tell you that the new multitouch has me fascinated as do touch screens.  Please, my friends and readers – I would so much appreciate if you took a moment to either share what you have, your regrets, your wishes, and what you'd get if you had the chance to buy a laptop today. (And please, no vendor bashing unless it is done in taste.)


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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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Glenn Hervieux July 29, 2010 - 5:30 am

I think you’re going to really be hard presses to get all that for $1,100-$1,200, so I would start prioritizing. I’m thinking you can save some $$ by using something beside a fingerprint scanner for security, look for an alternative to MS Office like Open Office & Google Docs (try using Office 2003, if you have already have a license). Because Office 2003 has convertors for Office 2007, there is no really good reason for having to have Office 2007, or the next version coming out. I don’t use Adobe products for video, so I can’t speak to needing 8GB of RAM…you might be able to do fine with 4GB to start if you have a good processor. I own a MacBook with 4GB, and run Windows 7/Parallels, and could probably run Adobe CS okay. I guess if I had to buy a PC laptop, I would lean toward an HP. Toshiba’s higher end models are still good, in my mind, but that’s going to be more than $1,200. You’re in a challenging position.

Kim Caise July 29, 2010 - 9:48 pm

Hi Vicki! I have been using a Dell Inspiron 1564 for the past three weeks or so and I have been pleased. It has a 10 key touch pad on the right side and a great processor. I think it is an i3 which is an upgraded processor. I have no problems with audio or video when I am in Elluminate and can have many tabs open in my browser without it crashing. I chose the pink one and Dell made a $5 donation to the Susan G. Komen foundation. I got a great discount going through my university, WGU, but as an educator you can also get a similar discount. The display is a wide 15.6 and is a great size for me although I didn’t think I would be happy with it since I was used to a 17 inch display. All in all this laptop is much better laptop than I expected.

Cameron Evans, USCTO August 2, 2010 - 4:29 pm

Hi Vicki,

Since you are buying a PC, I won’t waste time convincing you that you are making a great choice. ;) I will say that you should check the Windows Experience Index on any PC that you buy. The higher the score the better off you are going to be. There are two components that matter to you for your work, the graphics card and RAM. Nvidia and Adobe have partnered together to make video and photo editing faster, so you check to see if your laptop has the right graphics card for Adobe CS5. Other than that, you should be able to get what you want in your budget.

Bag_Manufacturers January 17, 2011 - 9:13 am

I appreciate your post, thanks for sharing the post, i want to hear more about this in future.

Silver MLM April 26, 2011 - 4:35 pm

Is my laptop bag going to be considered a carryon item also along with the laptop?

Silver MLM April 29, 2011 - 5:43 pm

Why did my PC laptop stop being able to connect to the wireless internet?

Comments are closed.

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