Issue 14

What’s it take to put a laptop in every teacher’s hands?

It’s one of the Ministry’s most successful ever ICT initiatives. Colin McGregor talks about how it’s happened and what the future holds for TELA.
What is TELA?

The Laptops for Teachers Scheme (TELA) was established in 2002 and provides state and integrated schools the opportunity to lease subsidised laptops for their permanent full-time or part-time teachers (over 0.50FTTE). The Ministry meets about two thirds of the lease cost of the laptop with the teacher and/or the school meeting the balance of the lease cost. Over 40,000 laptops are currently on lease, representing an approximate 86 per cent uptake, and funding is over $20m this year.
What was the aim behind the initiative?

It recognises the value of the laptop as a teaching tool. The objective of the scheme is to encourage teachers to develop greater confidence and competence in the use of information and communication technologies, so that they increase their use of ICT for teaching and learning, class management and administration.
What has been the impact of TELA?

Three providers are evaluating the TELA scheme (The University of Waikato, Auckland Uniservices and Otago University). Each research party is reviewing the impact on a different teacher year group over three years. The findings to date are encouraging, with teachers making extensive use of their laptops in a range of professional activities to support their classroom practice. The research confirms the very positive impact this scheme has had on teacher practice. The latest research findings can be found on Education Counts by selecting Publications, then ICT (www.educationcounts.govt.nz).
What’s been the reaction from teachers?

TELA has been highly appreciated and accepted by teachers. Feedback has been positive, with many saying they now do not know how they would manage without a laptop.
What have been the benefits?

Reports from the research are that teachers now have flexibility of time and place for working. They have improved access to resources and the laptop had helped them to become more confident in the use of ICT.
What have you learned along the way?

The past six years have provided many exciting challenges, as could be expected from a scheme of this scale. We have issued over 80,000 laptops, which has required the creation an online ordering site, service site and end of lease site. Whilst we have learnt many lessons, it has only been through the trial and error that we have got to the position we are in today.
How has the industry supported TELA?

Under the scheme the Ministry contracts three hardware suppliers, a financier, distributor, and software company. It’s through these strong public-private relationships that the scheme has become the success it is. All parties have been very supportive and believe strongly in the goals of TELA.
What does the future hold for TELA? Is the programme continuing?

It’s currently ‘business as usual’ for TELA; there is a continuous stream of leases expiring and new laptops being ordered. Pricing and model reviews occur quarterly, so the year is expected to be a busy one. The scheme has ongoing funding and no indications have been given as to any future changes.

We’re always looking at ways to improve the scheme for teachers and schools, and are currently undertaking a survey to give them the chance to provide us with feedback on what (if any) changes they would like to see in the future. Once the results come in we will look to see what improvements we can make.

Colin McGregor is Group Manager Curriculum Teaching and Learning Design at the Ministry of Education.

TELA Laptops and lease prices per quarter
Apple MacBook 13” $101.88 (normally $245.30)
Apple MacBook Pro 15” $222.67 ($387.19)
HP 6730b $70.16 ($213.58)
HP 8530p $122.25 ($272.71)
HP 2730p Tablet PC $216.05 ($380.57)
Toshiba Satellite Pro S300 $89.96 ($233.38)
Toshiba Tecra P10 $117.56 ($268.02)
Toshiba Portégé M750 Tablet PC $191.03 ($348.53)

Please note: Prices are subject to change without notice. Models are subject to availability and change without notice. Source: Ministry of Education.

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Categories: Issue 14