General Question

kelly's avatar

What computers, software and monitors to buy for private small school that has a $5,000 budget?

Asked by kelly (1908points) February 19th, 2010

My daughter is volunteer teaching beginning computer skills to first through fourth grade students. Keyboarding, spreadsheet, word process, power point etc. They have 18 computers now and the NEWEST one has Windows 98 and giant TV type monitors that are fading fast. She prefers PC’s because that is what she knows. None will be attached to the internet, for now.

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8 Answers

jrpowell's avatar

I would contact Dell and ask for help. They will probably give you a good deal. Here is a link to contact their k-12 sales department. Once you fill that out someone will call you back.

buckyboy28's avatar

I would suggest an all-in-one computer. It has the CPU and the disc drive built into the monitor, so it takes up little desk space. Dell has the Studio One 19 which is pretty inexpensive and might qualify for the discount at the link that @johnpowell posted.

missingbite's avatar

Try to get a grant from the state that she will be teaching in. She may be able to get a lot more than she is trying for.

jerv's avatar

It depends a bit on exactly what you plan to do with the computers and where you are.

If you insist on new computers but your needs are modest, the Acer X-1301 has a street price around $400 with a 20” LCD, possibly less if she can work an educator’s deal with them. It runs Win7, has a competent CPU with decent RAM, and should be fine for a low-powered, low-cost student PC. The Dell Studio 19 is slightly more powerful, but not enough to warrant paying twice as much, so I would disregard those unless Dell offers a big discount on them through their K-12 program.

Another option: I happen to be surrounded by places that recycle computers and sometimes some of their systems never make it to the store shelves since they are donated to schools and such. It’s possible that she has similar places available near her, so it’s worth checking into.

jerv's avatar

I almost forgot to mention Linux. Even with an educator’s discount, you’re still giving a chunk of change to Microsoft if you buy a PC with Windows.

Linux is capable of doing the same stuff Windows is if configured properly, and even the base install includes the basic functions. For instance, most Linux distros come with OpenOffice, so you can handle Word, Excel, and Powerpoint, as well as a PDF reader to handle those now-ubiquitous files, plus media players (video and audio).
A few minutes downloading/installing (free) stuff from the repositories, (pretty much “select what you want, hit the button, and walk away”) and you can get damn near anything else, and the interface is close enough to Windows (even closer with customization) that if you know how to use one, you know enough about the other to at least get by. And if you set up WINE, then you can actually run most Windows programs!

The reason I mention it is because Linux is free. Some computer makers offer certain configurations with Linux for less than the price of the same system running Windows, and if she winds up getting used/donated systems then Linux may be the only cost-effective way to outfit that many computers.
If you saw the sorts of things that are in the repositories, all there for the taking at no cost, you might consider spending a little more on the hardware for better computers since you’ll be saving so much on the software. I am going to guess that, even with the educator’s discount and all, Win7 will cost at least $65 per computer (the “college” price is $64.95 to eligible students, so I imagine the licensing fee for pre-installed systems is comparably priced) and another $60/computer for MS Office (the full, non-trial version, same educational discount). For 18 computers, that is $2250 right there that could have been spent elsewhere. Of course, you won’t actually see half of that cost anyways since it’s in the price of the computer, but that is the difference between “free” and “included”.

Even if you do go with Windows, OpenOffice will still save quite a bit of money while still allowing spreadsheets and powerpoint.

kelly's avatar

thanks all.

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