French Department Oise Donates Laptops to Schools

Feb 13, 2009

By 2011, the French Department Oise will supply 55.000 laptops free of charge to fourth, fifth and sixth grade pupils, with teachers and libraries also benefiting.

According to Project Ordi60, the Toshiba Satellite Pro L300-228 laptops come with a Dual Core T3200 processor, 15.4 inch display (1280x800 pixel), 2 GB RAM, 120 MB hard drive, WLAN 802.11 b/g, a webcam, DVD burner, fast Ethernet card and USB pen drive.
Although the laptops will run on proprietary systems, (Windows Vista), 85% of programs included in the package are free software: OpenOffice, Firefox, Thunderbird, Gimp and Pidgin among them. A complete list of software in French is available here. All together, the laptop comes with 60 educational applications.

Ordi60 has closed deals with Toshiba and nine French IT companies, including support for the laptops. The project is estimated to cost 28 million Euro, with the laptops retailing at 1350 Euro. Due to the large number of laptops however, Oise's purchase cost just 466 Euro each.

Besides the laptops, the regional council wants to open two public computer laboratories. It is currently unclear if Toshiba is producing the laptop as an individual model specifically for the Ordi60 project, or if there's been a printing error: could they mean the L300-128?

The project will run over three years with 22.000 laptops going to fourth and fifth grade pupils in 2009. A further 22.000 will then be supplied to fifth and sixth graders, with another 11.000 for the sixth grade by 2011. A speaker for the project emphasized that the choice of open software was not entirely a priority, rather they looked for educational software like encyclopedias and dictionaries. They also wanted to use software developed by teachers and the education ministries. Open source software is simply an educational aid for pupils.

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