It now possible for teachers in South Africa to receive a subsidy to purchase a laptop.   Full details my be found in a Government Gazette published on Friday, 8 May 2009.

Teachers may have many questions about owning a laptop.  This page serves as a point of reference to some of these questions.

You are invited to browse around and leave a comment or ask additional question.  You may do so on the relevant blog entries, or email your comments to me at  I would like this Laptop for Teachers intitiative  to be a ‘work in progress’ with participation from all of you.  In this way those of you who are already accomplished laptop users can share your experience with your colleagues who are yet to come to grips with the issue.

These blog postings have been published in the book Laptops for Teachers and thousands of copies have been sponsored to be distributed at no cost to teachers who do not yet have access to the internet.


What can a laptop do for me, as a teacher?

Can a laptop make me more productive?

3  Can a laptop ease my admin burden? 

Can a laptop help me to improve my subject knowledge?

How can a laptop help me to be a life long learner?

Can a laptop be used as a teaching tool?

Can a laptop improve learning in the classroom?

Can a laptop help me with assessment tasks?

Can  a laptop be used as a communication tool?

10 Can a laptop empower me?

11 Can I use a laptop to write that story that has been in my head for some time?

12 When I learn to use a laptop, can I expect some form of accreditation?

13 Will learning to use a laptop now lead to a promotion for me later?

14 Once I’ve become an experienced laptop user, can this lead to a career change?

15 Can I use my laptop for entertainment?

16 What will be the payback on all my efforts to learn to use a laptop?

17 What is the “digital divide”?

18 Why should I change the way I work?


What is meant by the “total cost of ownership” of a laptop?

What would it cost me to own a laptop?

Can a laptop become an albatross around my neck?

Why is a laptop so expensive?

5  Do I need peripherals for my laptop?

How much will laptop peripherals cost me?

Do I need device drivers for my laptop?

What are laptop consumables?

How much must I budget for computer consumables?

10  Is it essential to buy a printer to use with my laptop?

11 Is it a waste of money to buy a second-hand or refurbished laptop?

12 How much will the use of a laptop add to my electricity bill?

13 Is a sreensaver on a laptop a cost saver?

14 Should I learn to fix my laptop myself?

15 Should I insure my laptop?

16 If I insure my laptop, which risks must I consider?

17 How can I achieve internet connectivity?

18 How much will internet connectivity cost me?

19 What is the resale value of a laptop?

20 What return can I expect on my investment in a laptop?

21 Is it wrong if I feel that a laptop would be a waste of money?

22 Is it true that a laptop is already outdated by the time it reaches the shop floor?


Is it difficult to learn to use a laptop?

How long will it take me to learn to use a laptop?

What is the quickest way to learn to use a laptop?

What options do I have to learn to use a laptop?

Will I be able to learn to use a laptop by reading the manual that comes with it?

How useful is the buddy system when learning to use a laptop?

Can a child act as my laptop tutor?

Should I rely on the supplier of my laptop to teach me how tu use it?

How much could I rely on the education department for laptop training?

10 Should I enrol for a commercial course to learn how to use my laptop?

11 Does computer based training work?

12 How can I succeed in using computer based training?

13 How can computer facilities in my school help me?

14 How can I benefit from partner programmes?

15 Which of the learning methods yield the best results?

16 Where do I start?

17 How can I cope with the many things I have to learn?

18 Where will I find time to learn how to use my laptop?

19 What is a QWERTY keyboard?

20 Must I learn to touch type?

21 Why is a mouse called a mouse?

22 Am I  not too old to learn how to use a laptop?


What is the expected lifespan of a laptop?

What will happen if I drop my laptop?

How can I protect my laptop against accidental damage?

4  Do I need a special carry bag for my laptop?

5  Is there a “right way” to carry a laptop?

Do I have to use my laptop in an air-conditioned room?

How can I prevent my laptop from overheating?

How bad is dust for a laptop?

9  What are the things that could go wrong with a laptop?

10 Is it true that the screen of a laptop is very sensitive and can break easily?

11 Which parts of my laptop must be cleaned, and how often must I do it?

12 How must I clean my laptop’s screen?

13 How must I clean my laptop’s casing?

14 How must I clean my laptop’s keyboard?

15 How must I clean the rest of my laptop?

16 What must I do to ensure that my laptop remains clean?

17 What happens if a laptop has a hard disk crash?

18 What can I do to prevent a hard disk crash?

19 Must a laptop be serviced regularly?

20 What is RAM?

21 What is “defragging”?

22 What can I do when my laptop runs out of memory?



How should I choose a laptop?

What do I do if I am scared something will harm the laptop?

How can you prevent your laptop from being stolen?

What happens if my laptop gets stolen?

5  Is laptop radiation harmful?

Can a laptop’s screen damage my eyes?

Could the use of a laptop cause postural problems?

How can I protect my children against pornography?

9  Of What value is a laptop’s warranty to me?

10 What is a backup? 

11 Is it necessary to make regular backups?

12 Is it difficult to make a backup?

13  How can I protect private information on my laptop?

14 What is a computer virus?

15 How can I protect my laptop against a virus?

16 What can I do when a virus strikes?

17 What is spyware?


1 10 Steps to becoming a better laptop user

Teacher Laptop Initiative … fiasco

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