Laptops for Education

Four Things to Know When Selecting Laptops for Education

  • Select processors based on student usage and the workloads required by their coursework.

  • Remember that remote/virtual learning has unique laptop requirements such as performance, quality webcams, microphones, and screens.

  • Connectivity, manageability, and security are also critical considerations for flexible, uninterrupted use.

  • Compatibility with other technology investments is key to making an efficient purchase.



Your Laptop Choice Is More Important Than Ever

Today, technology is everywhere. Education is no exception. New advancements are enabling forward-thinking ways to learn and teach, unlocking unprecedented opportunities to practice skills, and facilitating innovative educational approaches.

The ever-increasing prevalence of technology impacts employers and the job market too—across all industries. Their ideal candidates need to be comfortable using technology to solve problems, familiar with the tools, and equipped with a foundation for critical thinking and problem-solving in the digital world.

To be best prepared for success, students need a laptop that enables them to learn and build their skills anywhere while also providing seamless access to the modern education tools they require. Laptops are essential to fostering the skills, mindsets, and approaches that learners need for both personal and professional development. With them, students can access the technologies and tools they need to learn, build, and hone skills.

Ultimately, empowered students are the ones who have the freedom to explore their potential with a laptop that’s appropriately aligned to their needs.

The Benefits of Laptops in the Classroom

When learners have the right laptop for education, they can engage with the coursework and their peers in a more dynamic and rewarding way. Laptops offer great portability alongside robust capabilities that make them a flexible and highly usable investment.

By making laptops part of the educational experience, you can enable richer learning that pays dividends when it comes to educational outcomes:

  • Foster skills for innovation by allowing students to get hands-on experience with advanced tools, digital content, and other building blocks of critical Fourth Industrial Revolution skill sets.
  • Enrich the educational experience by affording students more possibilities, more personalized learning, and more ways to engage with course material.
  • Enable blended learning and student interaction with a portable and flexible device that can empower them to learn anywhere.

Education Laptops: What to Consider

Age and Grade Level

Modern educational strategies interweave skills such as data science, coding, and modeling into all areas of the educational experience—from mathematics to history class. Doing so, they give students more opportunities to practically apply problem-solving skills.

Since this type of coursework is heavily rooted in technology, it’s critical to seek out laptops that align to your learner’s curriculum needs. The best way to make the right choice is to consider what laptops are used for across different ages and grade levels.

Elementary school learners engage with technology primarily to access digital content and remote learning applications, so they require a laptop that can support those basic functions without interruptions or issues.

In middle school, students will begin to build core skill sets in areas such as data science, programming and coding, and digital content creation. They’ll need more-robust laptop capabilities to do so.

High school students will explore advanced applications of AI, machine learning, simulation, and modeling technologies. They’ll begin applying these tools to solve problems and practice critical thinking. Here, you’ll need to select an appropriately powerful laptop to minimize delays and ensure students can unleash their creative potential.

Software Needs by Grade Level

Elementary Student Middle School Student High School Student
  • Digital content access
  • Remote learning access
  • Educational apps
  • Digital content access
  • Remote learning access
  • Educational apps
  • Productivity tools
  • Multitasking
  • Programming/coding
  • Digital content creation
  • Data science
  • Digital content access
  • Remote learning access
  • Educational apps
  • Productivity tools
  • Multitasking
  • Programming/coding
  • Digital content creation
  • Data science
  • Simulation/modeling
  • AI/machine learning
  • E-sports

How to Right-Size Laptop Performance Across Classroom Uses

For both parents and school districts, balancing experience, cost, and performance is critical. Buying a laptop for students that lacks sufficient computing power can hinder the learning process.

At Intel, we offer a wide range of processors that provide outstanding options to students across grade levels. The chart below outlines our purchasing recommendations across elementary, middle school, and high school students to help you make an informed and efficient choice.

Use the chart as a guide as you assess options. As you browse, look for the processor that best fits your educational needs. Aligning your choice to this chart will help ensure you have adequate compute.

Size and Speed: Additional Considerations to Make the Right Choice

When students don’t have the right capabilities, essential learning tools can become difficult or impossible to use. Lessons can be derailed by technology issues, which can ultimately lead to learning loss and slower progress in the educational experience.

Be sure to consider multitasking demands as you assess processing power needs. Today’s learners likely bounce between a wide variety of applications while running videoconferencing or collaboration tools—including productivity applications, such as word processor or spreadsheet programs, and more-demanding applications for analytics, data science, and other advanced capabilities. Keeping everything running smoothly requires more computing power, so keep that in mind as you shop.

Since compute needs are constantly increasing, school districts and other education organizations should consider the desired life of their purchase. By thinking a few steps ahead of larger computing trends, you can future-proof your investment and ensure a long, viable life. Likewise, parents looking to make a long-living laptop decision should consider what their learner needs now and what they’ll need in the future.

How Remote Learning Impacts Laptop Choice

For remote learners, the laptop is an essential portal to the educational experience. It needs to allow seamless participation in virtual classroom sessions and support applications that can enrich the learning experience. Science lab simulations and other forward-thinking tools help teachers deliver lessons when students do not have access to physical labs—but they require a laptop that’s up to the task.

It’s also important to remember that a videoconferencing or collaboration solution will often be running in conjunction with any needed learning tools. This places additional stress on the processor and should be considered as you assess options for your purchase.

Since laptops also become critical communication tools for remote learners, noise-canceling capabilities, high-definition microphones, and screen quality are important considerations as well.

2-in-1s, Detachables, and Convertibles Deliver Maximum Flexibility

Flexible devices that offer various modes of operation give students more options and can deliver a more comfortable experience. With 2-in-1, detachable, or convertible devices, students can use the touch-based modes to study, watch videos, or share content with classmates, then easily shift to keyboard-and-mouse operation for more involved tasks. Having choices on how they interact with their education device helps students be more productive and more engaged in their learning. Get tips to choose the right device for you or your student’s needs.

Additional Considerations: The Essential Foundation

In addition to the appropriate compute capabilities, you need to ensure that your laptop selection provides the right features to ensure cost efficiency, simplify troubleshooting, and keep students focused on their coursework—not technology issues.

Connectivity and Compatibility Considerations

Internet and Wi-Fi connectivity should be an important factor in your laptop decision. Without the right capabilities for supporting new standards, accelerating performance, and enabling reliable access, learners can face frequent interruptions, slowdowns, and distractions.

The ideal student laptop is also compatible with the devices it will be used alongside. You’ll need to ensure your selected laptop has the right ports and compatibility options for your scenario. Interactive flat panel displays, headphones, printers, monitors, other USB peripherals: these and more should all be considered as part of your decision-making process. Aligning your laptop choice with other education technology investments helps maximize results across the board.

Manageability and Budget Considerations for School Districts

To keep costs down, school districts need laptops that are reliable and manageable. IT staff needs easy access to troubleshoot and remediate issues, even when students are outside the school’s core IT network.

As 1:1 computing becomes the norm, it becomes even more critical to have a fleet of laptops that are accessible and simple to manage remotely. Too much time spent troubleshooting issues or performing maintenance not only hinders the educational experience for learners—it ultimately drives up IT costs too.

Intel vPro® Enterprise for Windows enables IT professionals to fix devices in students’ homes remotely. This allows district IT staff to boost their productivity and spend less time in transit. Out-of-band management tools are another key manageability feature. With tools such as Intel® Active Management Technology, IT staff can access devices and fix problems even when they’re experiencing OS problems or hardware issues.

Security Considerations for Remote Learning Environments

Cyberattacks such as phishing, ransomware, and other types of common malware are critical concerns in remote learning environments. They’re sneaky, subtle risks that are easier than ever to fall victim to. Something as simple as clicking a link or installing an application can put devices and information at risk.

In addition to software-based security suites, hardware-based security tools are essential to protecting laptops. They provide an integrated resistance to the first level of attacks that helps protect the device and prevent interruptions to the educational process.

Parents are increasingly concerned about their student’s cyber risks. In conjunction with IT-provided defense mechanisms, they should stay informed about what their children are doing online and educate them about how to stay safe. Teachers should also stay vigilant regarding their learners’ activities and discuss the risks directly.

To help students stay safe in the digital world, Intel offers an Online Safety for Kids program that teaches children ages five to 18 how to use the internet safely and responsibly.