Starting secondary school can be scary, but with the right tools, you can make the transition exciting.
When it comes to purchasing a computer for school, you need something with the software, power, and portability for managing computing work, at home or in class.
Laptops have become an essential tool for students in the modern age – replacing the traditional pen-and-paper method of learning, for many subjects. The use of laptops in schools has revolutionized the way students learn and has brought about advanced skills.
You’re able to organize detailed note-taking and type faster than you can write, which is especially beneficial for students who struggle with handwriting or have difficulty keeping up with the pace of the lecture.
With most schools having wifi, and laptops being wireless, students are able to access a vast range of online resources. And with the internet at their fingertips, students can easily research complex topics with up-to-date facts and figures, access online textbooks and classes (such as during the covid pandemic), and find educational videos.
Here’s our pick of the best laptops for secondary school or college students;
- Best HP Laptop for School: HP Laptop PC 15s-fq2016sa Windows 11
- Best MacBook for school: Apple MacBook Pro M2
- Best Cheap Laptop For Secondary School: Acer Aspire
- Best Chromebook For School: Acer Chromebook Spin 513
1. HP Laptop PC 15s-fq2016sa Intel Core i5
- Intel Core i5 (11th generation) processor chip
- Anti-glare panel easy on the eyes for prolonged study
- Intel Iris Xe Graphics card
- 8GB DDR4 RAM
- Large 256GB Solid State Drive (SSD) storage
- Windows 11 system
- Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac), Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity
- Ports: USB Type-C, 2 x USB Type-A, HDMI, headphone/microphone combo jack, SD card reader
- HD webcam with integrated microphone
- Dual stereo speakers with HP Audio Boost technology
- Full-size island-style keyboard and Multi-touch gesture support
- Lithium-ion battery – over 7 hours of life for long study and schoolwork sessions
- Weighs approx 1.75 kg (3.86 lbs)
2. MacBook Pro M2 Chip Specs and Features
The MacBook Pro is a great option for schoolwork and a favourite for teenage students. It not only looks the part, with renowned Apple branding, but works well on resource-intensive projects like coding, video editing, spreadsheets, word documents, and graphic design.
The Apple laptop macOS operating system offers a streamlined user experience, an easy-to-navigate interface, and numerous useful educational apps. The MacBook Pro’s long battery life, and light compact design, make it ideal for secondary school students and homeschoolers who need to work for long stretches in different classes.
- Vibrant colours and clarity from “Retina Display”
- Choose from a screen size of 13 or 16 inches
- Powerful Intel Core i5 or i7 (or Apple Silicon) processor, providing exceptional performance.
- Configurable options for RAM, ranging from 8GB to 32GB, and solid-state storage (SSD) capacity from 256GB to 2TB, ensuring smooth multitasking and ample storage space.
- Dedicated graphics card (AMD Radeon Pro or Apple-designed GPU) for enhanced graphics-intensive tasks and seamless video editing or gaming experiences.
- USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports provide faster data transfer, charging, and connecting to external devices.
- macOS, offering a sleek and intuitive interface, seamless integration with the Apple ecosystem, and access to a range of productivity, educational, and creativity software.
3. Acer Aspire 1 A114-33 Laptop
- Intel Celeron N4500 dual-core processor
- 14-inch Full HD LED-backlit display with 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution
- Intel UHD Graphics
- 4GB DDR4 RAM memory and 64GB eMMC storage
- Windows 10
- Connect online with Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac), Bluetooth 4.2
- Ports: 1 x USB 3.1 Type-A, 2 x USB 2.0 Type-A, HDMI, headphone/microphone combo jack, microSD card reader
- HD webcam, integrated mic and Dual stereo speakers
- 2-cell Lithium-ion battery with 6.5 hours of life
- Approximately 1.65 kg (3.64 lbs) in weight
4. Acer Chromebook Spin 513
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c (8-core) power processor
- 13.3-inch Full HD IPS touchscreen display and 1920 x 1080 px resolution
- Integrated Qualcomm Adreno GPU
- 4GB or 8GB LPDDR4X RAM memory and 64GB or 128GB eMMC storage
- Chrome OS Operating System
- Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac), Bluetooth 5.0
- HD webcam with HDR support with Dual stereo speakers, onboard microphone
- Backlit keyboard for nighttime schoolwork
- 3-cell Lithium-ion battery supporting 14 hours of work
- Super lightweight at just 1.2 kg (2.65 lbs)
- Various colours available
Why Laptops Are Essential for Students
Laptop computers have fast become a need in today’s classrooms, not for luxury home entertainment or gaming. There are many ways in which they improve upon and streamline the educational process. Here, we’ll look at several scenarios in which having a laptop would be helpful to a student.
Improved Learning Experience
With a laptop, pupils can gain access to an abundance of online materials. They can utilise the internet to augment their education by conducting real-time research, reading academic articles and studies, and watching instructional videos.
Students who have access to a laptop have an easier time taking notes, staying organised, and working together. Student’s academic performance and motivation improve as a result of this enhanced learning environment.
This was all too apparent during the Covid-19 pandemic, where students had to use a laptop for homeschooling. So essential was the laptop to schooling during lockdown and isolations, the government introduced the Get Help with Technology Programme to provide laptops to secondary school kids across the UK.
Secondary school, college, and university students can use a laptop to keep track of all homework, assignments, and tasks, always hitting their due dates. They can do this by using electronic calendars, and to-do lists, and talking to classmates on social platforms or apps.
This function aids students in maintaining focus, setting priorities, and avoiding procrastination. In addition, the built-in note-taking and organisation capabilities on laptops facilitate students’ review and revision processes.
Students are better able to work together when using laptops, via the internet. Students can collaborate on projects, exchange ideas, and offer constructive criticism among themselves using digital tools such as Skype, or Zoom. Student’s ability to work together effectively is a crucial talent that can be fostered through this feature. The use of computers also facilitates greater teacher-student interaction, feedback, and progress monitoring.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, classes were held online with pupils able to submit work to their teacher via online platforms – it was the laptop that made this possible.
Access to Technology
Students with access to technology through laptops and tablets will vastly improve their education. To make documents, piecharts, spreadsheets, and presentations, they can use software applications, which require computing power in the form of a laptop computer.
Laptops also give youths the opportunity to learn programming languages, a skill that is crucial in today’s labour environment. Students have access to instructional simulations and games on computers, which enhance learning by making it more interactive and fun.
Laptops, desktops, and tablets offer a host of advantages that improve learning, encourage teamwork, increase motivation, and give access to technology. Students can keep organised, take effective notes during lessons, and access online resources to support their learning with computers.
Active Learning and Retention
Laptops can improve retention and active learning in the classroom, according to research. Students can take notes, use internet resources, and engage with classmates in real time when they use laptops. This enables a more participatory and interesting learning experience, which may improve information retention.
Additionally, laptops can improve pupils’ ability to manage and summarise knowledge. To organise their notes and highlight important topics, they can utilise tools like mind maps, tables, and bullet points. This can aid kids in understanding and retaining the material they are studying.
Improvement in Test Scores
Research has shown that using laptops in the classroom can raise students’ test scores. This is due to the fact that laptops give students access to a variety of resources, such as online textbooks, study materials, and practice exams. This can aid pupils in improving their overall performance and exam preparation.
Laptops can also assist students in completing tasks more quickly and accurately. They can use resources like grammar and spell checkers to make their work better. Higher grades and overall academic achievement may result from this.
Boost in Creativity and Autonomy
Students’ independence and inventiveness can both be improved by laptops. Students have access to a variety of multimedia materials via laptops, including movies, photos, and audio recordings. This may encourage original thought and creativity.
Laptops can also provide pupils with more control over their education. They can use Internet resources and finish tasks at their own pace, which can help them become more independent and self-assured.
In conclusion, laptops can aid kids in the classroom in a variety of ways. Laptops can assist students in achieving their academic objectives and realising their full potential, from strengthening active learning and retention to enhancing test results, encouraging creativity, and boosting autonomy.
Laptops vs Desktops and Tablets
The ability to take your computer with you is a major benefit of laptops versus desktops. Because they are lightweight and portable, laptops are simple to transport.
This is particularly helpful for students who must bring their computers to class or during study sessions. Desktop computers, on the other hand, are large and call for a specific workstation.
However, due to their lighter weight and smaller size, tablet PCs are even more portable than laptops. However, they may be limited in comparison to a desktop or laptop computer.
Power and Performance
Tablets typically lack the power and performance that laptops and desktop PCs do. This is a result of their larger processors, increased storage capacity, and improved cooling systems.
They are therefore better suited for activities like video editing and gaming that demand a lot of processing power.
Some tablets, nevertheless, are made to be strong and capable of handling this kind of work. Before choosing which device to buy, it’s critical to take the student’s individual demands into account.
Versatility and Multitasking
Laptops and desktop computers are also more versatile than tablets. They offer a wider range of software and hardware options, which makes them better suited for multitasking and productivity.
For example, a student can easily switch between multiple applications on a laptop or desktop computer, whereas this may be more difficult on a tablet.
Additionally, laptops and desktop computers offer more connectivity options, such as USB ports and HDMI outputs, which can be useful for connecting to external displays or peripherals.
In conclusion, laptops are a great option for students because of their balance between mobility and power.
Tablets are more convenient to carry about than desktop computers, but they may not be as powerful as a laptop or desktop computer. The final decision amongst these tools should be made with the individual learner in mind.
- Day AJ, Fenn KM, Ravizza SM. Is it worth it? The costs and benefits of bringing a laptop to a university class. PLoS One. 2021 May 24;16(5):e0251792. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0251792. PMID: 34029336; PMCID: PMC8143381.
- Park, Jiyeon and Aulbach, Abigail, “In-Class Laptop Use for Student Learning: A Pilot Study” (2023). Pedagogicon Conference Proceedings. 2.