There are dozens of device choices when it comes to buying a laptop or tablet. Deciding which one is right for your child may take some planning and discussion. While every student needs a device for class, they do not all have to have the same one. This decision to purchase a device (laptop, netbook, tablet, etc) should reflect the needs of the child, not just what is trendy at the moment.Students will be primarily using their own personal device for productivity work (accessing learning resources on the Internet, typing essays, project planning, or communicating with faculty and/or other students). As a school community, we have intentionally invested resources in web-based products, services, and platforms which can be accessed from a wide range of devices. It is important to recognize that while students can use a variety of devices to access the Internet and work productively through out the day, not all devices can do all things. Each device has it's own set of limitations.As a guide for purchasing a device, we want to highlight some tasks and activities which we know your student will be doing on a regular basis (in no specific order):
- Writing or composing a formatted paper/essay using appropriate MLA guidelines
- Composing and sharing notes
- Using the school's instance of Google Apps for Education (GAFE)--Google Drive, Google Sites, E-Mail
- Accessing online resources through the St. John online learning management site Canvas
- Analyzing, creating, and sharing graphs or charts
- Sharing presentations online
- Basic editing/annotating of images (add text, crop, etc)
- Uploading video/audio/image files to the Internet
The following chart highlights device options you will want to consider for your student. Devices are ordered by preference and are based on student and faculty experience and feedback. For example, students using a laptop stated having a more consistent experience than their peers using an iPad or Android tablet. While that does not mean students should avoid using an iPad, it is does however mean that there will be an ongoing cost with having to purchase new apps to support student learning using those devices.
Computers that run either the Windows, iOS (Apple), or Linux operating systems.
There are quite a few locations across the metro St. Louis area who sell off-lease and used computers for very reasonable prices.
Other Recommendations: dual-band wireless networking card (Most newer devices come with this feature).
|Chromebooks|| What is a Chromebook?
"A Chromebook is a personal computer running Chrome OS as its operating system. The devices are designed to be used while connected to the Internet and support applications that reside on the Web, rather than traditional applications that reside on the machine itself. All the data is stored in the "cloud" accessed by an internet connection" (Wikipedia, Chromebook)
All Chromebook users will need a Google Account to get started. All students can/should use their school Google Apps for Education (GAFE) accounts as their sign in.
FAQ with Chromebooks:
What is the difference between them? Besides price, the difference between individual Chromebooks boils down to three things:
1. Memory (RAM) and Storage- A baseline Chromebook comes with 2GB of RAM, with options to go up to 4GB. The increased memory allows students to have a consistent experience while having a multitude of Google Chrome Tabs open (multi-tasking). With regards to storage, students will have access to Google Drive which gives them unlimited storage for saving, sharing, and managing digital content. The only exception to that would be if they enabled "offline" files which would be stored on the Chromebook locally.
2. Display - Screen size (11" or 13") and screen resolution (number of pixels, ex. 1366 x 768 )
3. Look and Feel - Weight, form factor, touch pad responsiveness, color, etc.
Apple iPad, Nexus, Galaxy Note, etc.
| While the cost for apps is not outstanding, families should realize that there will be an ongoing cost associated with the purchase of apps that students will use. On the "List of Helpful Apps" link, we will require several FREE apps that your student would be asked to download
For student safety, we recommend not using a device that has 3G/LTE/4G capabilities. We do provide content filtering for student web traffic on our network, but if your child is not connected to it via wifi, then they will not receive the benefits of our filtering policies.
iPhones, iTouches, Android OS Smartphones, etc.
|While many students currently own and use mobile devices through out the day, parents and students are discouraged from having a mobile be the only productivity tool students use. Middle school students may certainly use them in accordance with our digital citizenship contract and within the context of class, but they are not recommended as a primary productivity device for school.|
Accidental Damage or Protection Coverage: While not all hardware companies provide this service, there are some that will provide accidental damage or device protection insurance for an extra fee. Dell for example, allows customers to purchase accidental damage service as an add-on when paying for the device, as well as Apple with their AppleCare product line. Amazon.com also offers an optional accidental damage plan through Square Trade.
Printing: While it is our intention to go as paperless as possible, there may be a reason to print an assignment (ie. cutting out images for a display board, posters, or brochures). Having a printer at home could be very useful, although not required. We will still have computers on campus that students can print from, but printing will not be a priority.