Q. What are the educational benefits of laptops?
A. Please see the 1-to-1 Benefits page for current research on how laptops can benefit students.
Q. Will the laptop be used in every class?
A. The laptops will not necessarily be used in every class that your child attends for the day, but it will be used within all subject areas. Obviously some subject areas are more technology-dependent than others and it is expected that the laptops will be used heavily each day.
Q. How will they use the laptop in their class(es)?
A. There are many ways a laptop can be used in a classroom. For example:
- A vast resource for additional information other than what a teacher and a book provides in a traditional classroom.
- The ability to quickly download class assignments from a school online resource thereby saving time, expense and paper.
- The ability for students to expand the walls of their classroom and include other students and experts in the field in online educational discourse.
- The ability to visualize Mathematical applications through the use of school-provided Math software providing students with a more thorough understanding of concepts presented in class.
- The ability to directly upload data from their heart rate monitors in P.E. class and import it into graph making programs giving them a visualization of their progress.
- The ability to simultaneously write documents with students through the use of online tools providing the ability for peer-editing of written work.
- The ability for students to quickly have their work shown on the classroom’s LCD projector for class discussion.
Q. Does my child have to have a laptop?
A. Yes, all students at KAS in middle school (grades 6, 7, and 8) are required to have an Apple Mac laptop. All students at KAS in high school (grades 9 through 12) are required to have a laptop.
Q. Can I purchase the laptop from the school?
A. KAS is not currently offering a purchase from the school. When this was attempted in the past there was not enough of a price benefit or parent demand to justify coordination challenges of having the school purchase the laptops for the students.
Q. What laptop should my child get?
A. Students going in to grades 6, 7, and 8 will need a recent Apple laptop. If they are getting a new laptop that would be either the MacBook Air or MacBook Pro. We recommend the MacBook Air as it is less expensive and weighs less. The students won't be doing anything in class that requires the bulkier and faster MacBook Pro.
Students going in the grades 9, 10, 11, and 12 should have a laptop (either Apple or PC) with the following technical requirements:
Q. What are the technical requirements for student laptops?
A. Student laptops should meet the following technical specification:
- 1.6 GHz Processor or greater
- 2 GB RAM or better
- 64 GB Hard Drive (Flash Drive) or bigger
- Wireless modem (802.11g/n)
Q. What software is needed?
A. For middle school the students need iWorks from Apple and Microsoft Office for Mac. High school students should have Microsoft Office, but OpenOffice is a free alternative that would work as well.
Q. When should students get their laptops?
A. It would be good for the student to have the laptop for the summer so they can get used to using it before school starts. All students need to have their laptops before the start of the school year.
Q. Why Apple for middle school?
A. Three computing platform vendors replied to the requests for information around specific requirements of our educational computing needs: Acer, Lenovo and Apple. Written materials were submitted for review. The major considerations of this choice included the price, support (both technical and professional development), and technical considerations (including server design, client software and operating software).
In pilot implementations at all levels of the organization, the Apple environment has been proven to be:
- Durable and low maintenance
- Educationally appropriate
- Easy to use
- Popular with teachers and students
Apple is the world leader in one-to-one education, and is the only computer platform with a division dedicated to supporting schools in one-to-one integration. The MacBook is the computer of choice for many international schools due to the durability, reliability, ease of use, security and the wide array of software that comes with the Apple machines. Apple has also been able to offer a range of technical support and infrastructure upgrades that are far superior to what other suppliers were able to offer.
As students begin to understand how to use laptops for education a consistent platform helps minimize technical difficulties. By the time they reach high school students are expected to know how to use a laptop for school-related tasks reducing the need for a common platform.
Q. What happens if a student's laptop is broken or under repair?
A. The school has a few back-up MacBook laptops that can be used for a short period of time if a student's machine is out of action. The student will have to sign a check-out form accepting responsibility for the loaner laptop.
Q. What happens if a student forgets to bring the laptop to school?
A. Students will be required to sign a laptop check-out form to receive a loaner. It is vitally important that students remember to bring the laptop to school and they do so with a fully charged battery. Repeat offenders will need to explain their inability to bring their laptops to school to their school administrator.
Q. Are students blocked from playing games or visiting certain websites while at school?
A. While there are programs that you can install on your children's computer to limit their internet usage, the focus at KAS is education over censorship. Students are taught early on the importance of digital citizenship and reminded on a regular basis of the appropriate use of class time. Teachers are helping each other develop classroom management techniques and engaging lessons for this new technology. Administration is announcing and clarifying school policies with regards to acceptable use of technology and the consequences of misuse. All of these help us educate students and limit the need for censorship.
Q. What kind of monitoring will be done of student computer activities?
A. While at school teachers directly monitor student computer screens. We are also currently evaluating the use of monitoring software that will allow teachers to monitor students' screens from the teacher's computer while at school. This software is only available to schools.
Q. What can I do to monitor my child's computer activities away from school?
A. Laptops today have parental controls built in. For younger students' Apple MacBooks we recommend that parents create an administrative account for themselves and then create an account for their child. This administrator account should be protected by a password — and this password should never be shared with the child. There are other recommendations for making your student's Mac "kid friendly" here: http://osxdaily.com/2010/07/16/make-your-mac-kid-friendly/
Q. Can the KAS network handle the load of every student and teacher having a laptop?
A. The school has invested heavily in infrastructure to ensure that the network will be able to cope with the demands of all the students and staff having laptops that require network access. As there has been a gradual implementation, it has allowed us time to fully test the network to ensure that it will run smoothly when all users are online.