FAQ for MWPS 1:1 Program

How often will the laptop be used during school time?

The laptop is used as a learning tool, a computer is used when it can enhance the engagement and learning of a lesson. It will not replace the use of all the concrete tools we currently use in class like books, pen, paper and art materials. The students will continue to use paper and pencil for the majority of the lesson. Most lessons incorporate the use of paper and pencil as well as a laptop (only where it enhances the learning intention.) At MWPS computers are not just used because they are there it is strictly a learning tool used when it can enhance a particular lesson.

Can students bring their own laptops from home instead?

Students may bring their own laptop from home. It must meet the specifications provided on the Purchasing Information page on this blog and they will be provided with internet access only. The school will provide a list of software and this will be need to be installed at home.

Why have these devices been chosen? 

We researched a number of devices and suppliers and come to this decision based on:

  • Size, portability and weight
  • The range of devices available from one supplier
  • The appropriate specifications to run the software needed for the three year period
  • Local supplier and warranty support
  • Compatibility with the DEECT systems at MWPS

In addition to the hardware, this package provides students with the necessary software, support and warranty. The package is approximately 60% cheaper than the retail price which does not include software or onsite support.

Where will the laptop be stored during recess and lunchtimes?

When the device is not in use, students will keep their laptops securely locked in each classroom or specialist room. There will also be a lockable area in After Care for students to store their laptops. Students should keep their laptops in a safe and secure place as determined by their parents while at home.

Laptops are not to be taken outside during recess or lunchtime breaks. An unattended laptop found around buildings or school grounds will be picked up by a staff member and given to Mr Boyle (1:1 Coordinator). The owner will be required to have a meeting with Mr Boyle before it is returned. This will take the form of a reminder about security and keeping our personal items safe at all times.

Who is going to handle warranties and repairs?

The protection warranty provides the student with on-site repairs for the duration of the contract. It is a comprehensive warranty that covers most repairs that occur in a school environment. If you elect to purchase a laptop from elsewhere, you will be responsible for organising your own warranty.

What happens with theft and non-warranty repairs?

If the laptop is intentionally damaged, lost or stolen and said damage is not covered by the manufacturer’s warranty, the principal of the school may determine that the student must pay the cost of repairing the damage or if necessary the costs of replacing the device.

Will extended use of the laptop be harmful to the eyes?

Like all technical devices with backlit screens it is important to manage and monitor daily ‘screen time’. The laptop can be adjusted for brightness to suit personal preferences. Not all school related work will be completed on the laptop so there will always be a balance at school and it is important to be aware of this at home.

Year 4-6 teachers of 1:1 classrooms as of next year will be provided with expectations of screen time and how it should include a balance, as it is very important to us at MWPS that a computer is not used as a replacement tool only an enhancing one.

Will the student files on the laptops be private?

Students can expect their laptops to be periodically inspected and monitored for appropriate usage. School personnel may request access to the browser history and/or caches as well as any and all files belonging to the student resident on the laptops as well as stored on the school servers. Students and parents need to be aware that files stored locally on the laptops or on school servers may be accessed by staff as appropriate. This is in accordance with the ICT agreement signed at the beginning of each school year.

What software will be on the laptops?

The DEECD has researched and designed a standard image for school computers, which incorporates both DEECD-licensed and free open source software. It is envisaged that this comprehensive software will meet the needs of students over the life of the laptop; however the school may load additional software to meet their needs subject to appropriate copyright and licensing laws. Students who bring laptops from other suppliers will be required to install their own software from the list provided.

What about flat batteries? Will students ‘plug in’ in the classrooms?

Students are expected to charge the laptop overnight and to bring it fully charged to school each day, leaving the charger at home. Students will not be permitted to charge their laptop at school. The laptop battery lasts approximately eight hours before needing recharging; this will be sufficient for student use during the school day.

What does it mean to ‘reimage’ a laptop?

Reimaging a computer wipes out everything on the laptop and installs a new software image. The laptop is set up again, just like the first time the student received it. This will only be done by a staff member. This will clear data from the hard disk so it is the responsibility of the student to backup and restore any of their documents, music, pictures and home network settings on a regular basis.

How will teachers be trained and supported?

Teachers have completed the ePotential ICT Capabilities Survey and set ICT professional learning goals as a result. Peer support is a strong element for success and teachers will be involved in mentoring and coaching each other to complement their growing ICT capabilities.

As of 2017, teachers will be given documentation, resources as well as a FAQ and Professional Learning on the expectations of the 1:1 program at MWPS. The new curriculum includes for the first time Digital Technologies. We will be providing all staff with a scope and sequence of the skills that students should be taught throughout their Primary School journey.

Students are also encouraged to show leadership in the classroom in supporting their teachers and classmates when learning about ICT.

What impact will this have upon consumables such as paper and printers etc.?

We believe that personal devices can actually relieve the need for extra printing. Given that the device is personal and is for the use of a sole student at home and at school, the student is able to share and display their work in a digital format more often. Printing often occurs because students are sharing devices. Students print so that they have hard evidence of their learning to share with others. Digital presentation can be a more engaging and cost effective way to share work, however, we will use a balance of both.

How can students access the internet from home?

Home internet connection is not supplied by the school or DEECD. There is no mandated expectation that internet access is available at home. If there is an existing internet provision at home, the laptop is able to be configured for access.

How can Laptops be used at home?

Below we have listed some tasks that your child may wish to engage in at home.

Examples of home use for which internet access would not be required include:

  • using any of the Microsoft applications or open source software provided
  • using any subject-specific software
  • working with word documents, audio, picture or video files on the laptop.

Examples of home use for which internet access would be required include:

  • using online collaborative websites such as class blogs, wikis and potential online conferences
  • using student email and Office 365/Google Apps
  • using online resources such as digital learning objects located in DigiLearn
  • completion of home tasks using online resources.

What about safe internet use?

Teachers will supervise students as they would for any learning activity as they create and maintain a safe, comfortable and learning-focused classroom. Students will continue to be bound by the guidelines outlined in our ICT Acceptable use policy. Appropriate use of the internet service within the DEECD network is closely monitored by a filtering system. This does not apply to use of laptops outside of the school network. Education and support are important for maintaining acceptable use of technology. It is important that teachers, students and parents share the responsibility to ensure safe and responsible use of technology at all times.

The school monitors usage at school, but who monitors it at home?

That is the responsibility of the parents. When off school grounds, parents have full authority to monitor laptop usage. Examples of this include:

  • encourage use in a family room or public area and not in the bedroom
  • restrict use at certain times of the evening or weekend and examine the documents and other contents of the laptop.

We will continue to put tips in the school newsletter on this topic.

Can students install their own software?

Due to potential malware and security threats, students will not be able to install software.

What about peripherals? External mouse, speakers, USB’s etc.?

Students are welcome to purchase and use peripherals for home and school use. One of the benefits of this device is its portability. For this reason we would discourage too many extras being used at school. Our experience suggests that students in Years 4-6 generally have little problem using the in built mouse, however it is a personal preference and students may bring an external mouse.

Will children be safe carrying laptops?

Research has shown that insurance companies have reported very few incidents while students travel to and from school. Students should be specifically warned not to take the laptops out in public, and to carry them in a protective cover, which should be placed within their school bags. Theft whilst a student is travelling to or from school, however very unlikely, is covered if you have elected to take out the accidental damage and theft policy.

Are these laptops going to add to the heavy loads students carry from home to school?

We believe the laptops chosen are light enough for students to carry without incurring problems. The laptop will alleviate the need for students to carry much in the way of extra books, reducing the weight of other items students need to carry to school. Bags should be carried using both straps over the shoulders and correctly adjusted to evenly distribute the weight of school bags.

The laptop should not be packed into the bottom of an oversized backpack with other books and items, because this can lead to a compression fracture of the screen.

What if my question isn’t answered here?

We welcome additional questions via email or make an appointment with Tom Boyle at the following boyle.tom.t@edumail.vic.gov.au

In conclusion, detailed research and planning has gone into the creation of this program. This has included a school funded Year 6 trial over the last two years. Our focus is on the potential of these connected and mobile tools for learning. If we get stuck trying to make the device only replicate current practice then we will only see a small amount of its capability. The rapid evolution of technology is challenging educators to rethink the role of technology to support and enhance learning. We are aiming for a deeper understanding for our learners and providing them with the tools and skills they needed to deepen their learning and become digital literate students in this every changing society we live in.

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