Bring Your Own Laptop

Mater Dei has moved away from the one-to-one laptop scheme to a more flexible Bring Your Own Laptop (BYOL) program (Fall 2018 Incoming Freshmen (Class of 2022 and beyond).  The school’s one-to-one laptop scheme will come to an end in June 2018.  The school’s IT systems and infrastructure have been developed to be robust enough to manage this more flexible approach.  Staff are also being professionally developed to ensure a smooth transition within the classrooms.  To ensure minimal disruption and maximum coverage of learning the new approach will require that students have laptops with certain specifications (please see below).

The main idea is to move further into the digital learning age by facilitating the safe and productive use of electronic devices through the empowerment of students taking a more active ownership of their learning with their own laptops.  The new digital technology program means that the school will no longer be responsible for laptop maintenance and distribution.  The IT department’s primary focus will be directed toward expanding the school’s IT capacity by enhancing the school’s various digital systems through the development of infrastructure, school based applications, and programs.  In this way the IT department will be able to further enhance the school’s learning programs and administrative processes and practices, thereby permitting greater digital productivity within and beyond the classroom.

Student Laptop Program

Mater Dei Catholic’s student laptop program includes all grades 9-12. Every student is required to bring a laptop computer to school daily. We have prepared the following document in order to answer your questions.

What kind of computer should my child bring to school?

Mater Dei Catholic makes no specific requirements regarding brand, operating system (i.e., Windows vs. Macintosh), or configuration.  The most important question to ask when selecting a computer is what your child will use it for.  Most students at Mater Dei Catholic will use their computers for primary tasks: word processing; Internet searching; using the School’s learning management system called Schoology to access and post assignments, and participate in online discussions; data analysis; and creating multimedia projects.  Media-rich files use much more storage and memory than word-processed documents, and more memory than the baseline is recommended.

One of the most important features is extended battery life.  Students should plan to have a machine that can work over the course of the school day, and come to school with the ability to charge their computer, should the battery run out.  The School is unable to provide power cords for all models of laptop computers, though loaners for certain models are available in the Digital Lounge.

How often should software be updated?

Web-based software (such as Oracle Java, Adobe Flash & Acrobat Reader, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla FireFox, Apple Safari, and Google Chrome) should be updated as soon as an update is released.  Operating system updates and service packs should be downloaded and installed only at home, but also as soon as possible.  (Such updates utilize significant bandwidth and often render the computer unusable during the download.)  All software updates provide valuable and necessary security patches and are necessary to allow features to continue to operate properly.

Do I have to buy Microsoft Office?

Students are required to have the Microsoft Office software suite installed on their computers. Mater Dei Catholic School provides Microsoft Office to students at no charge.  Instructions for downloading and installing the software will be made available prior to the start of school.

Do I have to buy a new computer?

We realize that not everyone will be bringing a brand new computer to campus.  However, computers with less than the required specifications outlined in the chart above may not be able to connect to our network or run applications necessary in the classroom.  Be sure your older computer has the required capacity.

We also recommend students have a computer which meets Energy Star requirements.  If you are purchasing a new computer, we recommend you purchase as much memory (RAM) and hard drive space as you can comfortably afford. 4GB of RAM should be the minimum for a new computer.  Increasing to 8 GB for extended longevity is recommended (16GB of RAM is the best).  Hard drives should have a minimum of 128GB. We are not suggesting that you purchase a computer with faculties beyond your needs, but to keep in mind that your student’s computing needs may change and increase over time.

Is any technical support available on campus?

Mater Dei Catholic will provide students with instructions and assistance in connecting their laptops to our network, as well as try to answer some basic questions.  We will also provide access to the Digital Lounge HelpDesk technicians who can help students with minor problems during the school day.

However, due to staffing limitations, we are unable to provide extensive technical support and repair for your individual computer.

As was noted above in the table, we recommend that you consider purchasing an extended warranty with your computer as a hedge against future hardware or operating system issues. This is strongly suggested if the standard warranty period is one year or less for the computer you own or purchase.

How can students protect their computing device from theft or damage?

We believe students should have sturdy protective cases, and we recommend that students lock computers in their lockers when not using them.  Students should also be aware of their surroundings and keep their laptops safe in their backpacks.  We also encourage students to regularly back up data to a cloud-based service, such as their Microsoft OneDrive (at no cost with their educational Microsoft Office 365 account), and that they back up their personal data to their own cloud-based service (e.g., Dropbox, Google drive, Apple iCloud, etc.) or to an external storage device.  Additionally, students should have a means to back up their les and software on a regular basis.

Please check with your insurance agent in regards to home-owner’s insurance or an coverage plan that covers accidental damage, liquid damage, loss/theft, and malfunctions.