Senior School 1-to-1 FAQ for Parents

Over the past decade the College has embraced a variety of technology related developments to ensure that we keep pace with the ever changing world in which we and our students live and work. At the beginning of 2014, the College moved to the next stage of this programme by providing all high-school students with a laptop computer for use at school and at home. This initiative has seen every student in Years 7-12 receive a new laptop computer loaded with relevant software and textbooks.

Understandably parents and students have many questions about the implementation of this programme so we have compiled a list of the common questions and their answers below.

Why are we doing this?
We believe that technology provides new opportunities to engage and educate students that have not before been possible. Ubiquitous access to technology will also make it easier for our teachers to meet and exceed the requirements of changing curriculums as well as allowing us to prepare students for work or further studies beyond their time here at Arndell.

What kind of laptop will my child be provided with?
The College has selected the Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon and Thinkpad Yoga for the program. The laptop has the following technical specifications:

  • 128GB solid state disk
  • 8GB of RAM
  • Intel i5 processor
  • 3 year warranty
  • 1.36 kgs
  • 8 hour battery (sub1ject to usage patterns)
  • Durable carbon fiber chasis
  • Microsoft Windows 7 operating system
  • Microsoft Office productivity suite
  • Adobe Creative Suite

How much does the laptop weigh?
The laptop we have selected is 1.36 kgs in weight. The laptop and carry case combined weighs much less than the textbooks students have to carry around now.

How long will the battery last?
The laptop we have selected has a battery life of around 7 hours. The number of hours of usage from a battery also depends on the type of usage. We've selected a laptop with a battery that lasts for as long as a school day under normal usage today. With a full charge the night before, every student’s laptop should be able to last the whole day. Students will therefore not be permitted to charge their laptops in classrooms. Charging stations will be available in the library for students to charge their laptops during break times.

Can my child use a personal laptop other than the College provided laptop at school?
Unfortunately not. You can think of the laptop as part of the school uniform. In the same way students aren’t allowed to wear jeans to school instead of the school trousers or skirts, students will not be permitted to bring a laptop to school other than the College provided one. This ensures all students have equal access to technology and that our IT staff and systems can more easily cope with the demand of the programme.

Will students be able to access their textbooks with the laptop?
Yes. To minimise the financial burden of the programme for parents, the College has provided access to as many textbooks as possible through the College intranet in electronic format. If particular textbooks cannot be loaded onto the College intranet for licensing reasons then students have been provided with alternative means of accessing these, e.g. through a publisher’s website.

What software is installed on the laptop?
The laptops come installed with productivity software such as Microsoft Office, multimedia software such as the full Adobe Creative Suite as well as many other applications specific to different subject areas.

Can my child install new software on their laptop?
It depends. At this stage, students in the senior year groups may be given elevated access to their laptop at some point in the future, allowing them to install relevant software. This comes with certain responsibilities however. A final decision with respect to this has not been made yet.

Can my child store purchased music, videos and other multimedia content on their laptop?
So long as students have legally acquired a license to music, videos or other multimedia content and could prove as such if asked to by the College then there is no problem.

What support are teaching staff to be provided with to make the most of the laptop programme?
Teaching staff will be provided with regular, scheduled training sessions on using different technology tools and software. Some of this training will be pedagogically focused as well.

Are laptops used in every lesson?
No. The laptop is just one tool in the educator’s toolbox and so will only be required when the classroom teacher feels that it is appropriate.

Will end of year exams be conducted using laptops?
External exams such as the Higher School Certificate will be completed with pen and paper for the foreseeable future. Until that changes the College will continue to conduct written exams.

Will we have to contribute to the student notebook programme and if so then how much?
To ensure the long-term sustainability of the programme parents will be required to make a contribution to the programme by way of a technology levy currently set at around $175 per term. The cost of this levy is offset by parents no longer having to purchase textbooks which can cost up to as much as $500 per year.

Are the laptops insured?
Yes, the laptops will be insured for accidental damage and loss. A small excess of $150 is payable in the event of accidental damage. A larger excess of $350 is payable in the event of the total destruction or complete loss of the laptop. 

Can my child take the laptop with them on an overseas holiday?
This should not be a problem provided you first obtain the express authorisation of the College. When travelling overseas you should ensure that the laptop is covered by your travel insurance in the event of damage or loss.

What happens if my child loses their laptop or it is stolen?
If the laptop is lost or stolen then students will be provided with a short-term loan device. NSW Police will need to be notified in the event of the laptop being stolen while outside the College campus. An incident number will need to be provided to the College. An excess of $350 will be chargeable to replace the laptop.

Who owns the laptop?
The finance company used by the College retains ownership of the laptop at all times.

How long will my child have to keep their laptop?
Depending on which year level a student is in they will keep the laptop for between two and three years. Eventually all students will keep their laptop for two years but it will take a few years to reach this stage. This ensures students will always have a reliable, functioning laptop.

Can we purchase the laptop at the end of the two or three year period or when my child leaves the school?
Unfortunately no. The laptops are leased and as such need to be returned to the leasing company at the loan period.

Does the laptop have to be taken home every day?
Yes. For reasons of security and so that students can prepare for school each day by fully charging their laptop it is a requirement that students bring their laptops home with them every day.

Will use of the laptop be monitored at school and at home?
All internet use both onsite and offsite is logged and filtered for access to inappropriate content. A report listing is automatically generated each day listing students who have attempted to access restricted content. Any incidents are followed up through the appropriate channels.

What happens if the laptop stops working?
The IT Services department is responsible for resolving issues with student laptops and other technology at the College. Technical support is provided to students before school, after school and at recess and lunch-time. If an issue with a student laptop cannot be resolved straight away and it is preventing the student from completing their schoolwork then the student will be provided with a temporary spare.

How can I find out more about the programme?
Further information will be provided at the laptop handout evening in the first teaching weeks of Term 1 each year. If you have any further questions relating to the programme then you can also contact Mr. Nathan Mares Head of IT Services at the College on 02 4572 3633.