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Laptop Initiative FAQs

 

Why has Notre Dame chosen to do the 1:1 Laptop Initiative?

The Academy of Notre Dame de Namur has a long tradition of excellence in preparing young women for the future. And for that future, Notre Dame’s goal is to “Create a rigorous academic environment that recognizes the unique potential of each student, encourages scholarship, instills self-confidence, and inspires leadership.” The 1:1 Laptop Initiative is employed to enhance curriculum, not to supersede it. With each student and faculty member using the same device, class time is more productive and efficient, giving both teachers and students more time to focus on critical thinking, collaboration, discussion, and questions.


Further, it does not supplant the Academy’s expectations of students to acquire verbal, written and quantitative skills that are a critical part of a complete learning experience. We believe it is our responsibility to adopt 21st century technology tools in support of teaching, learning and communication. Students will also learn how to determine when technology use is appropriate, and how to become responsible digital citizens. Laptops give every girl equal access to technology, encouraging each student to be an active participant in her own education.

In this context, we believe that laptops are powerful tools that help us:

  • To create more personalized learning opportunities for our students and for faculty to develop more student-centered teaching and learning strategies.
  • To provide mobility for students and faculty through devices as they move through the learning environment and always have the technology resources at their fingertips.
  • To aid students in the development of 21st century skills such as critical thinking, adaptability, collaboration, problem solving, and creativity.
  • To provide connectivity, wireless and wired, for students and faculty in all locations and available at all times, and connectedness to academic resources, research information, and communications tools.

Why Apple MacBook Air laptop?

Notre Dame has chosen as its standard the Apple MacBook Air. The MacBook Air is a thin and light laptop. It is designed by Apple to be powerful, capable, durable, and enjoyable to use. It has a battery life of 12 hours under normal conditions. It has flash memory — solid state with no moving parts. For the full technical specifications, link to http://www.apple.com/macbook-air/specs.html

MacBooks have been on the market for many years and have gone through many revisions and design updates. The MacBook, along with Apple's reputation for customer service and customer experience, has consistently ranked high in technology publications and online reviews. Apple computers are more stable and are less prone to viral attacks. The Operating System is easy to install and manage with other devices and makes sharing files easy. Apple pays special attention to the user interface on their laptops, making it a very intuitive and clear experience. The Academy can more easily manage MacBooks and the Apple environment than having a variety of devices from different vendors, and classroom time will be employed more efficiently and effectively.

In a survey of Notre Dame students on February 11, 2016, students were asked what devices they use currently at school and home, and what device they would choose for next year if they could choose one device. Seventy-seven percent reported currently using an Apple MacBook, and 86% reported they would choose a MacBook for next year.

In addition, Apple has had decades of experience in the field of education and a wide network of professionals that can integrate with our staff to help in the training and implementation of the program. The MacBook Air easily syncs with iTunes, Apple’s App Store, and other Apple devices that many of our students have. For more information on Apple's involvement in education visit: http://www.apple.com/education.


What is the cost to parents?

Our goal is to keep the cost of the total laptop package as low as possible while balancing cost with program needs. In the first year of the program, MacBook Air laptops will be issued to each student. The cost will be included within the tuition. The total package includes an Apple MacBook Air laptop computer with wireless capability, software, a cover, and a three-year warranty on parts and labor.

Can parents let their daughters use a laptop they already own?

No. We know from our own research and the experience of other schools that it is essential for both the faculty and students to use the laptop model selected by Notre Dame. This consistency maximizes the flexibility and capability of the laptops. It allows the efficient interchange of programs, documents, and applications that is key to learning with laptops. In addition, it ensures that the school can provide appropriate technical support. Already-owned laptops are not configured to the school network, and are not licensed to use the school’s software image or school-licensed software.


Will the laptops need to be replaced?

All student laptops will be covered by both the manufacturer’s warranty and insurance. From the time of the initial purchase, the laptop is intended to last a minimum of three years. Experience shows that repairs and parts replacement tend to rise significantly after three years. Since the school is leasing the laptop, replacements will take place to insure that the student will have a laptop until graduation.

What about repairs?

Every student will be given clear guidelines on how to maintain the laptop to keep it in proper working order. The laptop brand/model we have selected is durable and well tested. If a laptop needs repairs, Notre Dame will attempt to repair it on campus or, if needed, send it to the manufacturer. The laptop's warranty covers all parts and service. In the event of repairs, loaner laptops will be available. All school laptops are covered by a three-year warranty. Any hardware fault is covered under this warranty.

How long do the batteries last?

The Apple MacBook Air (13” screen) has an expected battery life of 12 hours, a significant increase over previous generations. Students are encouraged to re-charge their laptop batteries every evening.

What happens if the student has a problem with her laptop?

An important component of the technology program at NDA is to provide a strong technical infrastructure so that students and faculty members have the support they need for their laptops. Our wireless network allows access from all buildings and many outdoor areas on the campus. We will have laptop support that is staffed at two levels: 1) a student program for first level support, and 2) professional technical staff that will provide support for higher level issues.

What about issues like theft or accidental damage?

Owning a laptop is a big responsibility, and we know that Notre Dame students can learn to care for their laptops responsibly. Every student is given clear guidelines regarding what to do to ensure her laptop is well maintained. Responsible Use Policy will cover issues like appropriate use of laptops on campus, storage of laptops at an after-school activity, the consequences for leaving a laptop unattended, and procedures for minimizing the risk of loss and theft. All students and their parents receive a copy of this policy.

Additional insurance for theft or accidental damage will be provided by the school. Their insurance carries a $100 deductible that must be covered by the family of the student in the event of an incident.

How much does the laptop weigh?

A little less than 3 pounds.

What investment is the school making?

The Academy has committed significant resources to ensure the successful use of laptops in the classroom. As a direct investment in each student’s learning experience, we know that it will provide exceptional and lasting educational benefits. The school has invested in a wireless network, in on-site service, in a loaner pool of laptops, in staffing needs, and in a sound technical infrastructure. The school will continue to provide all of the software your daughter will need for her classes, invest in faculty laptops, and in training for students and professional development for faculty.

What happens if students forget to bring their laptops to school, or forget to charge them fully the night before?

Please remember, and help students to remember, that the laptop is a tool and not itself the center of the learning process. As is the case with any tool—a calculator, a textbook, or for many of us, a cell phone—if a student forgets it, it could indeed be a great inconvenience and appropriate consequences can result. Learning will not stop however; students will be able to take notes on paper, and they can share a peer’s computer during research time, etc. Loaner laptops will only be available for students whose laptops are being repaired.

How are the MacBooks managed outside of school?

Outside of the school, MacBook usage is managed by the parents/guardians. Examples of appropriate monitoring at home include using the computer in the family room instead of bedrooms, restricting usage to certain times of the day, or observing documents and other content on the MacBook. We ask that parents/guardians do not install parental controls directly onto the computer since this will interfere with the Academy’s ability to manage and update the hardware and software. You are encouraged to update filters on your home network if desired.  

How does the laptop initiative impact the high school seniors?

All Notre Dame students, including seniors, will be receiving a school-issued Macbook next year. At the conclusion of their senior year, students are expected to return their Macbook in working order; any returned laptops damaged beyond traditional wear-and-tear must pay the insurance deductible prior to receiving diplomas.

What if I have a question in regards to the laptop initiative that has not been answered here?

Any questions regarding the 1:1 laptop program should be directed to the Director of Academic Technology at edutech@ndapa.org.   


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