We do not specify a particular type of device; Apple/Android, tablet/notebook/phone. Being 'platform agnostic' enables families and students to choose the device that best meets the needs of the individual student. We are currently finding that while microsoft devices are good, their wi fi accessibility can be an issue when used in a full class activity.
For a portable device to be useful at school it needs to be able to use our wireless internet and run Google applications. Our schoolwide integration of Google Apps allows our students to access their work and email on any device that supports Google Chrome.
Recommendations for Electronic Learning Devices
The most important factors to consider when purchasing a device are: battery life. A device should last the school day without charging, be wireless, compact and durable. It is also worth noting that you get what you pay for.
Chromebooks rely on an internet connection to work. The software (apps) available all run through an internet connection. It is not possible to install additional software on a chromebook. Expect to pay between $350-$550.
A Compact Laptop
Laptops are a full computer, with a hard drive and the ability to install software, making them more versatile. Expect to pay between $500-$850 unless you choose to purchase an Apple device. Solid State drives are much faster than Hard Disk drives but add about $150 to the price of the laptop.
If your child has a tablet (eg ipad, android) they could still use this but there will be times when it will not be suitable for some learning activities.
Wireless: Must be dual-band capable, and state that it has a/g/n or a/b/g/n or a/b/g/n/ac
Battery Life: Should last 5-6 hours to be able to get through a school day without recharging.
RAM: Should be 4GB or more for a compact laptop or 2GB or more for a chromebook; more is better.
Weight: Should be light enough for your son/daughter to carry around all day, anything more than 1.5kg including the case might be too heavy.
CPU: Faster is usually better. Consider dual or quad core processors but these may also reduce battery life. Discuss your needs with the supplier.
Robustness: Your device should be strong enough to survive a fall onto a hard surface. A water resistant, padded neoprene pocket or similar will reduce the risk of damage in most cases.
Insurance: While we take care to protect student property, we cannot accept responsibility for devices lost or stolen, so make sure it is covered for these possibilities. We recommend you check that your household contents insurance policy covers accidental damage to a student device at school.
Warranty: Minimum warranty is 1 year.
Various suppliers offer packages that include a sturdy carry case. As deals become available they will be highlighted on this site.
Current options include IT Solutions who supply devices to the school and offer a 3 year guarantee. Check out the Northcote College deals here.