A suitable internet-capable device is a necessary stationery item for all students.
Students are now able to use a wide range of digital tools for reading, writing, designing, working with spreadsheets, doing Maths, answering questions, creating and researching on a daily basis.
Ownership of a personal device by students has been shown to bring a new level of motivation and engagement.
It will help to develop greater independence and improved critical thinking, and will provide new opportunities for collaboration and sharing.
Teachers share assignments directly with students who submit work and receive teacher feedback online. This work can also be shared with friends and whanau around the world!
Students will be well prepared to succeed when NZQA external examinations will become fully digital in 2018-2020.
The full integration of digital learning tools into our curriculum will help prepare our students to be responsible, safe and skilled users of digital technology in the digital world they are already part of.
Purchasing a device
We have worked with Cyclone computers to provide a package that we recommend due to the superior Accidental Damage Cover. This allows the customer to make up to 3 claims over 3 years without any excess payable as opposed to most other suppliers who only cover for 12 months, allow only one claim and require an excess payment. Cyclone computers sell through an online store only and you will need to login with the following details: https://byod.cyclone.co.nz/waitakerecollege Login: waitakerecollege Password: wcbyodWe strongly recommend that you take the following into account when selecting a device:
- Does it have accidental damage cover? This really is essential in case something breaks - eg the screen. How long is the cover for? (recommend 3 years) How many claims can be made? What is the excess? What is the cost of the cover?
- How current is the model of Chromebook or Laptop?
- Does it have a 3-year warranty? (However, cover is also provided under the Consumer Guarantees Act, that a device must be durable)
- Some providers offer a loan device if you need to claim under warranty or insurance which can be helpful.
- It is essential that all devices are kept within a protective case (even if they will be transported to and from school in a school bag)
What devices are not suitable?
Smartphones are not adequate for this type of learning.
IPads and tablets are also less useful than a device with a keyboard such as a Chromebook or laptop.
What Devices are suitable?
Devices will need to be equipped for typing and editing documents, manipulating photos, collaborating online and using Internet resources and tools.
Chromebooks or laptops are recommended for this type of learning.
Some specialist subjects use specific software like Photoshop, Garageband, Sony Vegas, Sketchup etc. These are paid applications that can be purchased and installed on a laptop but will not work on a Chromebook. However, in these areas, desktop computers with the software are available for students to use so a Chromebook will still be useful for completing homework on Google docs etc.
Key requirements: the device must be:
- Light and Portable
- Have a minimum screen size of 11.6”
- Have a keyboard.
- Have a battery that will last at least eight hours
* Please note that some Laptops and notebooks fall well short of this.
* It is not always possible for the school to provide charging facilities at school so devices must be brought to school after being fully charged at home each night
- Able to connect to the school's wireless network
- Robust and sturdy enough for school use
- Under warranty - to ensure that any failure of the hardware or components can be quickly remedied.
- Have a protective case
- Insured against loss or damage (including Accidental Damage Cover – 3 years, multiple claims recommended)
Please note that the school will guide students in keeping devices safe at school, but will not accept responsibility for any loss or damage.
Chromebooks or laptops?
Our experience has shown that an up to date chromebook is a good choice for Years 9 to 11, meeting all the specifications above. A chromebook may still be suitable for Years 12 to 13 if students are taking subjects which do not require specialist software or higher specifications. When buying a Chromebook in 2018, we recommend you get one with at least 4GB RAM.
When making the choice of device for Years 12-13, students and parents should consult the subject teachers of their chosen subjects and ask for advice. For some specialist subjects, a laptop with higher specifications would be an advantage, but is not an absolute requirement. Do pay attention to the amount of RAM the laptop has - the more RAM, the more capable the laptop is of completing complex operations - for example music, video, photo editing.
Families should also consider whether students will be studying at tertiary level in the future. A laptop may be more appropriate for tertiary study. However, some students report that the extra weight of a laptop can make it harder to carry around all day.
Students will be able to achieve much of what they need to, using online tools which are often free.Teachers can advise students of specialist software useful for particular subjects. It is important that the device have an up-to-date operating system, and the Google Chrome browser, which can be installed on any operating system free of charge. For specialist subjects where specific software like Photoshop, Garageband, Sony Vegas, Sketchup etc.is used, desktop computers with the software are available for students to use during class time.
We provide help to connect to the school network. Beyond that students need to take responsibility for their own devices for problem solving or troubleshooting.
If necessary you will need to refer to a technician or to the supplier where you bought the device.
We also make lockers available so that students can keep their devices secure.
If you are eligible for assistance from WINZ, we recommend you take confirmation of your child’s enrolment at Waitakere College if you wish to apply for assistance.