A parent’s guide to netbook use at school and home
In 2011 Students in selected year levels at the Grange P-12 College have been chosen to participate in one of the most exciting educational programs available today, a project that will see each participating student provided with their own netbook computer.
As part of The Grange P-12 College "Gel Ignite 1 to 1 Netbook Program" almost 400 students at the Grange will receive a netbook, a small portable computer, for use at school and at home.
Information on caring for the netbooks, their educational benefits and the opportunities they present to your child are detailed below.
You will also receive a letter explaining how your school will manage payment, insurance, warranties and repairs.
What is a netbook?
A 21st century education tool, the netbook is a small computer weighing just over 1kg that fits into a standard schoolbag.This exciting education revolution will allow students to further their learning through technology at school and at home. Along with their netbook, students will also receive a protective cover and power cord.
What can a netbook do?
Netbooks provide anytime, anywhere access to information and learning.
Through a netbook, a student can complement learning that takes place in the classroom using software programs, referring to resources that have been downloaded onto the netbook, or working with audio, picture or video files that have been saved. Students will have broadband internet access at school. You do not need internet access at home for your child to use the netbook.
How much will it cost?
Victorian Government subsidies mean families will be able to access a netbook with 80 educational software programs, a warranty, insurance and technical support for $200 a year.
How was the brand of netbooks chosen?
Acer and Lenovo were selected as suppliers through a tender process that showed those companies to be best placed to supply technically superior, cost-effective, reliable and durable netbooks. The models selected are portable, lightweight and comfortably fit inside a standard schoolbag.
Can we personalise the netbook?
Permanent changes to the netbook, such as engraving, marking, painting or drawing will not be permitted as the repair process may involve the swapping of hard drives into different cases. However, your child may load software on to the netbook as long as copyright and licensing laws are followed, and there is sufficient memory available for schoolwork.
We already have a laptop. Can my child use that?
Your child will be required to use a school-supplied netbook. Privately sourced computers are not covered
by the school’s software licensing agreements or repair contracts, and may be a source of viruses. Only school supplied netbooks can be configured to the school network. The netbooks are meant to be a companion device to whatever computer your child may have at home, not a replacement.
How do we look after the netbook?
Encourage your child to store the netbook in its protective cover and avoid packing it at the bottom of a schoolbag where heavy books and other items may cause the screen to crack. Care should be taken to avoid dropping the netbook, or spilling drinks or food on it. Students should avoid displaying or using their netbook in public to reduce the risk of theft or damage. The College has processes in place to deal with deliberate damage. As the approved suppliers for the project, Acer and Lenovo will conduct
all repairs. More information on the repair process, together with greater detail on costs, warranty and insurance arrangements are included in a separate information sheet. Students are responsible for backing-up their school and personal files. Students should be encouraged to frequently back up their information to a USB stick and keep it in a safe place.
What educational benefits do netbooks provide?
Netbooks complement the existing school curriculum by providing digital learning tools that link in with planned classroom activities. Wireless access points at schools will foster collaboration and teamwork, allowing students to search for information together and share the learning experience.
Netbook use in the classroom will evolve as students and teachers become familiar with the new tools. For example, we may soon see a class where students create a podcast of their original poetry, accompanied by a soundtrack they have written and enhanced with their own digital images to share with the world.
Your school will provide a letter explaining leasing fees for the netbook. Other costs associated with the netbooks will depend on how they are used at home, how well they are cared for and your choice of home
electricity plan. Research shows netbooks are more energy efficient to run than desktop computers.
What can be added to a netbook?
Schools and students may load additional software on to the netbook, subject to appropriate copyright and
licensing laws. Music and movies are also allowed for academic and recreational reasons, provided copyright obligations are met. It is your child’s responsibility to ensure there is enough hard drive space and memory to participate in class activities. Downloading music, games, and videos from the internet during school hours is prohibited except when directed by a staff member. If a game or scenario software is used by a class for academic purposes, the school will purchase licenses and install the software for student use. Your child does not need broadband access at home to participate in the Netbook Project. Students can use their netbook to work with files and software already loaded on the computer, or saved on a USB stick, without connecting to the internet.
How can we ensure students don’t
misuse the netbooks?
The college will provide parents with information about supervised internet use, best academic uses, copyright and plagiarism. The College will also routinely inspect students’ netbooks to ensure appropriate use. Parents and students should also be aware that files stored on the netbooks or on the school’s server are not private. To help reduce inappropriate use, parents and students will be asked to sign a User Agreement before being issued with a netbook. The agreement sets out your child’s responsibilities in relation to taking home a school owned netbook. The college also has procedures in place to ensure students use their netbooks appropriately. It is important that teachers, students and parents share the responsibility to ensure safe and appropriate use of the netbooks at all times. Parents have full authority to restrict the use of the netbook outside the school grounds.
This may include:
• letting your child use the netbook in family areas rather than their bedroom
• restricting use of the netbook to certain times of the evening or weekend
• encouraging your child to share the documents and contents of the netbook with you.