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Laptop Program FAQ

Below are some Frequently Asked Questions that parents and students may have about the program. If you cannot find an answer to a question you have then please send an email to Darryl Hobson the ICT Coordinator.

What does the laptop levy cover?

posted 7 Dec 2014, 04:20 by Darryl Hobson

Many may think that they are paying for a laptop over the three years that the levy is charged. The comment is made that they can buy a cheaper devise for thier son/daughter at a local computer retail shop. However, the cost of the laptop is NOT the only component of this charge. The laptop levy is used to cover the cost of the laptop as well as provide the following products and services:-
  • A three year warranty and accidental damage protection on the laptop.
  • Servers and infrastructure - this needs to be maintained in order to provide network connectivity and internet access.
  • Internet connection fees - I am sure all families who have internet access understand this cost.
  • Software - this is often a hidden cost. A computer without software is not much good and we need to licence the software used on the school laptops.
  • Support - this comes in the form of extra laptops for use while repairs are happening and also staffing a help desk to deal with day-to-day issues.

What are the rules for using the laptop?

posted 7 Dec 2014, 04:09 by Darryl Hobson

Before you can use a computer at the college you need to sign a form "Laptop Acceptance Form 201X". This is completed each year and signed by you. Each year we will update you on any changes to the program.
For a copy of the "Laptop Terms and Conditions" for the current year you can download it here.

What about social networking?

posted 7 Dec 2014, 04:03 by Darryl Hobson

Your son/daughter will most likely be using the internet to communicate with friends and friends of friends with various tools such as instant messenger services or facebook. I remember in my time it was the telephone - there will always be a demand to talk with friends. It is up to you as a parent at home to monitor this - best practice is to have the laptop in a common room so that you can see what is going on. At Northpine Facebook and other social media sites are blocked for all students except seniors as it can be a distraction in class when they need to be focused on other things. Remember that all this is monitored via our Netbox Blue internet connection.

What procedures are in place to protect the safety of my child while online?

posted 7 Dec 2014, 03:59 by Darryl Hobson

The internet at Northpine is all channeled through one computer called the proxy server. It has some software on it called NetBox Blue and this blocks inappropriate traffic and logs everything that passes through. Also there is a program that sits on the student laptop called the BIC Agent that redirects all internet traffic through the college's NetBox Blue server and in this way the internet traffic on the laptop is monitored and protected both at home and at school.
We also educate students on safe practices while online. These resources are available on the web so you as a parent can access them as well and reinforce safe practices. (http://www.cybersmart.gov.au/)

Will students be able to install other things on the laptop?

posted 7 Dec 2014, 03:54 by Darryl Hobson   [ updated 18 Feb 2015, 21:05 ]

The short answer is NO - students will not have full access rights to the local laptop BUT they can get support from teacher and ICT staff if additional educational software is needing to be installed. The main purpose of the school laptop is for school related work. There will be special cases and we are happy to deal with these as the need arises.

What software is on the computer?

posted 7 Dec 2014, 03:49 by Darryl Hobson

The OS is Windows 8.1 – Enterprise and the programs installed are:
  • Windows Security Essentials - antivirus software
  • Office 2013
  • BIC Agent - software that protects then internet connection on the laptop BOTH at home and school.
  • Other programs that are useful for all users such as LANSchool that is used by teachers to manage laptops in the classroom.
Optional installations are:-
  • Adobe Design Premium (Photoshop, Illustrator, etc)
  • AutoDesk CAD programs used in Graphics
  • Various educational applications for specific classes such as Graphmatica for senior Mathematics students.

What happens with the laptop over year end?

posted 7 Dec 2014, 03:03 by Darryl Hobson

The laptops need to be returned to the college so that they can be updated. The software needs to be updated and possibly the operating system.  Your son/daughter will receive the same laptop back at the start of the next year if they are in Year 7, 8, 10 and 11. Students in Year 9 will receive a new laptop for use in Year 10-12 and students in Year 12 have the option of buying out their laptop for a small charge after Awards Night in the year they finish.

Can I supply my own laptop for my son/daughter?

posted 7 Dec 2014, 02:59 by Darryl Hobson

No - In our experience with technology, it is not only the purchase price of the laptop but also the support that backs it that is very important. At this point in time it is not possible for us to support a wide variety of different machines. We want to focus on the educational benefits rather than the technical problems that arise from have multiple types of laptops in a classroom. Also the costs involved would be far more as there are software licensing options that we can access at a far better rate then families can. The model of the 1 to 1 program at Northpine currently is for the college to own the laptop and charge parents a levy for the services needed to supply and operate this laptop. Will this always be the best answer? NO. However, currently it is the best model for Northpine to follow.

Why a laptop program?

posted 7 Dec 2014, 02:55 by Darryl Hobson

Today's world is different to the one we grew up in and we need to make sure that our children have the tools they will need in this ICT rich society. We cannot sustain this access with the way things were done in the past. A new model of giving more access to students MUST be put into place and so at Northpine we have chosen to use a school owned but student issued laptop program.

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