HCA’s technology department strives to maintain a functioning tablet PC in the hands of each student at all times by providing hardware service and software support on site. Surface Pro 3 units are not field-serviceable. When hardware repairs are required, the failed/damaged unit is swapped with a refurbished unit.
Technology as a whole is having an impact on the teaching process, and mobile devices such as the Microsoft Surface is just one (significant) component of change educators are adjusting to. We have to recognize that technology is just a tool, and as such is something we are supporting and teaching our our faculty how to integrate into their classroom curriculum and activities.
It is likely that we will have a mix of digital and printed textbooks in use for the next several years. While many publishers are moving towards a digital curriculum, we will be evaluating each subject area during their curriculum renewal phase to ensure we are providing the best resources for our students. Digital texts do offer advantages that need to be considered such as access to video clips and tutorials as well as availability anywhere students have internet access.
The Surface is an excellent educational tool that has a variety of applications in the classroom. It will provide students with easy access to Moodle as well as RenWeb, and we encourage them to frequently access both accounts. The Microsoft Surface is an excellent source for research, and provides students with a mobile platform that facilitates their ability to generate academic content. Microsoft Office 365 gives students and teachers the abilities to collaborate, organize, display, and assess academic work. In the past year, we have used OneNote Class Notebook to great success and will continue to implement new and exciting best practices.
HCA already has a variety of firewalls in place to provide students with safe access to the internet at school. In addition, we will be training students regarding appropriate use of both the Surface and the internet. We will also continue to learn from “best practices” at other schools that already have rigorous programs in place. In addition to our firewalls, we have also implemented a program known as Class Policy to help keep students’ attention and monitor their activities.
HCA encourages parents to have a dialog with their student at home regarding the appropriate use of technology – when it should be used, for what purposes, and where in the house it may be used. We also suggest parents regularly monitor their students’ online activity and maintain access to their accounts as a precaution.
Students are to treat the Microsoft Surface in a similar manner to their textbooks – they are responsible for their care and security. If a Microsoft Surface is lost or damaged the student and parent will be responsible for the full cost of repair or replacement. All HCA issued Microsoft Surfaces serial numbers are recorded and an HCA asset tag is located on each unit.
There will be consequences if a student does not bring their Microsoft Surface to class, much like there would be a consequence if they were to not bring their textbook or anything to write with. One of our goals is to ensure students develop the responsibility to come prepared to learn each day, and one key aspect will be for them to bring a fully-charged Surface to school on a daily basis.
Students have access to the internet any time they are on campus. They also have the ability to complete assignments while offline, at home, and then upload their work when they return to campus. Also, public libraries, most restaurants, many coffee shops and many other locations offer free internet access.
HCA recognizes that the world our students are preparing to enter is drastically different than the world we grew up in, and in some ways will be quite different than the world we are now familiar with. When our current seniors were born there was no such thing as an iPad or a Microsoft Surface, and e- books were still a thing of the future. Not only do we have the desire to prepare our students to use technology as a productivity tool, but we feel the responsibility to educate them to consider the appropriate use of any tool they are using.
A majority of the damage and other problems with student tablet PCs are the result of mishandling, dropping, and abuse. Keeping the computer in the protective cover is required. We also strongly recommend against stuffing tablet PCs into backpacks and book bags where they are subject to crushing by other heavy items in those bags. Tablet PCs that are dropped or otherwise impacted when not inside a protective cover are likely to suffer significant, expensive damage to the screen and/or case.
HCA will supply a protective cover with each Surface Pro 3. We require carrying the Surface Pro 3 in its cover at all times, separately, or placing the case inside a backpack if that backpack is otherwise lightly loaded.
A majority of the damage and other problems with student tablet PCs are the result of mishandling, dropping, and abuse. Having an external keyboard serves two purposes, it protects the screen of the tablet as well it improves accuracy and speed of input when using the tablet.
HCA will supply a “type cover keyboard” with each Surface Pro 3. We require carrying the Surface Pro 3 in its cover, with the keyboard attached, at all times, separately, or placing the case inside a backpack if that backpack is otherwise lightly loaded.
Backup of important computer data is the responsibility of each student. With the school's Microsoft Office 365 subscription, Microsoft provides each user with 1 terabyte of cloud storage on Microsoft's OneDrive. Students must back up their data to the cloud, including school-related documents as well as music and video collections. Tablet PCs may be lost or stolen, and hard drives may fail. In either case your data will be irretrievably lost if it is not backed up. HCA does not provide local server-based storage for students.
Yes. There are many wireless access points on the market that are designed for home use. These work best with broadband Internet connections. It is important to set up these devices correctly in order to not disrupt your child’s ability to connect to the network at school. We also strongly recommend that the wireless access point that you purchase include firewall functionality. A popular option today for home printing is a Wi-Fi enabled printer that can be accessed by all computers on a home network. You will want to set up a WPA2-encrypted wireless network with a pre-shared key (WPA2-Personal).
We sometimes receive inquiries from parents about providing their child with a nonstandard Surface or computer purchased outside of HCA. Usually this is because of a perceived lower cost of doing so. We do not permit the use of nonstandard computers or Surfaces by students at HCA. Here’s why:
The level of collaboration and authentic, engaged use of technology at HCA is second to none. Standard tablet PC hardware running a fully functioning operating system is a major driver in our world-renowned learning environment.
The perceived lower cost is illusory based on the lack of an “apples-to-apples” comparison. HCA tablet PCs are bundled with specific software needed to operate in our environment. We provide significant value-added services in the area of maintenance and support. Purchasing these items separately always results in a higher total cost than the HCA bundle.
It is important to understand that with all portable devices, breakage and repairs are facts of life. We have structured our repair services at HCA to maximize convenience and minimize downtime. Students having nonstandard Surfaces are not able to use our repair facility or loaner pool.
We carefully configure HCA Surfaces to operate efficiently with our application software and in our networking environment. We provide a system that allows our issued Surfaces to be quickly reloaded in the aftermath of software corruption. We are not able to provide this service for nonstandard Surfaces.
A technology fee of $250 must be paid by each student. The first payment of $125.00 is billed on July 20th and must be paid before the tablet is issued. The second payment of $125.00 will be billed on October 20th.