HCA’s Technology Department strives to always maintain a functioning tablet PC in the hands of each student by providing hardware service and software support on-site. When repairs are required, the failed/damaged unit is swapped with a refurbished unit.
Technology is having an impact on the teaching process, and mobile devices is just one (significant) component of change educators are adjusting to. We must recognize that technology is just a tool, and as such is something we are supporting and teaching our faculty how to integrate into their classroom curriculum and activities. All our devices are touchscreen devices that enable writing on digital documents. We believe this further enhances the learning experience by allowing multiple forms of input into a digital form.
While many publishers are moving towards a digital curriculum, we will be evaluating each subject area 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, so we are integrating them into classes, but physical textbooks will still be available as needed.
The laptop provided is an excellent educational tool that has a variety of applications in the classroom. It will provide students with easy access to online resources such as Microsoft Teams as well as the Hub, and we encourage them to frequently access both. The laptop is an excellent source for research and provides students with a mobile platform that facilitates their ability to generate academic content. Microsoft 365 gives students and teachers the ability to collaborate, organize, display, and assess academic work.
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 computer and the internet. We will also continue to learn from “best practices” of other schools that already have rigorous programs in place. In addition to our firewalls and full-time content filters, we have also implemented a program known as Class Policy to help keep students’ attention and monitor their activities while in class.
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. We have made two monitoring tools available to parents for their child’s device – apParent Online allows parents to proactively monitor and control the school-issued computer in real-time, Bark allows parents to proactively monitor social media interactions and online communications.
Students are to treat the school-issued laptop in a similar manner to their textbooks – they are responsible for their care and security. If a laptop is lost or damaged the student and parent will be responsible for the full cost of repair or replacement. All HCA issued laptops’ serial numbers are recorded and an HCA asset tag is located on each unit. Optional damage protection is available each year to families.
There will be consequences if a student does not bring their laptop 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 laptop to school daily.
Students have access to the internet any time they are on campus. They also can complete assignments while offline, at home, and then upload their work when they return to campus. Also, public libraries, most restaurants, coffee shops, and many other locations offer free internet access.
Much 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 recommended. 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. Protective covers are available from the school store.
The backup of important computer data is the responsibility of each student. With the school’s Microsoft 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 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.
We sometimes receive inquiries from parents about providing their child with a nonstandard device 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 by students at HCA. Here is 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 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 devices are not able to use our repair facility or loaner pool.
We carefully configure HCA computers to operate efficiently with our application software and in our networking environment. We provide a system that allows our issued laptops to be quickly reloaded in the aftermath of software or other issues. We are not able to provide this service for nonstandard devices.
All laptops will be distributed at appointed times for the start of each school year. Announcements will be sent before the start of school with details for student pick up of devices – typically one to two weeks before the first day of school.