Bring Your Own Device » Device Requirements

Device Requirements

 
Device Requirements 2020-2021

As we enter the sixth year of our bring-your-own-device initiative, I want to let you know what we are finding to work best at helping our students and teachers be more efficient and productive. First, however, please allow me to give a little background on the initiative.
 
When we began discussing a 1-to-1 implementation model, we were focused on what device would work best for our needs. At the time, school districts all over the nation were touting their programs to put iPads in everyone’s hands. Chromebooks were just entering the fray and were gaining ground quickly due to their price. We became certain that putting an iPad in everyone’s hands would yield the results we were looking for. Then, one day we sat around talking and the lightbulb came on and we all realized that what we were talking about being able to do had exactly NOTHING to do with what device was in a student’s hands because what we were going to be asking students to do could be done across a variety of platforms. We surveyed students and found that the vast majority of them already had access to devices, and it dawned on us that it seemed ridiculous to ask them to buy something else if they already had something they could use. Long story short, thank God we figured that out sooner rather than later. Over the last 5 years we have met with multiple companies and our discussions have reaffirmed our decision; that our BYOD environment mirrored a “real-world” work environment.

That said, we are finding that some devices work better than others. For instance, our science department has consulted with colleges and has chosen a textbook company that aligns itself with the college texts. One component of the textbook resources is an online testing suite. We have found that iPads do not work with that particular aspect of the suite, and Chromebooks suffer from some of the same issues.

So – here are the devices we would recommend….
  • A tablet such as the Microsoft Surface with Windows 10 and a physical keyboard, or
  • A laptop – either Windows (Windows 8 or newer) or MacOS (no more than 8 years old).
 
Some of you are probably wondering where Chromebooks, iPads and other tablets fit into the picture: we are no longer recommending iPads and other (non-Windows) tablets. Unfortunately, these devices present some limitations that are difficult to overcome. These tend to be good for running a particular “app” but if we ask students to create with them they become somewhat cumbersome and that leads to frustration (which tends to interfere with the whole efficient and productive component we are trying to improve). If an app-based tablet is the only device available for your student, please make sure it also has a physical keyboard to make it as functional as possible when creating content.
 
Chromebooks have some of the same limitations, but if families determine that is the best course of action for their family, we help them find ways around those device hurdles whenever possible. It does present a challenge when we do some of our online assessment as the deployment of the lockdown browsers don’t always play nicely with the Chrome system, so they are not on the list of recommended devices.
 
We do a lot with the Google suite of apps, and your student will be given free access to Microsoft Office 365 so you don’t need any special software, although we highly encourage an up-to-date anti-virus program (check with your internet provider). If you should want device insurance, a quick Google search will yield a plethora of options.
 
Should you have any questions as you go through the process, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. You can contact Mr. David Shriver, Director of Technology, or myself, Craig Moss, Principal, and we will do our best to provide timely guidance. Our contact info is below.
 
Peace,
Craig Moss
 
Craig Moss: cmoss@stasaints.net 913-319-2422
David Shriver: dshriver@stasaints.net 913-319-2440