How will we pay for it? There will be a Technology Fee estimated at no more than $600 a year due every May beginning with the first payment due in early May. Parents can choose to prepay the fee for all 4 years for no more than $2,000, also due in May. Confirmation of exact costs and model information will be available in April. The mailing in April will also include a Technology Fee Contract, computer Responsibility Statement, and Acceptable Use Policy which must be signed and accompany the payment.
What if we can’t afford it? There is aid available based on the same criteria as the tuition financial aid. No family will have to make the decision to not attend St. Ursula because they can’t afford the Technology Fee. Any family requesting financial aid for the laptop program must submit the financial aid application which is available on–line at: http://www.saintursula.org/admissions/SUAFinancialAidForm.pdf
What is included? A computer, external battery with one internal battery replacement in Junior year, a case that fits into a backpack, a 2 GB SD Card for back ups, 4 year warranty, and 4 year accident insurance. The student will also have access to licensing for Sophos Virus Protection, DyKnow® (a student monitoring and teaching enhancement program), on-line testing, electronic resources through the library, and on line textbooks.)
What software is included? Microsoft Windows XP Professional or Windows 7 Professional Operating System®, Microsoft Office 2003® or 2007 Professional®, PDF Annotator, Geometer’s Sketchpad®, will be preinstalled on all computers. Other preinstalled programs include Sophos Antivirus, Internet Explorer and class specific software as needed.
Why should my daughter use the computer through SUA when I might find a less expensive machine through another source (a bricks-and-mortar or Internet retail store, for example)?
We are requiring that families obtain the computer through the school's Technology program. Classroom instruction using technology is more effective when all students work with the same tools; consistency and compatibility reduce the possibility of confusion and wasted class time. While it may seem that a comparable laptop computer could be purchased at a lower price on the outside, families should remember that the computers obtained through SUA come with features and services that are not always included in the laptop computer packages offered at retail stores. Purchasing these items separately almost always results in a higher total cost. The SUA computers are bundled with software needed to operate in the SUA environment, at a savings not available through retail outlets. The customized configuration that is loaded on each computer makes the transition from the shipping box to the classroom almost seamless. Additionally, we provide significant value-added services in the area of maintenance and support with the goal of minimizing down time should a problem arise; a loaner computer is always available to students who obtain their computer through SUA.
What happens if the computer does not work or is accidentally damaged? Computers obtained through the SUA Technology program come with a four-year manufacturer's warranty which covers any hardware-related problems. The SUA Technology Department will coordinate hardware repairs with the manufacturer and loaner computers will be made available if the machine needs to be held or sent off-site for repairs. The Technology Help Desk will be open before, during, and after school, during the school year as well as during the summer.
Repair of a computer that is accidentally damaged - dropped, spilled on, zapped by an electrical surge, etc. (what is referred to as “end user damage”) – will not be covered by the warranty, but by the accident insurance. The deductibles for damage if a computer is abused or not taken care of in the proper fashion are:
Neither the warranty nor the accident insurance covers theft or total destruction of the tablet due to accident or neglect. Parents are required to add the tablet as a rider on their own homeowner’s policy to cover this. The student is responsible for the computer while it is in her possession.
SUA will own the computer. The student will have use of the computer during the four years at SUA. At the end of the four years, if the full fee has been paid, the computer will be available for a very nominal fee.
Students will have access to textbooks at school and at home--either as a digital copy on the internet or by having a copy of the actual textbook in class or at home, eliminating the need to carry the textbook to and from school. Use of the computer as a notebook will help to eliminate many of the binders, papers, books, and colored pens the students now carry in their backpacks.
Yes. There are some free Internet Providers available for families that do not currently have Internet access, such as NetZero and Juno. The computers will have a modem that will enable a dialup connection using one of these services.
Many of the textbooks are available online and accessible anywhere on the St. Ursula Academy campus through its wireless network. For those classes where students are using computers, a classroom set of textbooks will also be available in the classroom. For anyone without internet access at home, a hard copy of the textbook will be available for home use. Any text that is available as a CD will be installed on the computer during the summer.
We do not promote the use of technology for technology's sake. Research has demonstrated that computers in the classroom help to improve students' writing as well as allow for spontaneous, student-directed learning through Internet research, data collection and analysis, and multimedia presentations. Use of the computer in class will depend on the content area and the appropriateness of technology for the lesson being taught. It is expected that the type and frequency of use will vary according to the curriculum. Many students will also take advantage of the "Anywhere Anytime Learning" possibilities of our program and will use their computers outside of the classroom environment.
Students will be provided with a 2 GB SD card for backing up her files. In addition to backing up her files on her home directory while she is at school, she will be responsible for backing up to a jump drive as well, most importantly when she is working at home.
Yes. Nothing will be expected of students with older equipment that cannot be accomplished on that computer.
All incoming freshmen will come to 1 hour session with a parent in June to pick up her Tablet. Varied times are available for everyone’s convenience. This session is done in small groups and there is a large range of times for parents to schedule around. Students in the June Summer Workshop will get their tablets at the beginning of the workshop and will use them throughout the workshop.
There is also a mandatory workshop scheduled in August, before school starts, where she will learn how to log on to the SUA network, access her SUA e-mail account, learn basic Microsoft Office Word, and set up her Turnitin.com® (plagiarism), Blackboard (digital class materials and resources), PowerSchool® (grades) and how to access textbooks on-line or on CD. In the one term computer class she will have further instruction of Microsoft Office® applications and will also learn while integrating course content from other subjects throughout the four years she is at SUA. There are also advanced application and programming classes available as electives when she is an upper classman. Formal information literacy and research skills instruction occurs with every freshmen in history (one 90 minute session), every sophomore in health (4 or 5 class sessions), and every junior in English (one 90 minute session), and with various classes with seniors. In addition, individual classes come to the library for specific research instruction for an assignment or project. A full time technology help desk is available for students before, during, and after school.
Not at all! The computer program at St. Ursula Academy is not the beginning of on-line classes. Our goal is to have the students equipped with a tool that increases engagement and achievement. The teachers will continue to control the class and will use technology only as they see it fit in their curriculum. The relationship between teacher and student is an important and valuable tradition of St. Ursula and will not be replaced by the use of computers in the classroom.
Studies show that students involved in one to one computer programs increase communication with teachers and other students. They also increase their teamwork skills. The computers also lend themselves to enhancing projects done as a group.
computers are a tool and must be managed, just like pen and paper. The teacher is in control of the class and at any time can tell students to put down their pens or screens in order to have their full attention. Using DyKnow. the teachers have the ability to block any programs or services that are not being used in the class to keep students on task.
All computers will have the DyKnow® software installed that allows teacher monitoring of the computers during class time. This monitoring is a huge deterrent to misuse. Also, all English classes already require students to submit any written work to Turnitin.com, an on-line plagiarism service to which SUA subscribes, and this has nearly eliminated plagiarism which was a weekly issue prior to using Turnitin.com®. Cheating and plagiarism are always considered very serious offenses and are dealt with accordingly. The statistics show that by using computers and taking appropriate precautions, these two problems actually decrease.
The Tablet that the school chooses will have a built-in wireless networking card included in the package price that will connect to St. Ursula’s school-wide secure wireless network. This will also enable access to home wireless networks.
computers will connect to standard 802.11b or 802.11g wireless networks at home without a problem. The same will be true with other brands of computers using standard 802.11b or 802.11g wireless networking cards. If families have wired networks at home, the computer will be able to plug in without any additional hardware. Assistance is provided from the technology department if there are problems.
The recommended computer has a primary battery that has a life of 4.5 hours and an external “travel” battery with a recommended life of more than 8 hours. Students are required to plug in their computers each night so that they will have a full battery charge for the next school day. Students whose computers run out of battery life during the school day will be able to come to the help desk to switch out their battery with a charged one.
Printing is becoming less prevalent as most students and teachers send materials digitally, through Blackboard and e-mail. However, if need arises printers are available to the students in the library and the tech area and in select areas controlled by area teachers. The computer will probably have two USB ports and built-in wireless and wired Ethernet ports to connect to printers and networks at home.