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. 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. Any family requesting financial aid for the laptop program must submit the financial aid application.
What is included? A laptop computer, a case that fits into a backpack, 4 year warranty, and 4 year accident insurance. The student will also have access to licensing for Microsoft Office®, anti-virus protection, student monitoring and teaching enhancement software, on-line testing, electronic resources through the library, on line textbooks and any other class specific software as needed.
Why should my daughter use the computer through Saint Ursula when I might find a less expensive machine through another source?
We require 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, the computers obtained through Saint Ursula 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 Saint Ursula computers are bundled with software needed to operate in the Saint Ursula 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 Saint Ursula.
What happens if the computer does not work or is accidentally damaged? Computers obtained through the Saint Ursula Technology program come with a four-year manufacturer's warranty which covers any hardware-related problems. The Saint Ursula 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. Damages due to negligence or abuse will not be covered by the accidental damage protection. The deductibles for damage if a computer is abused or not taken care of in the proper fashion are:
LCD Screen Replacement
- $250.00, first occurrence.
- $500.00, second or any further occurrences
Stylus (Pen) Replacement
- $150.00, first occurrence
- $250.00, second or any further occurrences
AC Power Adaptor
Costs to Rebuild a hard drive damaged by spyware/virues due to downloading programs:
What if the computer is stolen or destroyed?
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.
Who will own the computer?
Saint Ursula Academy owns the computer. The student will have use of the computer during the four years at Saint Ursula. At the end of the four years, if the full technology fee has been paid, the computer will be available for a very nominal fee.
Will this make the back packs heavier?
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.
Will textbooks be available online or on CDs?
Many of the textbooks are available online and accessible anywhere on the Saint 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.
Will the computers be used in each class every day?
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.
What happens to my daughter’s files if something happens to the computer or hard drive, for example?
Students will be provided with capabilities for backing up her files. In addition to backing up her files on her home directory (network) while she is at school, she will be responsible for backing up to a USB flash drive or cloud backup as well, most importantly for when she is working at home.
When my daughter is a senior and her computer is 4 years old, will she still be able to do what is required by her teachers?
Yes. Nothing will be expected of students with older equipment that cannot be accomplished on that computer.
How will my daughter learn to use the computer?
All incoming freshmen will come to one hour session with a parent in June to pick up her laptop. 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 laptop at the beginning of the workshop and will use them throughout the workshop.
There is also a mandatory orientation session scheduled in August, before school starts, where she will learn how to log on to the Saint Ursula network, access her e-mail account, learn basic Microsoft Office, and set up her Turnitin.com® (plagiarism), learning management system (digital class materials and resources), PowerSchool® (grades) and how to access textbooks on-line. 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 Saint Ursula. There may also be 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.
Will this eliminate the personal touch of teaching?
Not at all! The computer program at Saint 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 Saint Ursula and will not be replaced by the use of computers in the classroom.
Will having computers make the students isolated?
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.
Will computers in the classroom be distracting?
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 monitoring software the teachers have the ability to block any programs or services that are not being used in the class to keep students on task.
Will this enable cheating or plagiarism?
All computers will have 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 Saint Ursula subscribes. 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.
How will the computer connect to the school’s wireless network?
The laptop that the school issues will have a built-in wireless networking card in the package price that will connect to Saint Ursula’s school-wide secure wireless network. This will also allow access to home wireless networks.
How will the computer connect to home 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. Assistance is provided from the technology department if there are problems.
What about battery life?
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.
What about printing?
Printing is becoming less prevalent as most students and teachers send materials digitally, through learning management systems and e-mail. However, if need arises printers are available to the students and the students have an adequate quota of prints available.