1. Who must have a laptop computer?
All students attending Mid-Peninsula High School beginning with the school year 2012-2013 must bring a laptop computer.
2. What devices count as a “laptop” computer?
Any laptop or netbook, PC or Mac that meets the minimum requirements is acceptable. Tablets and chromebooks are not acceptable for regular school work.
3. What device do you recommend and why?
We highly recommend a netbook. Netbooks are small and light. They are great for Internet and yet have limited uses for heavy gaming (fewer distractions for those concerned about this). Netbooks are also very inexpensive.
4. I already have a laptop; do I have to buy another?
Not if your computer meets the minimum specifications listed in this document. If it does not meet the minimum specifications you may upgrade your computer or purchase a new one.
5. I don’t have a laptop. How do I buy one and how much will it cost?
You are free to purchase any computer or netbook as long as it meets the minimum specifications. For PC’s Best Buy and Dell (online) are good places to purchase. If you are interested in a Mac you can purchase these either online via Mac or at an Apple store. The cost will depend upon your configuration.
6. Does Mid-Pen have any educational discounts that I can use to buy a new laptop?
Currently we do not for PCs. Dell and Apple both offer student discounts for computers.
7. What are the minimum specifications?
See the table below. If your current device meets these specifications, or if you upgrade it to these specifications, you do not have to purchase a new computer.
Note that these areminimumspecifications. If you are purchasing a new device and wish to have your student be able to use it for several years, we recommend a faster processor, additional memory, and 802.11n wireless.
Intel 1.83 GHz
Intel or AMD, 1.6 GHz
Hard Drive/Solid State Drive
10.4 or later
Windows XP (Service Pack 2), Windows Vista, or Windows 7
Minimum Battery Life
USB, video out, audio in/out
USB, video out, audio in/out
8. Are there recommended accessories?
a) An extended warranty (preferably with accidental damage).
b) Theft and hazard insurance (usually available on a home insurance policy).
c) External CD/DVD to create backup disks and load software (if not on computer).
d) High capacity/extended battery if available.
e) Additional AC power adapter if you’d like one for home and one for school.
f) Headset/ear buds.
g) Protective sleeve or case.
h) Cleaning cloth (microfiber).
9. Who is paying for the computers?
Laptop computers will be purchased and owned by families.
10. I can’t afford a computer. Whom should I contact?
Families that cannot afford a computer should contact the Head of School, Doug Thompson (email@example.com, 650-321-1991 x141) to discuss your financial situation.
11. What is the expected life of a computer?
The expected life of a computer is three to four years. Transportation and daily use subject laptop computers to hazards, and even the best cared for machines will begin to fail. If your student enters as a freshman, it is hoped that the computer will last the entire four years that he/she is at Mid-Peninsula. However, it might be necessary due to natural wear and tear to replace the computer.
12. Will students receive any special training on their computers?
Incoming freshmen will receive training in study skills class. Older students will receive training per the determination of the Core teacher. Students may request time with the Director of Technology to go over “care and feeding” that can help to keep their units in good running order.
13. Will I be expected to use my computer both at school and at home?
Yes. One of the benefits of the laptop/netbook computer is that it is portable. This means that it should be available at home and school. Some classes may require homework that will need the computer.
14. Will I need to have wireless Internet in my home?
No. You do not need wireless Internet at home. Please be certain you’re your laptop/netbook has an Ethernet port if you have wired access at home. If you have no Internet access at home please check the website for a map of local free wireless access in the Menlo Park/Palo Alto area. Please be aware that many McDonald’s and Starbuck’s now offer free WiFi.
15. May I install software on my computer?
It is your computer and you may install software. You should be an administrator on your own computer and may install your own applications and use them provided that they do not violate the school’s acceptable use policy.
16. What software do I need on my computer?
a) LanSchool (a classroom monitoring/sharing software provided by MPHS)
b) You need antivirus.
c) You need Chrome (the Google browser free online download).
d) Some teachers’ may require Smart Notebook. This is licensed by Mid-Peninsula and will be provided in class.
17. How can my computer be protected from damage, loss, or theft during the day?
a) You should keep a record of your computer make/model/serial number at home for identification purposes.
b) You should place an identifying name tag on your computer with first and last names.
c) You should keep your netbook/laptop with you, in your backpack, during the day.
d) Use a protective sleeve/cover/case for your netbook/laptop.
e) Netbooks/laptops left unattended may be confiscated by staff. They will be returned to the student per the identifying tag. Parents may be notified if this is a regular occurrence.
18. What happens if my computer is lost or stolen?
Theft of a laptop is a legitimate concern. We suggest that families determine if their homeowner’s policy will cover the theft of a laptop. Families may purchase theft insurance on their own through companies such as Safeware or Student Insurance Partners.
19. What happens if my computer breaks?
We recommend that you purchase an extended warranty for your computer at the time that you buy the computer.
If the computer breaks it should be brought to the Director of Technology who will attempt to diagnose and fix the problem if possible. If not, a computer will be loaned to the student with the understanding that the student will get his/her computer repaired as soon as possible.
The Director of Technology will also recommend the next steps to be taken towards fixing the computer which may include sitting with the student and contacting the manufacturer.
MPHS hopes to implement a student helpdesk service to be available during break and lunch.
20. Do I have to back up my files?
All school work at Mid-Peninsula High School should be done using our Google Apps. Google Apps backs up files. If you have personal files on the netbook/laptop you might consider a regular backup for those files.
21. What if my computer battery is out of power?
It is expected that you will come to school with a fully charged battery. If you need to charge your battery during class, power strips will be available. You are expected to use your battery power in a way that you can conserve the amount that you need for an entire day.
It is recommended that you purchase an extended use battery.
22. What about an extra battery?
An extra battery is always helpful. Careful monitoring of your battery use during the day should be sufficient and provide battery power for about 2 years. Batteries are expensive. There should be sufficient access to power strips to recharge during the day if you find it necessary.
23. My backpack is too heavy! Adding a laptop will only make the situation worse.
This can be true; however, as we move forward the intent is to provide more access to text books using digital formats. This may also be a reason to choose a netbook rather than a laptop as they are much lighter.
24. Where can I use my computer when I am not in class?
Your laptop may be used anywhere in the building. Please remember that you must adhere to all rules even during break, Core, and lunch. All computer use is subject to our usage policy.
25. Can I listen to music or play videos on my computer?
You may listen to any music or video that is on your computer. You should do so with earphones/headphones only. You may not stream (play off of the Internet) music or videos. During class time this will be at the teacher’s discretion.
26. What kind of training will faculty be provided to make sure that computers are appropriately used?
MPHS faculty receives regular training to use our on-site systems as well as Google Apps training. There are regular opportunities for attending conferences and workshops which also pertain to using technology on campus. The Director of Technology works directly with teachers to support the computers in the classroom.
27. Will computers be used in every class?
Currently the majority of our teachers use computers regularly. How often computers are used will depend on the teacher and curriculum. As more digital texts and website offerings become available, there will be even more usage.
28. Will faculty be required to use computers in each course?
29. How will students be kept from engaging in inappropriate use of computers?
As computers are currently being used in classrooms now, and teachers are able to monitor classroom activity, we do not anticipate major issues with inappropriate use of computers in school. Issues will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis as with any disciplinary issue at Mid-Peninsula.
We are also requiring access to install LanSchool on all student computers. LanSchool is a software that allows for laptop monitoring by the teacher as well as providing a host of other services available to the teacher, such as limiting accessibility to programs, providing online tests, and sharing what is being viewed on one monitor with the entire class. This software does NOT work outside of the school. It is strictly for on-site use.
30. What if I forget my computer and need it for class?
Forgetting your computer is tantamount to forgetting your homework and will be treated in the same manner. Teachers may base grades and credit on homework, and forgetting your computer may compromise grade/credit. If a student regularly forgets his/her computer, further action might be taken.
31. What will happen to the existing computer carts and the computers in the EC?
Some of our computers on our carts are ready to be retired. Others that are not may be kept as loaners for students who have broken computers. The EC will continue to have desktop computers focusing on assistive technology.