Technology

ComputerAre you a transfer student entering BHS Grade 9 during the 2017-2018 school year? Are you a member of the Braintree Class of 2022 getting prepared for high school?

Please review the following:

Frequently Asked Questions, 2018-2019 Grades 9&10 Bring Your Own Device Initiative

Questions

Answers

Hardware & Purchasing

Are there minimum technical requirements for the device?

Yes. In order for students to have a smooth educational experience using these computers at home and at school, there are some basic specifications we require. If you are unable to provide a device that meets these specifications, please refer to "What if I can't buy a device?" below.

Is a smartphone okay?

No. In general, smartphones lack external keyboards, sufficient memory, and sufficient screen size for the schoolwork students will be doing. Whether or not your student also brings a smartphone to school is a decision for your family.

Where should I buy a laptop or Chromebook?

You are welcome to purchase this device from any merchant, online or in person. BPS does not recommend one retailer over the other. Feel free to browse the purchasing website created by a hardware vendor with state educational pricing (which may or may not be a better deal than you can find elsewhere).

What if I can’t buy a device?

If your family is unable or unwilling to provide a laptop or Chromebook for you to use during the school day, the school will provide one for you. Parents will be required to have a brief meeting with school administration, and both parents and students will sign a contract for use of a school device off campus. If this situation applies to you, please contact the main office at Braintree High School to leave your contact information and request a callback from the tech department.

Will this device work for all four years of high school?

The lifespan of a portable device can vary greatly, but most perform well for three to five years. Our technical specifications for the device will not change during a student’s high school career, and it is our goal for all students to be able to use the device for all four years. Even if device specifications do change as technology develops, devices that meet our 2018-2019 minimum specifications will continue to be compatible for students graduating in 2020, 2021, and 2022.

Software, Network & Internet Safety

What software do I need on the machine?

No software is required other than a browser for internet access. We require the Chrome browser, which can be downloaded for free. We also recommend Sophos Home (free antivirus software) for Mac and Windows machines. Microsoft Office is not required.

Will I be able to get on the BYOD network?

In August 2018, the technicians will host BYOD office hours to assist students with software that allows for devices that meet our technical specifications to connect to our network smoothly and consistently. The dates for these office hours will be posted to our website in June 2018.

How will internet safety be addressed on this device?

Accessing the school wireless network means these devices are filtered just as a school machine would be. Logging in to a student braintreeschools.org account adds an additional layer of protection. Users are responsible for antivirus software on Windows and Mac machines (Sophos Home is free and recommended).

Day-to-Day Logistics & Safety of Property

What if I forget my device at home?

In case of an isolated emergency, devices will be available in the Media Center for students to check out for use during the school day. Students will be informed of how to do this at the start of the school year. These devices are for use during the day and cannot leave the BHS campus.

What if I need to charge my machine during the school day?

Students are expected to bring a fully charged machine to school each day. The minimum specifications require devices to have at least seven hours of battery life. In case of emergency, there are charging outlets available throughout the high school building, including in the media center. There are currently 20 charging lockers, each of which can charge one laptop/ Chromebook and up to two phones/USB-charged devices. These are stationed in areas protected by video cameras and where students might lock their machines during gym class, lunch, or an afterschool activity. These lockers have programmable codes that are unique to each user. In the event of an emergency, school administration is able to access the contents of these lockers.

What if my device breaks?

If a student-owned device breaks, the student is responsible for the repair through an outside organization. During the time the device is being repaired, BHS can provide a device for use both on and off campus. Parents will be required to have a brief meeting with the student’s housemaster, and both parents and students will sign a contract for use of a school device off campus.

What about theft or insurance?

Students bring a variety of valuables to school on a daily basis. We pride ourselves on having a secure environment with lockers, including the charging lockers described in #10, to secure those valuables. We encourage our students to take the responsibility for securing their valuables in the appropriate way.

Roll-out Plan

What supports will there be for parents who want to learn more about the device choices and the ways students will use them in the classroom?

The BPS team will host a parent night this spring for parents to preview the types of devices we recommend and discuss the ways students will use them in the classroom. If you have questions in the meantime, you are welcome to contact Rebecca Kidwell, Interim Director of Technology & Accountability, at rkidwell@braintreema.gov.

I’m not a ninth or tenth grader. Is it okay for me to bring a device to school for educational use each day in the 2018-2019 school year?

We are prepared to support students across the high school grades in using laptops/ Chromebooks in fall 2018, but devices are not required for any grades other than ninth and tenth. Administrators, teachers, and technicians will prioritize support for ninth and tenth grade students and their devices. We do not expect students to bring personal computing devices to the middle schools in 2018-2019. We hope to offer that option in 2019-2020, and we appreciate your patience.

Bring Your Own Device Specifications (For use in all 9th & 10th grade classes)

Windows Laptop or Convertible Tablet/Laptop

  • Operating System - Windows 7 or higher
  • Minimum Screen Size - 11”
  • Minimum Screen Resolution - 1024x768
  • Hard Drive/Storage Capacity - 64GB
  • RAM (Memory) - 4GB
  • Wireless Capability - Wi-Fi (802.11 ac or n)
  • Minimum Battery Life - 7 hours
  • Required Browser - Chrome
  • Recommended Antivirus Software - Sophos Home
  • Recommended Accessory - Headphones with integrated microphone

Mac Laptop

  • Operating System - macOS 10.12 (Sierra) or higher
  • Minimum Screen Size - 11”
  • Minimum Screen Resolution - 1024x768
  • Hard Drive/Storage Capacity - 64GB
  • RAM (Memory) - 4GB
  • Wireless Capability - Wi - Fi (802.11 ac or n)
  • Minimum Battery Life - 7 hours
  • Required Browser - Chrome
  • Recommended Antivirus Software - Sophos Home
  • Recommended Accessory - Headphones with integrated microphone

Google Chromebook

  • Operating System - Most recent Chrome OS
  • Minimum Screen Size - 11”
  • Minimum Screen Resolution - 1024x768
  • Hard Drive/Storage Capacity - 16GB
  • RAM (Memory) - 4GB
  • Wireless Capability - Wi-Fi (802.11 ac or n)
  • Minimum Battery Life - 7 hours
  • Required Browser - Chrome
  • Recommended Antivirus Software - N/A
  • Recommended Accessory - Headphones with integrated microphone

Additional Notes

  • Smartphones and tablets without external keyboards do not meet minimum specifications for academic use.
  • Linux machines do not meet specifications for use with our wireless network.
  • If this machine will be the student’s primary computing device, we recommend a 13” display and an external mouse.
  • If the machine currently has Windows 8, we recommend upgrading to Windows 10 for stability and ease of use.
  • If you are purchasing a new machine, a solid state drive (SSD) is preferable to a hard disk drive (HDD) for durability as students will be carrying the devices to and from school.
  • If you are purchasing a new machine, a minimum of an i5 processor is preferred.
  • If they have sufficient battery life and an “n” wireless connection, older Mac products that may meet these standards include Mac Pro 3.1 (early 2008), MacBook 3.1 (late 2008), and MacBook Air 6.1 (2013), as well as more recent models of these lines.

A Letter from Headmaster Delery

Dear Class of 2022 Students and Families,

As you enter Braintree High School this fall, you will be part of an exciting technology initiative that has been years in the making. You may have heard that the town received a 1.5 million dollar grant in 2014 that has allowed for wireless access throughout the district. Braintree High School has been preparing to fully utilize this new wireless technology and has been piloting Chromebooks and other personal devices throughout the school and among its various departments. With teachers becoming more adept with the benefits of having technology instantly available in the classroom, we are ready to continue a 1:1 bring-your-own-device initiative with your class.

The benefits of a 1:1 device scenario in the classroom are vast. As we encourage students to explore learning through the lens of the real world, the ability to bring that world into the classroom is extraordinary. As technology use becomes more pervasive, students are expected to work more collaboratively on projects that depend on information drawn from real-time sources. Isolated facts and rote memorization will be deemphasized as authentic data and information become the tools used for students to produce papers, projects, and presentations. In a recent science class, the teacher had students manipulating data pulled from the US Government GenBank database to explore proteins and genes. As they worked, they supplemented her instruction with short clips from YouTube that reinforced concepts upon which they were relying. Small groups of students worked at their own pace in this lesson, serving as teams that worked collaboratively to solve the broader questions posed. This is only one small example of the opportunity that this technology presents to our school, our teachers, and our students. On a daily basis, teachers pilot the devices we currently have to enrich the experiences of our students and to make learning more applicable and relevant than ever before. We envision an entire grade of students benefitting from these opportunities and the potential of our 21st century technology.

We are encouraging each family of the Class of 2022 to provide their student with a Chromebook or laptop for school. Increasingly, our economy, our educational institutions, and our society are dependent upon such technology to perform successfully in our global environment. It is only fitting that we begin preparing our students for that world; a world in which the effective manipulation of information is essential. Throughout, our students will learn how to navigate our interconnected mediums and to discern credible from unreliable in the sea of information that they will be exposed to in life. Students will be held to the Braintree Network & Technology Responsible Use Policy, as we set clear expectations for what this institutional change at BHS will mean for students. Although we are strongly encouraging families to outfit their child with an appropriate device, we are prepared to assist students who are either unable or unwilling to purchase a device as they enter BHS.

We expect that the way in which both your child and your family interact with learning and our school will begin to change dramatically. Already in our school, we have a preponderance of teachers who supplement their class through Google Classroom, a site that allows students to access assignments, deadlines, collaborative opportunities, and their own progress in individual classes. We have witnessed the evolution of how research is being done and how our students access real world scenarios in their learning. Our technology natives deserve to be placed in position to leverage the rich world of information available and to apply that information in the type of learning applications that mirror what they will be asked to do once they leave the comfort of Braintree Public Schools. We look forward to working with all of our Braintree families as this initiative continues and in ensuring that our decision leads to the type of student-centered learning experiences we feel our school should provide.

Sincerely,
Andrew Delery
Interim Headmaster
Braintree High School