General Information & Frequently-Asked Questions
During the 2010-2011 school year, all students at Van Buren Middle School were issued a school-owned net book computer for educational use while at school and home. With the success of this program, 1:1 computing has expanded to grades nine through twelve. A one-to-one computing ratio closes the “digital divide” while allowing for more individualized instruction, increased student engagement, relevance, and the strengthening of a learning community. This initiative allows our staff to realize our strategic plan goals of increased online class material and embedding technology.
This seems expensive for the school district. How were you able to pay for this?
As a school, we were able to secure excellent pricing for the middle school netbooks. We are able to provide net book computers for all middle school students and staff for less than the cost of replacing one computer lab, which we do every 4-5 years.
When will my child receive a netbook?
Generally within the first few weeks of school the netbooks are distributed to the students.
Will students keep the net book over the summer?
Like a textbook, students will return their net book before summer break. During the summer, the net books will be updated and maintained and reissued in the fall. Students get the same netbook back in the fall.
How will the school keep track of this equipment?
Just like any other equipment, the net book serial number will be recorded. When distributed, student names and serial numbers will be recorded and that same net book is expected to be returned in the spring.
During the school day, where will students keep their netbooks?
During most classes, students will have their net books with them. Otherwise, they will be stored in the student lockers.
What happens if the net book is somehow broken or not working properly ?
First, the student should work with the teacher to problem-solve. If the issue is not corrected, the student should bring the net book to the network administrator. If the issue is a software problem, the machine will be re-imaged. If the student was neglectful, then the student/parents will be responsible for equipment replacement or repair and any administrative fees or shipping. Accidental damage or loss will be covered by the insurance program.
Are there any costs to the students and parents for this program?
Families will be assessed an $25.00 school fee which will purchase an accidental damage/loss insurance policy on the machine. With this in place, any accidental damage to the machine or loss will be covered. If a claim is placed, there is a $20 administration fee assessed as a deductible to get the machine repaired.
What if I have a question about how the net book works?
If parents have specific questions about the net book operation, they are encouraged to contact the school’s technology department.
Will students learn how to use the net book?
We have recognized that the students possess a better working knowledge of technology than adults. However, prior to students receiving their net books, we will teach them how to use the equipment and software in addition to “digital citizenship” – how to appropriately use technology during "Netbook Bootcamp."
Are the teachers being trained in using net books in their classes?
Yes – the middle school teachers spent the summer learning how to best use online tools and how to use the net books in their classrooms. Ongoing professional development will be important as opportunities grow.
As a parent, how will I access my child’s work if it is on the net book?
Parents are encouraged to ask students to see their work for their classes. Our school has used the Moodle online course management software for nearly five years. Through Moodle, parents will be able to see assignments and students will have a Moodle portfolio for their work.
Will my child have access to the internet outside of school?
The net book is wifi-capable and thus, students can access wireless internet service in their homes (provided the parents subscribe to high-speed internet service) and where public wireless internet is available (i.e. Panera, McDonald’s, etc.).
Is the Internet filtered on the net book?
When using the internet at school, the filtering will occur just as in our computer labs. However, when the net book is used to access the internet at home or other public “hot spots”, the internet will not be filtered. Despite the fact that internet service may not be filtered, students should still abide by expectations outlined in the district acceptable-use policy.
How will the net book battery be charged?
Students will have a power cord and be expected to charge their net book every night. We will have spare power cords at school in case of emergencies.
What are the expectations of my child in backing-up his/her work and files?
Students will be taught to back up their files daily using their USB thumb drives. This will be expected – if a net book has a software issue, the entire hard drive will be cleared.
As a parent, what are my responsibilities for the net book?
Just like with our text books, students are expected to care for them. Charges for any damage or loss due to neglect will be billed to the student and parent. If the equipment is damaged beyond repair, students and parents will be assessed a minimum of $250.00 for replacement, administrative, and shipping costs.
Is the net book going to replace traditional paper textbooks?
We already own the rights to digital versions of some of our current textbooks. Many times, the digital versions enhance paper copies of textbooks. In the future, electronic versions may replace paper versions as we adopt new textbooks.
I’m worried that my child already spends too much time using technology. Is there going to be any human interaction during classes?
The purpose of the netbook is to enhance group discussions and projects. This is a tool to make that time more productive while engaging students using what they know and thrive upon: technology.
Do we need to purchase a bag to carry the net book?
Yes. All students will need an appropriate protective sleeve or bag in which to store their net book between classes, etc. The net book should fit in a typical book bag outside of school hours. It is expected that, when not in use, net books will always be stored in a protective sleeve or bag.
What if a student engages in inappropriate behavior using his/her school net book (i.e. pornography, cyber-bullying, etc.)?
We will follow our board-approved appropriate technology use agreement. In addition to any applicable code of conduct offenses, the first offense of misuse will result in up to a 9-week removal of privileges specific to the application (i.e. e-mail, Moodle, etc.). The second offense is up to an 18-week removal of privileges. Any further offenses will result in the student losing his/her net book and school network privileges for the remainder of the year. Law enforcement will be contacted in the case of serious incidents.
What is the timeline for the expansion of this project?
That is to be determined. Currently grades 6-12 have netbooks issued to each student. There are discussions taking place to expand the program into grades 3-5 at some point.v