Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Are we able to get any video capabilities on the computers e.g. HD?
because I would like to upgrade this slow piece of "computing"
A. The laptop already has a graphics card. The screen is already HD.
Q. Seeing how we are getting admin rights, are we also getting the capacity to
upgrade the hardware of the computer. ie. graphics card??
A. No, you cannot install any hardware what so ever, doing so would void the
warranty and your agreement. The computer will meet all your day to day
educational requirements. The College will retain computer labs for the more graphic
intensive tasks (video editing, CAD etc). Yes, your laptop will not play graphic
intensive games, but that is not its intended use.
Q. Can we download mp3s especially if we want to do mash-ups?
A. You can download mp3s that you have paid for, but generally, you only have the
rights to listen to that music. If you wish to use parts of music then you need to have
the legal rights to do this. That kind of music is available. Check out
http://creativecommons.org.au/ for more details.
Q. How are students supposed to print at home when they can't run a printer
software cd in the laptop - no cd/dvd player?????
A. If you find out the model of the printer, there will most likely be a driver for it on the
Q. Will facebook, tumblr etc. work when we are at home connected to our own
A. Yes, at school there is a filter on the network which disallows access to certain
websites. However, at home, the only restrictions you will face are those which are
present on your own network.
Q. Will there be chatting available for student to student/teacher?
A. There will be a number of options for student/teacher chat. When the College
Moodle site is operating, it will provide a chat function, but there are also a number of
other web-based options. These tools will be employed at teachers' discretion.
Q. Do we get to keep the computers after we finish Year Twelve ?
A. The computer must remain the property of the College for four years. Once the
current Year 9 students finish their formal education at the College at the end of Year
12, they will be able to purchase the laptops for a nominal fee. For all other situations
outside of this, the student must return their computer to the College before leaving
Q. Do these computers come with a carry case for safe travel or do they expect
us to lug a laptop around all day?
A. Yes, they do in fact come with a case. The College has purposely chosen a case
which is small enough to fit into a school bag.
Q. Will the wifi be upgraded because if we chuck 300 or so on the one
A. Part of the NSSCP funding is for the upgrade of the College's network to
accommodate additional devices.
Q. Can we load open source software such as Open Office instead of MS
A. Yes you can (open source software is free and legal). You cannot remove
Microsoft Office, or any other College installed software, from the computer. In
addition, MS Office 2010 is optimised for skydrive use, considerably reducing
internet bandwidth demands.
Q. I WANT TO PUT PHOTOS ON! CAN I??????
A. Photos, like music, have intellectual property rights. You can search for licence
free photos and use those.
Q. If you break it, do you get a laptop to replace it while yours is being fixed,
and if not, do you get a pass if you dont have your laptop when in class
A. The hot swap pool system is designed so that if a laptop fails, you can hand it in
and instantly have it replaced until the broken one comes back.
Q. Are we able to put itunes, skype and msn on them?
A. Yes, all are free, and therefore legal.
Q. What exactly is legal music? Is a CD legal?
A. Good question. If you rip a CD to your computer’s hard drive, it is legal assuming
that it is your CD, and nobody else’s. It's acceptable to make a copy of an original
CD as digital music files or to burn a single copy for your own private use, but not to
share with others. If you have downloaded music that you have paid for (ie. ITunes),
then it is legal. However, if you downloaded the music without paying for it (ie.
LimeWire) or ripped a CD that is not yours, then the music is in fact illegal.
Q. Will the PC have automatic updates on Antivirus Software and what
timeframe will this cover?
A. The computer will update automatically, all software, and virus protection. This will
be supported for the school life of the computer.
Q. Do we still get the colours that we chose that time???
A. I’m afraid not. I believe that the touchscreen version of the laptop was not
available in colours.
Q. Can we change the screen saver/wallpaper?
A. Yes, the laptops are completely open to customization. However, you cannot
make any changes that will be permanent (eg. painting it, or using permanent
markers). Nor can you remove the SPCC sticker that is already present. This is for
identification and safety purposes.
Q. What major subjects would we use the laptop for? would we use it most of
A. The laptops will be integrated across the entire curriculum. The laptops will have a
HUGE impact on how we learn in class, however, they will not make notebooks and
pens completely obsolete. So be sure to take your books to class along with the
Q. I thought we were getting a touch screen?
A. You are. The laptops that you found on the seats in the presentation were not the
ones you will be issued. They were only there so the audience could post question
on the Wallwisher website.
Q. Can I make it pretty ? Like put stickers on it and stuff? Bedazzle it ?
A. You may make changes to the physical appearance on two conditions: 1) the
changes are not permanent 2) the changes do not obscure the College sticker on the
Q. How do students access the internet from home - Wireless or non-
A. To connect your laptop to a home network call the Dell Support Number (1300
662 286). It provides 24hr support for this purpose. Whether your home network is
wireless or not will depend on your home hardware.
Q. I don't get the cloud thing????
A. Cloud computing refers to files being saved remotely via the internet and being
able to access them from anywhere, assuming you have an internet connection. Visit
this website for more information. http://www.cloudessential.com/cloudcomputing/
Q. Where can you find "shift happens"?
Q. Can we store the kids in the cloud too??
A. If you can find a way to turn them into virtual data, yes you can.
Q. The fee this year which I think was $250 and next year approx $400, is this
going to be managed so that it is a tax deduction?
A. The College recommends that parents seek independent financial advice about
whether the education tax refund program applies to their individual circumstances.
Q. Would we still have a password for our laptop, even though everyone has
one for themselves?
A. Yes you will still have a password for your laptop. You need the password for a
number of reasons:
1. To access the network while at school: the school wireless network will only
allow authorized users access. Your username and password give that
2. To prevent other people accessing, and possibly damaging, your laptop: you
will be the administrator of the laptop, which means you have access to all
the files required to run your laptop. If another person accesses these, then
they could remove these files making your laptop inoperable.
3. To ensure responsible use: you are responsible for what is put onto your
laptop, and what your laptop is used for, irrespective of who uses it. If YOUR
laptop is used to access inappropriate sites, YOU are responsible, even if a
friend was the person who went there. Therefore your password is important
to ensure that only you use your laptop.
Q. Are we able to buy a computer from a shop and still use it within the school,
or does this laptop have specific school programs attached?
A. No. Any laptop outside this program will not be given access to the College
network, nor can the College install any of our programs onto it.
Q. Where can we access the presentation after tonight?
A. The presentations are available on the wall wisher site.
Q. If I am in my room looking at certain things can any of the teachers check
A. How you use your laptop at home depends on the agreement between you and
your parents / guardians. Remember that part of your signed contract states that
you will use the laptop in agreement with your parents / guardian, and breaking that
contract can see you lose your laptop.
Q. What happens with our text books??
A. The College is currently in negotiations with various publishing companies to try
and access digital versions of text books. Ultimately everything you will need for
school should be accessible via your laptop, but there will be some transition time.
Q. Congrats on a slick presentation. Being from the ancient and much
maligned older generation, I am afraid I remain sceptical of the purported value
of this tech.
A. This technology, like any tool, can be used or misused. I can assure you that the
College is committed to ensuring this technology is used to enhance your child's
education. Never the less, this technology is an integral part of our students' lives. If
we want education to be relevant, then we have to use the technology that is
relevant to our students. I graduated in 1990. If my College were still using slates
(as my parents used), then it would have been considered inappropriate. The proof
will be in the pudding, and I hope that the College's efforts in subsequent years will
put your scepticism to rest.
Q. Going to America in September, can I take my laptop and connect to a
wireless over there so I can skype???
A.Yes, you can take the laptop with you as long as you include the laptop computer
on your travel insurance policy. You may also connect your laptop to the available
wireless services in the USA being aware though that free wireless services are
shared and therefore it increases the risk of others being able to monitor the things
you do while connected to this wireless network.
Q. Seeing how the computer is a touch screen, will it come with screen
protection sheets, a touch pen, touch screen cleaning tools or do we have to
A. The laptops do not come with these cleaning products. They are readily available
at any office supply store. Touch pens are not necessary, as the screen is bio-
sensitive (you can use fingers).
Q. Everyone is going to take the sticker off especially when it is a very stand
A. Being a stand out colour, it will be obvious when a sticker has been taken off.
Since the only laptops without stickers will be from the College's hot swap pool, we
might mistakenly ask for the laptop back.
Q. If children take their laptops to the library do they still have to pay to print?
A. Students are allocated a printing allowance each term. This is to prevent
excessive printing. Students are only asked to pay for printing once they have
exceeded their allowance of 100 pages. This arrangement will remain.
Q. Why can't we get iPads!
A. Yes iPads are very cool, and I am tempted to buy one myself. Never the less, for
around the same price, they are less powerful, have only a 1 year warranty, no
technical support, less storage, smaller screens, no dedicated keyboard, are unable
to multi-task, and will not support the majority of the College's software.
Q. Will my home insurance cover this laptop?
A. All laptops are insured as part of the program; you will not have to include it on
your personal home insurance.
Q. The sticker on the front is not a good colour for students to meet their
responsibilities to keep it clean. It is also not a good peer image for children.
A.The students are responsible for keeping the laptop clean, therefore the sticker
assists, as it will be difficult to get the top of the laptop dirty when it is covered by a
sticker. In respect to your inquiry about peer image, it is no different to the College
Q. What's the standy thing underneath the laptop?
A. It's a box cleverly disguised with a piece of cloth.
Q. How many Gb is it?
A. The laptop has 2Gb of RAM and 160Gb of hard drive space. Approximately 40Gb
of the hard drive has been taken up with programs, and a restoration image, there-
fore students will have around 120Gb of free space on their hard drive. In addition,
soon they will be receiving 25Gb of storage space in a "sky drive".
Q. Do the new Year eights get a laptop for next year or does it only start when
you are in Year 9?
A. The NSSCP only targets Years 9 to 12. Next year all students from Year 9 to 12
will have a laptop.
Q. Will there be an increase in theft at school ??
A. The statistics across Australia have shown little change in the level and/or types
of theft that occur in schools when schools adopt a student-managed program.
Q. Trying to connect to the wifi at home, but it says the laptop doesn't meet the
requirements of the wi-fi, how do i fix it?
A. The laptop is compatible with all current wireless standards. Please contact Dell
about issues like this. The package provided includes 24hr software support. The
number is 1300 662 286
Q. Computers, mobile phones. I wonder just how "in control" our kids are of
their lives. Take one of the above away and it's like you've removed a limb.
A. I suppose my grandfather would say the same about my car.
Q. How fast are the laptops?
A. The laptops have a 1.83 GHz Atom processor. They may struggle with
demanding graphic intensive tasks (like gaming), but they will comfortably meet any
of our educational needs.
Q. Can I transfer music from my current itunes to the one I will put on this
laptop, instead of having to download all my music again??
A. You can transfer the files, as long as you have purchased the songs. To see how
to do this go to this page http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1373
Q. Will students get the opportunity to have access to any school wiki / blog?
A. The College is implementing a Lesson Management System called Moodle. This
system will have wikis and blogs, as well as a whole lot more.
Q. Can I download things on the laptop or is it just for study purposes only?
A. You can use the laptop for personal purposes, as long as that purpose does not
violate the agreement that you have signed.
Q. Can I install xamp so that I can load drupal or wordpress so that I can do
some web development?
A. Xampp is free, opensource software, so you are certainly welcome to install it. I
would also encourage you to explore web development. The laptop does come with
Dreamweaver, an industry standard web development tool.
Q. How long does it take to charge the battery?
A. Dell recommends that you plug the laptop in once you get home from school and
unplug it before going to bed. It will be fully charged in about 4 to 5 hours depending
on how far down the charge was. Leaving it plugged in overnight will shorten the
battery life, so avoid this if possible, but always bring it to school fully charged.
Q. Does it come with any external backup devices?
A. No. The original file structure of the laptop is stored as an image, so it can
restored to its original state at any time. The only files that will need backing up are
the student's personal files.
Q. Will it be a good thing for the school?
A. Speaking personally, as a teacher I now have a class with permanent access to
the greatest wealth of information the world has ever known, the most extensive
communication medium ever created, and creative tools that George Lucas would
have died for when he made Star Wars. It is now my responsibility to ensure that it
is a good thing for my class, and the College.