Laptop Configuration and Technology FAQs

What computer specs does Beaver require?

The only technical requirements we have are that the laptop have a webcam and can download Google Chrome. Because we use Google Apps, we try to operate as much in the cloud as possible, and students regularly use webcams for class projects.

In terms of technical specifications, a solid state hard drive (SSD) is a great option, as it is faster, more energy efficient, and less prone to hardware damage than physical hard drives. 8 GBs of RAM will be more than enough for current computing needs. We strongly urge purchasing a hardware protection plan along with the computer. Dell or Apple offer comprehensive coverage, including options for accidents and spills.

Should I get a Mac or PC, or a Chromebook?

We are a BYOD (bring your own device) community and we try to be as platform non-specific as we can, meaning you can use any laptop you like as long as you can access the web and complete your assignments. We do not however support tablets (i.e. devices that use iOS/Windows RT/Android). For more information on our tablet policy see the entry below.

What basic computer skills should my child have when they enter?

Students should at least be able to type on a keyboard, have some basic familiarity with word processing such as creating and saving documents, and they should know how to perform a web search and use basic email functions.

Do I need to get WiFi at home?


You do not need WiFi specifically but you do need some sort of Internet connection at home.

Do I need to purchase any software like MS Office or Norton Antivirus?

Classes at Beaver Country Day School use Google Apps exclusively for word processing, so there is no need to purchase additional software of that nature. Apple and Windows PCs should have antivirus and anti-malware software installed, there are many free options available. We strongly urge families to purchase extra support coverage from the computer manufacturer, such as Applecare or Dell Protect.

What if the computer breaks or my child needs help?

We strongly urge for families to purchase a support plan from the laptop manufacturer. Applecare hardware protection with Apple Computers or and OEM plan like Dell Protect offer accidental coverage.

When a student has a problem with their laptop or they need help with a project, they should submit a help request by emailing techsupport@bcdschool.org, and describe their problem. An automated message will respond with up-to-date details regarding office hours and instructions regarding walk-up support. Support staff are more than happy to assist students with most technology issues that come up such as connectivity, computer freezes, help with Google Apps, and uploading class projects to the Web. If the computer problem is physical in nature such as damage from dropping or a liquid spill, a technician will help the student understand what the next steps might be, including capturing the diagnosis in the help ticket. The laptop owner may use this information when contacting the manufacturer regarding any warranty work that might be necessary.

What if my child leaves their computer at home? Can they borrow one for the day?


Yes! If a student needs to borrow a laptop for the day they can arrange to check one out till 4:00 p.m. Please send an email to techsupport@bcdschool.org to make a request.

Which browser should we be using? Does it matter?


In our experience, Google Chrome works best in our environment with Firefox being a close second.

What if my child’s computer is out for repair for several days? Can they borrow one to take home?

Yes. If a student needs to borrow a laptop for several days they can arrange to check one out (if available). Please send an email to techsupport@bcdschool.org to make a request.

What if my child forgets their email or PowerSchool password?

The Registrar’s office can help with any PowerSchool account questions you may have.

My child has never used a computer, or isn’t very good at it. Does Beaver offer training for new students?

While we don’t have formal computer training classes, there are a variety of resources available to assist students with all their learning needs. Technology and innovation skills are integrated into all classes at Beaver Country Day School. Students are encouraged to visit a member of our Digital Innovation Group to experiment with all kinds of technology.

Middle School students new to Beaver will receive a training session during Middle School Orientation and will learn how to access support documentation.

We are trying to look at a textbook online and it says we’re missing a plugin. What do we do?

This is most likely an Adobe Flash or Shockwave error. The latest versions can be installed from adobe.com/downloads. If this doesn’t resolve the issue, please submit a help request by emailing techsupport@bcdschool.org with the relevant error details.

How do I check my child's schedule or see my child's assignment calendars?

You can view your child’s schedule by clicking on the “bell schedule view” in their PowerSchool profile. To see their assignments, click on the link in PowerSchool to the faculty sites page. There you can click on the sites of your child’s teachers where information on assignments will be posted.

My child got a new tablet. Can they use it instead of a laptop?

Students will need to be able to run a full desktop browser for school applications. Unfortunately, Android, iOS, and Windows RT tablets do not support the kinds of web applications that are required in Beaver Country Day School courses. Students may find that a tablet device is a useful supplement to their laptop.

We don’t have a printer at home. Do I need to buy one?

There are several public printers at school that are available to students. There is no expectation that families provide their own printer setup at home.

Can my child share a laptop with me or a sibling?

Each student at Beaver Country Day School is expected to be able to have access to their own computer.

I’m worried about security. Is the laptop safe at school?

In any community accidents and poor decisions are an unfortunate reality but they are few and far between at Beaver. Students are generally respectful of one another’s boundaries and property, and lost items are often found within a day or two.

Does Beaver block or filter Internet content?

Currently, Beaver Country Day School does not filter internet traffic for content but does provide standard network protection for a business environment.

Do I have online access to my child’s grades?

Families have access to feedback and grades, at the end of each term, and final grades at the end of the year. They also have access to grades from previous years. You can see these by going to PowerSchool and clicking on “Grade History.” Individual assignment grades will not be posted. If you have a question about a specific assignment please contact the specific teacher directly.

Can I get a discount through the school?

No. Beaver does not offer discounts but individual computer vendors often have educational pricing for students.

I’ve heard about parental control software. Should I use it?

We have found that parental control programs actually hinder more than they help because they often block websites and applications that are required for classes, Google Apps being one example. If you have questions or concerns, please visit the Help Desk and we will be happy to address them with you.

My child has a learning profile. Is there any special software they need?

If your child has a learning profile, contact the Director of Academic Services, Leslie Colognesi, and she will work closely with the technology department regarding any additional software that might be beneficial.

 

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