Technology at MacDuffie

Bring Your Own Laptop (BYOL) Requirements

The MacDuffie School is committed to creating a modern one-to-one learning environment. We aim for students to possess extensive practical experience using the technology skills required in today’s information-rich colleges, universities, and workplaces.

MacDuffie requires all students to bring their laptops to school.  Any laptop (Mac, Windows, or Chromebook) that can connect to a WiFi network and work with Google Workspace for Education (Chrome web browser, Gmail, Google Docs, Calendar, etc.) will qualify. An excellent economical choice is the Google Chromebook. These devices are mostly web-based but will work offline as well. There is no need to install software. They are fast, have a long battery life, and update automatically. Prices start at $219, but we highly recommend purchasing a laptop with reinforced hinges, a spillproof keyboard, and a durable case.

Some possible laptop models include the following:

  • Lenovo Chromebook Flex 3i: under $300 with an Intel Pentium processor, 1080p 15″ touch screen, and long battery life.

  • Lenovo Duet 3: costs $279 and features a detachable full HD touch screen with a stylus for drawing.

  • HP Chromebook 14: costs $222 with a 13.5-hour battery, comfortable screen, and backlit keyboard.

  • Acer Swift 3: a solid budget laptop with AMD Ryzen processor and Windows 10 starting at $600.

  • MacBook M2 Air: Starts at $999 with a student discount and features a fast processor and long battery life. This laptop should fit right in if you already have an iPhone and an Apple Watch.

Tablets (including iPads, Kindles, Nooks, Android) and smartphones are not permitted as primary academic devices. However, they make excellent complementary or secondary devices, especially for ebooks and translation.

Devices and Software not allowed on the MacDuffie network are:

  • Wireless routers, Access Points (AP), and network switches.

  • VPN and BitTorrent software is prohibited on the school network.

IoT (Internet of Things) Devices Permitted on Campus

PlayStations, XBoxes, game consoles, printers, Alexa speakers, Rokus, Apple TVs, Fire Sticks, smart LED bulbs, and similar items are permitted on campus, but students are responsible for connecting them to the student wifi network, keeping them up to date, and using secure passwords. 

Additional Technology Requirements:

  • AC adapter for the laptop, which should be fully charged at the beginning of every school day.

  • Antivirus software with an active subscription or Windows Defender.

  • Google Chrome web browser because it’s necessary for printing via Printix on campus, and it’s the most compatible browser for Google Apps and Blackbaud. Safari, Firefox, Edge, and Internet Explorer are not sufficient.

  • English is the default operating system language.

  • VGA/HDMI dongle adapter if your laptop does not have a standard full-size VGA/HDMI adapter. This will allow you to connect to the classroom audiovisual systems for presentations.

  • All students in a mathematics course must own a Texas Instruments TI-83 Plus or TI-84 graphing calculator.

Technology Recommendations:

  • Sturdy protective laptop case or padded sleeve.

  • Extended warranty or support: Many manufacturers offer extended support (e.g., the AppleCare Protection Plan, which provides additional coverage beyond the first year).

  • Keep your receipt from the purchase, serial number, and literature for your machine so you can contact the manufacturer in case of an issue.

  • External hard drive for backing up files. It’s not a matter of “if” your hard drive will stop, but “when.”

Ebooks

Some class textbooks are available in e-book format. Our online book list is available at http://steurm.net/textbooks/.

E-books generally cost less than printed counterparts, allowing for a much lighter backpack. Text can easily be highlighted, annotated, searched, bookmarked, and viewed across multiple devices. Almost all English novels are available in e-book format (Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, or Google Books). These books can be read on any device and do not require a dedicated e-book reader. Once purchased, you own these books.

Note that some e-textbooks are web-based and require a username and password assigned by the teacher. This type of e-textbook is usually only available for the class, either a semester or all year long.

WiFi Expectations

Internet access is a shared, finite resource in a school environment and must be managed to ensure fair and equal access. Bandwidth limits and quotas make connection speeds more similar to a library, cafe, or hotel than a home. However, unlike some schools, we do not currently ban streaming video or online games, but we may restrict the amount of bandwidth allocated to such activities. MacDuffie has a dedicated high-speed 4 gigabit fiber-optic firewall-protected filtered Internet connection and supports the 802.11a/b/g/n/c WiFi wireless standards throughout the campus. The MacDuffie School Computer Acceptable Use Policy can be found at http://steurm.net/aup.

Google Workspace for Education

With over 40 million users, Google Workspace for Education, including Gmail, Google Drive, Docs, Calendars, Sheets, Slides, Blogger, and more, is used by 72 of the top 100 U.S. universities and seven out of 8 Ivy League schools. Schools include Georgetown, Brown, University of Michigan, Mount Holyoke, Yale, Brandeis, Vanderbilt, and many others. Google Apps are accessible from multiple devices and allow for unparalleled collaboration; Google Drive offers nearly unlimited secure cloud storage that can easily be transferred to another education or personal account when a student graduates. No additional productivity software needs to be purchased by a student.

Printing

Laser and Inkjet printers are located throughout the campus and within every dorm common room. With Printix, students and faculty can print from Windows, Mac, and Chrome OS laptops, as well as Apple and Andriod mobile devices.

Blackbaud K-12 Student Information System

Blackbaud K-12 is MacDuffie’s student information software (SIS), which offers a web portal for teachers, students, and parents to access current grades, schedules, lesson plans, lunch menus, and assignments daily from any internet-connected device anywhere in the world.

Parent Resources

Here are some resources you can use to have conversations around what it means to be a responsible digital citizen online:

Technology FAQs

  • MacDuffie uses a Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA)-compliant web filter to block access to websites with inappropriate content.  All wireless devices using the MacDuffie network are filtered through this appliance.  Cell phones with a 3G/4G data plan are not filtered, because they are on a separate carrier network.

  • Students will be required to use their electronic devices during the school only when it is permissible and for educational purposes. Violations of any school rules or administrative procedures involving a student’s personal device may result in the loss of use of the device in school and/or disciplinary action. The school reserves the right to inspect a student’s personal device if there is reason to believe that the student has violated school policies or administrative procedures or has engaged in other misconduct while using their personal device.

    Students will need to learn to be responsible digital citizens and see that technology is a tool that should be approached in a balanced manner. Technology is an integral part of our modern society and cannot easily be ignored.

  • MacDuffie students and their families are responsible for the day-to-day care and maintenance of their devices.  Student devices should come to school charged and ready for use.  MacDuffie will not assume responsibility for devices that are damaged or lost while on school grounds.  Some basic troubleshooting may be provided to students, as needed and available, while devices are in use at school.  MacDuffie strongly recommends using a protective case and up-to-date antivirus software.

  • Student devices are intended for learning.  Ultimately, classroom teachers will decide when it is appropriate for students to use their devices.

    Students may use their electronic devices during classroom instruction, when in the computer lab, library, or when otherwise authorized by school personnel provided that the devices are being used for academic purposes only.  Devices may not be used for game play and social networking during school hours.

  • Students are not required to purchase any software or apps.  Your child’s teachers may request bookmarks or free applications during the school year.  The sole requirement for all students using a Windows, Mac, or Chromebook laptop is the Google Chrome browser and an active antivirus software subscription.  This minimal requirement allows for a broad range of technologies to meet our standards.