Connected! World

 

 “If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow.” - John Dewey

In an effort to meet the needs of students and staff, Gray Stone will be implementing the Connected! World plan which will require each student to have access to a device during the school day.  This plan will roll in with the students entering 9th grade beginning in the fall of 2016.  All other students are encouraged to participate but not required.

Why are we moving to a Connected! World plan?  Today’s education system is evolving to take full advantage of the potential of technology to inspire learning and create independent, critical thinkers. Technology has become an essential part of education for students at Gray Stone Day School. To be able to live, learn, and work successfully in our information-rich society, students must be able to utilize technology effectively.  We believe that regular access to technology will lead to the achievement of these goals:

  • Better understanding of how and when to use technology appropriately
  • Greater access to relevant academic material
  • Building 21st Century workforce skills of collaboration, creativity, and communication
  • Utilizing teaching tools that allow teachers to better assess student learning and growth

Why require a device instead of providing one?  Gray Stone has evaluated this and determined that a majority of students already have a device of some sort.  We have also discovered that in a number of device provided technology schools, students own an additional device that they prefer using because of the restrictions the school needs to place on the school-owned devices.  By requiring students to have their own device, we are taking into account personal preference as some students prefer a tablet and others prefer a laptop.  This plan also allows students to use the device for all aspects of their life thus increasing the likelihood that it is kept up to date and they are knowledgeable about the device.  This also allows students to learn when and where personal activities on devices is appropriate and when it is not.

What type of device will we need?  While we do want families to choose the device that is appropriate for them, we feel the need to set minimum standards to ensure connectivity with our network and the availability of specific resources.  Minimum screen size for all devices is 9.5” (measured diagonally) and must connect to a 5GHz 802.11a/b/g/n wireless standard. Please refer to the chart below for more information about minimum requirements for specific devices.

  Windows Laptop/Netbook Apple MacBook Air or Pro Laptop

Chromebook Laptop

10” Android Tablet Google Nexus 10 or Galaxy Note 10     iPad Windows Surface Pro 3
Minimum Storage Capacity 250 GB            hard drive 250 GB            hard drive 16 GB 32 GB 32 GB 64 GB
Operating System Windows 7          or higher OS 10.10 or higher Chrome OS     (self-updating OS) Android 5.1        or higher iOS 8.3                  or higher Windows 8.0      or higher
Minimum Battery Life 6 hours 6 hours 6 hours 6 hours 6 hours 6 hours
Required Accessories       Physical   keyboard Physical   keyboard External  keyboard
Recommended Accessories Protective case/cover Protective case/cover Protective case/cover Protective case/cover Protective case/cover Protective case/cover
Approximate Cost $350 and up + accessories $950 and up + accessories $249 and up + accessories $249 and up
+ keyboard
and accessories
$429 and up
+ keyboard
and accessories
$499 and up + accessories

Note: Even though iOS (e.g. iPad) and Android based devices are on the list, there could be difficulty running a number of applications and tasks may present a problem. The use of these devices are discouraged. While all these devices meet the minimum system requirements/hardware specifications, Gray Stone strongly recommends that students choose a laptop device to maximize their learning experience.

What about software?  Gray Stone subscribes to Google Apps for Education.  This allows all students and staff access to Gray Stone specific Gmail, Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides, Google Forms, and the Google Drive.  Gray Stone also utilizes Canvas as a learning management system.  All of these resources are accessible through any web browser.  While some devices have specific apps for utilizing these resources, it is not necessary to use those.  Devices listed above will be able to access these Gray Stone resources.  Some people prefer to use Microsoft Office applications.  This is perfectly acceptable, but not required.  In addition, we ask that all devices have the ability to access PDF documents. 

How about security of devices?  The environment at Gray Stone is typically one of respect.  Very rarely do we find devices that have gone missing.  However, it is the responsibility of the student to protect and secure their device.  Gray Stone Day School assumes no responsibility for malfunction, damage, theft, or loss of personal devices used in its building or on its campus.

What support will be provided to students for their devices?  Gray Stone Day School will not provide technical support for personal devices. Support and technical assistance is the sole responsibility of the user.  We expect students to know and understand how to use their device.  Basic troubleshooting should be handled by the student.  In this day and age, these are necessary skills.  We believe that having a working device in class is much like having paper and pencil was in the past. 

If families are providing the device, what will Gray Stone be investing in?  Our people.  Staff development is critical to preparing our teachers with the necessary tools to engage with and make use of student devices on a daily basis.  Just like students are growing and learning every day, we expect the same from our staff.  Our investment in individual and group professional development for our teachers is critical to taking our students to the next level of digital literacy, improving the efficiency of instruction and learning, and building 21st Century skills for which colleges and employers are searching.