Students & Computers during School Closure

Students & Computers during School Closure

We know the current pressures some of our families are under to ensure their children have access to computers.

We are also aware that some of our families do not have a computer in the home or there are several children trying to share the same machine.

If you have an old desktop or laptop that you would like to donate to the school so we can allocate it to another family, please do let us know: closure@bottishamvc.org . 
If we are able to take your old computer, we will reformat the hard drive, install a new operating system and allocate it to a family that needs it.

This very simple guide aims to provide some guidance on how to obtain or purchase a basic computer for children to access their learning at home.

Refurbish your old computers

If you own an old desktop PC, laptop PC or Mac that you no longer use, you may be able to convert this device into a Chromebook using CloudReady A Chromebook uses Chrome OS and allows users to access the internet, including google services such as google docs and google classroom. Students' school account includes access to the essential Google services, and they can use their account to set up a Chromebook device. To check your old computer is compatible, please follow the link:

https://guide.neverware.com/supported-devices/

Purchase a refurbished PC

A word of warning before we begin. Some of the subjects we teach at Bottisham Village College are taught using moderately powerful computers within our computer suites and music rooms. This provision is designed to cope with the demands of high-resource usage applications such as Photoshop CC as used by the photography group. When purchasing computing equipment for home, particularly where budget is a major consideration, then it must be accepted that not all applications will run with acceptable performance.

Desktop, laptop or tablet?

  • Desktops are static, need desk space, consist of a combination of components that are connected together (the computer, a keyboard, a mouse and a monitor) and are usually connected to the home network using an ethernet cable or WIFI-dongle.
  • Laptops are portable, are a self-contained unit and are usually connected to the home network via Wi-Fi.
  • Tablets are a touch-screen device and, although fun to use with lots of apps available, they are less easy for students to produce their own work. We recommend that students have access to either a desktop computer with a keyboard or laptop.

Refurbished Desktop PCs can be purchased from eBay from around £75. Refurbished Laptops are a little more expensive. Some sellers offer Windows 10 pre-installed and include a WIFI-dongle and 12-month warranty.

In terms of specification we recommend that you look for a minimum of an I3 CPU, 4GB RAM (8GB if possible) and an SSD drive of 128GB or more. A screen size of less than 13.3 inches should be avoided.

Purchasing a new device

If you would like to purchase a new laptop on a budget, we recommend purchasing a new Chromebook. These are light, fast to boot, easy to maintain, swift to set up and support Gmail and Google Classroom – both used by students at Bottisham Village College. They also support Google’s free applications that mimic (and are compatible with) Microsoft’s Word, Excel and PowerPoint. They are usually cheaper to buy new than a Windows laptop – a new Chromebook can be purchased for less than £200 for example. The specifications of a Chromebook are less important than a Windows laptop but do look for at least 4GB RAM and a minimum screen size of 13.3 inches. Argos and Amazon have a range of Chromebooks that can be purchased.

Apply to a charity for a laptop

Cambridgeshire Youth Panel are providing a limited amount of laptops/ chrome books to young people. You can apply directly to the charity. https://cambsyouthpanel.co.uk/chromebooks-for-students

Obtaining a loan computer from school

If your child is in receipt of free school meals, we may be able to support your child by supplying them with a computer. We will be purchasing a small number of computers that we will be able to lend out to students. If your child receives free school meals and you would like to apply for a loan laptop, please do get in touch with us: closure@bottishamvc.org . We will only be able to provide a very limited number of computers to loan to students.

Mr Dom Fullman
Deputy Principal

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