In order to fully realize the potential of the Connected Learner, your student needs “any time, any place” access to the world. Although we will be able to provide you with a basic laptop (chromebook) if necessary, we strongly encourage you to consider having your student bring their own laptop. Please note this this program is contingent on a significant number of students choosing to bring their own laptop.
Students bringing their own laptop to school offers the following advantages:

  1. You can get what you like. If you prefer the Apple operating system, the Windows operating system, or some other operating system, you can choose that. (The laptops we can provide will be Chromebooks running the Chrome OS).
  2. You can get the specifications you want. If your student is into video editing, you can get a laptop that’s more suitable for that. If you prefer a larger screen, you can get that. If you want an extra battery instead of an optical drive, that’s your choice. (The laptops we provide will have a decent battery, a relatively small screen, and no optical drive.)
  3. You can customize it more. If you own the laptop, you can purchase and install whatever software you want and customize the look and feel of the laptop. You will also be able to use the laptop over the summer and in subsequent school years. (The laptops we provide will, unfortunately, have to be returned to AHS at the end of the year.)

As you know, there are many options and features to think about when purchasing a laptop. Each person’s needs are unique, so this is definitely not one-size-fits-all. Most students do not necessarily need a top-of-the-line laptop at this point in their learning. (One exception to this would be if your student is interested in video editing or other high-end applications, in which case they would probably want a more robust machine.) Choices include $200 - $300 Chromebooks, $350 - $400 budget PC laptops (check Best Buy, Office Depot/Max, Staples, Microcenter, etc. for current deals), $899 Macbook Airs, and just about everything in between (and beyond). Pick something that works for your student, what they want to do with it, and your budget (keeping mind they can use it for all four years here at Arapahoe).

As far as specifications:

  • Most students will be served just fine by a basic laptop running Windows 7 or 10, Mac OS X, Linux, or the Chrome OS.
  • Most of the laptops that you see advertised will work fine for what students need to do, although we would recommend at least 4 GB of RAM (8 GB is even better) - which is one area that the “on sale” laptops sometimes skimp on, but you can get by on less. (If you check the Sunday newspaper there are usually advertisements from several stores featuring laptops that are under $400 - these are often very functional, but check the specs and especially the battery life.)
  • Our wireless network should work with everything, so as long as it has wireless you’re good. You’ll want to install current versions of web browsers (Firefox, Chrome, etc.)
  • There is no other specific software that you have to install, although each class will probably make recommendations of browser plugins or other software that you might like to install. There is no requirement to purchase and install Microsoft Office as we’ll be using Google Drive extensively, but you are welcome to if you want to. You could also install the free LibreOffice if you wish.
  • Some folks will wonder about using iPads (or other tablets). You definitely can, but please realize that currently there are a few limitations on iPads that your student will have to work around. Google Drive works on iPads, but it's not optimized for it, and iPads don’t run Flash or Java. That means that there will be times your student will have to use another device. (We’d also recommend considering a bluetooth keyboard for it as well.)
  • Finally, your student will want to have some kind of backup routine in place, so that their files are backed up someplace other than the laptop. This could be an external hard drive, a flash drive that they use to transfer to another computer (we don’t recommend using the flash drive itself as the backup), or a service like Dropbox or Google Drive (part of the Google Apps that LPS provides).
When you complete the Online Registration this summer you will be asked to specify whether your student is bringing their own laptop or wants to use one of our chromebooks. For those who do select to use one of our chromebooks, we will have them for you during schedule pick-up (at Newton Middle School this year due to Bond work at AHS.) Please read through the Responsible Use Agreement.