Below is a list of devices your son or daughter could purchase and bring to school next year.
The basic requirements of a device are:
    1. Internet accessibility and ability to access Google Drive
    2. Typing ability (Phones do not count as a device)

Price Range: starting under $300.00

Pros: Lightweight, very portable, quick bootup/shutdown, Google Apps, 6.5 hours of battery life, offline capability for when the wireless is down.

Cons: No hard drive, only access web, Google Apps, lacks universal software, limit yourself to the Google environment

SCA's Take: The Google Chromebook is the school's recommended device for those with limited computer experience. Access all of your schoolwork using Google drive, check email, browse the web, and create documents all within the Google environment. The Chromebook has terrific battery life, is lightweight and portable, and is cost effective. It also has the advantage that students can't download large gaming software packages.

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Pros: Up to 10 hour battery life, Microsoft Office, USB Ports, click-in keyboards, built-in dual position kickstand, fast processor, 1080p HD display, front and rear cameras, Windows 8.1

Cons: No cellular connectivity (only Wi-Fi, no 3G/4G options), at times difficult to use Office programs on a small screen, Storage options are limited, price point is pretty high for more loaded devices.

SCA's Take: The Microsoft Surface is a good combination of fun and functionality. Strong battery life makes it good for school use as well as its portability and built in keyboard. Make sure you try the keyboard out before purchasing as it is a bit different than a regular one. 

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SCA's Take: If you ask most Apple users why they choose Apple devices, usually they'll tell you, "It just works better". This is a very subjective statement, but it really does come down to a matter of preference. Once you have been working in the Apple Operating System environment, it becomes very intuitive. One thing Apple doesn't do is make cheap products. There is a misconception that Apple products are more expensive than other brands. Though Apple products aren't cheap, if you compare them to other brands' higher end products (with the same specs, components, build quality, etc.) the price difference is minor. 

 Apple devices are made to sync nicely together, so when you have multiple Apple devices (ie. iPhone, iPod, iPad, etc.) things like contact information, documents, emails, photos, etc. get automatically updated on all of your devices. For example, if you start creating a Keynote presentation on the iPad, you can continue working on it on your MacBook (and vise versa). It used to be that Apple computers were limited by the lack of software available, compared to a PC. That limitation is non-existent any more, and in fact, there are many programs that you can only get on a Mac. Apple has a wide range of free and paid programs available on the MacBook through the App store, but you can also purchase other programs for the MacBook in a retail store or website download (ie. Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Office, etc.). Note that MacBooks no longer come with optical CD/DVD drives, so if you have software that you want to put on the MacBook that is on a CD or DVD, you will either need to purchase an external drive, or use Apple's free wireless installation using a Mac that does have an optical drive. As our students will be submitting the majority of their assignments through Google Drive, you can be rest-assured that the Google Drive experience is the exact same on a MacBook as it is on a PC Laptop. Furthermore, every new MacBook comes with Apple's iLife (office suite) for free. 

One other consideration is whether to get a MacBook Pro or a MacBook Air. With the MacBook Air, you get a thinner, lighter laptop, but sacrifice processing power and hard drive space. With that said, both the MacBook Pro and the MacBook Air are more than capable of handling the tasks required for students at school. In fact, both will easily handle more demanding programs, such as, Adobe Photoshop, iMovie, etc. However, students who are interested in some of the multimedia courses (ie. Digital Multimedia, Graphic Design, etc.) may want to consider the MacBook Pro over the MacBook Air as it will process files and operations more quickly (though students in these classes will have access to school PCs, which were purchased specifically for these courses).

Acer Aspire V5-122PSCA's Take: A Window's based laptop is a cost effective choice. It has all the functionality needed to access the wireless network, Google Drive, and other programs. Some people prefer Mac over Windows but for what is required at school, a Window's laptop would be just fine. There have been some small issues with connecting certain Window's devices to the scsschoolguest wireless network but we are hoping to resolve these issues.