BYOD Frequently Asked Questions

Computer Science Class

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1. Why “Bring Your Own Device” versus requiring every student to have the same digital device?

Because SHC has systems like Schoology, Gmail, and Google Drive, the computing device that each one of our community members uses is less of an issue. Our faculty members currently utilize many different types of computer tools, and for years students have been using a wide range of devices on the SHC network. In many respects, this is an evolution of what has been happening for a few years. Finally, we know that technology evolves and changes at a rapid pace. Locking into a single model has the potential to lock the community into obsolescence.

2. Are students required to bring in a personally owned device?

Students are required to bring in a personally owned device each day in the same way that they are required to bring other learning materials such as textbooks, pencils, notebooks, etc. This is not optional.

3. If a student already owns a device, do they need a new one?

No, as long as the device is functioning properly and is able to meet the minimum hardware requirements, a student may use a device that he/she already owns.

4. Who pays for the devices?

Devices are purchased, owned and maintained by students and their families.

5. What are the minimum hardware system specifications for student devices?

See the SHC Minimum Specifications document for more information.

6. Are students expected to use the devices at both school and home?

Yes. One of the goals of BYOD is ubiquitous and continuous access as a way to build digital and information literacy. This requires access to the learning tools on a device at home and school. Some homework assignments will require students to use a digital device, while other homework assignments will not.

7. What about students who are unable to afford digital devices?

We will use the same procedures that we have in place to support students who are unable to afford textbooks and other essential school supplies.

8. Are there any recommended and required accessories?

We require a protective case/sleeve. It is also a good idea to use a backpack that has an internal, padded sleeve for protecting the device.

We require iPad tablet users to have an external keyboard (in order to keep pace with the classroom experience.)

We require a headset or earbuds.

We strongly recommend an extended warranty.

We recommend theft and hazard insurance. (Warranties typically do not cover abuse, theft or accidental damage).

We recommend an external hard drive or access to a cloud storage service like Google Drive, DropBox, etc. for backing up files. Learning to perform regular backups and how to restore from a backup is a good digital habit.

9. May students install software on their devices?

Yes. If students have administrative rights to their devices they may install their own applications, provided that such applications do not violate the school’s acceptable use policy. We always recommend running software downloads and updates at home as a way to prevent network congestion and slowdowns.

10. Do students have access to power outlets throughout the day?

Yes! The library has over 70 outlets for students to utilize when working in that space, and SHC will provide two secure charging stations for students on campus. You must bring your device’s power adapter if you would like to make use of the secure charging stations. One secure charging station will be in the library and one will be in the De Paul Campus attendance office. These charging locations will operate in a similar manner to coat check systems.

11. What if a student’s device battery is out of power?

Students are expected to come to school each day with their devices fully charged. If there is a need to connect a device to a charger during class, most classrooms will be equipped with power strips for students, but a few classrooms and spaces on campus do not have plentiful outlets and power strips for charging. The Library hosts a charging station.

Students are expected to use their devices in a way that conserves power so that they are available for use during classes. Students should be sure to charge devices at regular intervals as needed.

12. What software do students need on their devices?

Anti-virus is required for all computers running the Mac or Windows operating systems. Free versions of anti-virus software are available for both Mac and PC. See the anti-virus section of our free and open source software document.

Many of the tasks that students will perform on a regular basis may be completed with Schoology and the Google suite of tools.

There are a number of free web-based office suites students may access a word processor, spreadsheets, and presentations (Google Drive, Microsoft Office Online). Students may wish to install similar free software such as Libre Office. A purchased Microsoft Office is not required.

Because we are a Google Apps for Educators campus (GAFE) access to YouTube and its editing capabilities already exist free of charge.

A web browser such as Google Chrome or Firefox is required. Best practices suggest having access to two or more browsers on a digital device.

13. What types of security do you run on SHC’s network?

While we won’t divulge the full extent of our security efforts, we adhere to industry-standard wireless security practices and protocols, and keep up-to-date on all new developments and security threats. In addition, we run Gmail and utilize Gmail’s built-in antivirus service on the school’s Gmail accounts.

14. What happens if a digital device is lost or stolen?

Theft of devices is a legitimate concern. They are small, expensive, and easy to resell. We suggest that each family check to see if their homeowners or renters insurance will cover the theft of a digital device. It is also a good idea to investigate special insurance from a company such as Safeware or Student Insurance Partners. Some devices, such as the iPad, even have location-finding applications available for free.

If a digital device is stolen, report it to the school immediately and file a report with your local law enforcement agency.

Software is available to help law enforcement officials track the whereabouts of a digital device when it connects to the Internet. You are free to install such software at your own expense.

15. What should students do with digital devices when not in use?

Digital devices should be stored in a locked locker or in one of our two designated charging station areas on campus when not being used. (Digital devices may only be stored in the charging stations during school hours and may not be left overnight.) Students should never leave digital devices unattended in open view while on campus. A student may have a friend monitor a digital device while he/she steps away to use the restroom, but he/she should be sure to return immediately.

All digital devices and accessories, including charging cables, need to be clearly labeled with a student’s first name, last name and year of graduation. This will make it easier for devices to be returned if lost. We encourage the use of stickers as a way to visually customize digital devices.

Field sports coaches will share and use best practices for securing student devices and belongings while participating in practices and games–please stay tuned for more details.

16. What happens if a digital device breaks?

We recommend that students purchase an extended warranty for their device at the time of purchase. Broken digital devices should be brought to the Tech Department, where an initial diagnosis will be performed. If the problem can be easily fixed within 15 minutes, the Tech Department will do so. If not, students will be provided with a loaner, and it is up to the student to have the device repaired as soon as possible. Students will need to return loaners within two weeks.

17. Are students required to back up their devices?

Users should routinely backup their computer data. For this reason, the Tech Department recommends that students purchase an external hard drive at the same time the device is acquired or use one of the cloud-based applications like Google Drive, Office365, or DropBox as a way to back up data. Backing up files daily is ideal, but weekly is acceptable. To wait longer than a week is to run the risk of significant data loss.

18. Student backpacks are already too heavy! Adding a device will only make a bad situation worse!

Correct! Most student backpacks are too heavy. But adding a device can actually help alleviate that problem. More and more textbooks are becoming available in electronic form. Depending on the individual teacher, students may choose to have a print copy of the textbook at home while bringing the e-copy of the textbook to school each day on a device. Students should ask their teacher if there is an electronic version of the textbook and if they have a set of texts in their classroom for you to use. This information will also be posted on the school website. Moreover, taking notes on a device can eliminate the need for heavy paper notebooks.

19. Where may students use devices when not in class?

Devices may be used anywhere on campus except the chapel, the cathedral, assemblies/prayer services, and any other placed deemed inappropriate. Use of devices at any point during the school day is subject to our Student Acceptable Use Policy (AUP). Please reference the SHC Student Handbook for AUP details.

20. What kind of professional development will faculty be provided to make sure that SHC is taking full advantage of digital devices in the classroom and that they are used appropriately?

Professional development for faculty is broad, self- and school-directed, and continuous. Our professional learning includes departmental in-services, conferences, on-site workshops, and online learning during the school year and summer. SHC is committed to providing a varied professional development program to support teachers in taking full advantage of what digital devices have to offer to empower teaching and learning. In addition, SHC teachers are routinely present educational technologies and digital media workshops.

21. Will devices be used in every class?

It is likely that a laptop device will be used in classes every day. Whether or not a device is used on any given day depends upon the learning goal and a teacher’s judgment about the best tools to facilitate learning and documenting learning. Some lessons rely on direct instruction, while others rely on discussions, experiments, or simulations. Students may be asked to read silently or aloud, work in face-to-face and online groups, construct media, join a field trip — or some combination of several modes of learning. A digital device is a very powerful tool for engaging in scholarly work, but it is not the only tool that SHC teachers use to facilitate active learning.

22. How will students be kept from engaging in inappropriate use of digital devices?

We have high expectations for honorable behavior within our community. Our teachers are among the most engaging and gifted professional educators in the field. The workload for students is significant. Off-task behavior of any kind is often self-correcting.

The teacher can also, of course, tell students at any time to “close your device” to be sure that potential distraction is not available.

23. What if students forget their device and need it for class?

This will be handled according to each teacher’s policy in the same way that happens when students forget their textbooks or assignments. Students should not rely on being able to use a Tech Department loaner device, as students who need a loaner while their own device is being fixed take top priority, and often there may not be enough loaner devices left for students who forgot their devices at home.

24. What about printing?

Students may not print from their personally owned devices, but they may print from the library desktop computers according to library policies.

25. Which is better? Mac or PC? Android or iOS? Chromebook OS?

We do not advocate one operating system over another. All have their relative strengths and weaknesses. We do emphasize the importance of quality hardware, especially the wireless components in each device selected.

26. What are the relative strengths and weaknesses of laptops, tablets and Chromebooks?

Laptops (Windows and Macintosh Laptops)

  • Have been on the market for quite some time
  • Content creation (writing, creating multimedia, etc.)
  • Have a longer lifespan (3-4 years with good care)
  • Work well with older software programs, flash sites, Java sites, etc.


  • Tend to be larger, heavier and less portable
  • Battery life isn’t as good as tablets/chromebooks
  • Not as effective for extended reading
  • Require more maintenance

Tablets (iPad and Google Nexus)

  • Lightweight and portable
  • Excellent for reading
  • Excellent battery life
  • Fast start up


  • Short lifespan. Will need to be replaced after 2-3 years.
  • Not as effective for content creation
  • Keyboard and other accessories add to total cost and bulk
  • Will not run flash, Java and Windows/Mac applications


  • Lightweight and portable
  • Excellent battery life
  • Fast start up
  • Inexpensive


  • Shorter lifespan. Will need to be replaced after 2-3 years.
  • Integrated keyboard facilitates content creation, though not as effective for content creation as a laptop
  • Not as effective for extended reading
  • Requires Internet connection for most applications to run (word processing and Gmail work without an Internet connection).

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