AWHS New Students: Technology
• All new students in Grade 9 - 12 at AWHS will be required to purchase a laptop computer.
• Students in Grades 7 & 8 will not have a personal device. Instead, AWHS will purchase Chromebooks for students to use as needed at teacher discretion. Chromebooks are an excellent platform to introduce internet research, word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, and basic digital etiquette.
Laptops Offer the Following Benefits:
• Students will be using laptops to complete their work in college so we are directly preparing them for that experience.
• Students can utilize the full version of programs such as Microsoft Office and the Google Suite. AWHS is a Microsoft Office 365 School so all students receive five downloads of the full Microsoft Office suite for free.
• The more robust capacity of laptops will allow us to expand our technology offerings to include Computer Programming or software packages like the Adobe Creative Suite or
• “Screens Up/Screens Down” will result in easier classroom management for teachers. Moreover, when students are working on their laptop, it is easier for a teacher to look at screens.
• Students may use any laptop provided they meet the following specifications:
• An Intel i3 11th generation, i5 9th generation processor or better— or their equivalent in other brands
• 256 GB of internal hard drive storage or better
• 8 GB memory (RAM)
• Battery life sufficient to last a full school day
• Have a fold up/fold down screen—no Surface tablets or iPad Pro.
Preferred Technology Vendors:
To purchase a quality business-grade laptop that meets our recommended laptop requirements, we are suggesting to use these resources:
This has our Recommend System link for the base MacBook Air with AppleCare+
Laptops can be purchase through any vendor including BestBuy, Staples, Office Depot, BJ's, COSTCO, etc. keeping in mind the laptop requirements listed above.
Please refer to the vendor links above for pricing.
Some Initial Questions:
1. Does it really matter whether students have a Windows or Apple based laptop?
Aside from personal preference, it will not matter. Programs such as PowerSchool, Schoology, Microsoft Office, and the Google Suite work equally well in both environments. Most of all the other in-class programs that teachers use, like Kahoot, are web-based and hence platform agnostic.
2. What about digital textbooks?
All of the digital textbooks that we use have versions that can be used on any device, laptop included. Our seventh grade will not use digital textbooks.
3. Will students be required to purchase specific software?
In general, no. The only software students will be required to have is the Microsoft Office Suite, which the school currently provides for free. Every AWHS student is entitled to five downloads of the Office Suite. There may be certain specialized classes that will require the purchase of specific programs, but that will be the equivalent of purchasing a textbook for the class.
4. AWHS doesn’t allow backpacks. How will students carry their laptop to class?
We will be changing our backpack policy for next year to allow students to carry their laptops and textbooks safely to class.
5. Won’t having a mixed year of laptops and iPads be confusing?
For next year, our teachers will continue to construct their lessons around the capabilities of the iPad, not the more robust capacity of a laptop. However, there will most likely be times next year that students with laptops find it easier to complete certain assignments due to nature of the device.
6. Why the difference between 7th and 8th grade? Shouldn’t everyone use Chromebooks?
In this current school year, we started integrating some eighth grade and ninth grade classes. Next year, all of our eighth graders will take either French I or Spanish I, which will be mixed with ninth graders. We did not want to create a situation in which students had different devices in the course. Additionally, requiring eighth graders to have a laptop will give us the opportunity to train them in the use of the device.
7. Chromebooks are cheaper than laptops. Can a high school student have a Chromebook?
We believe that the Chromebook is excellent for middle-school level work. It is simply not robust enough for the work of a college preparatory high school.