Few schools have as noteworthy a reputation as Worcester Academy when it comes to putting technology into the hands of students.
 
From our one-to-one laptop program, to our integration of cutting edge technology into the curriculum, to our use of social media, Worcester Academy is preparing students for the real world and for success in the 21st century like no other independent school.
 
For Worcester Academy students, digital citizenship and responsibility are themes they hear from day one regarding technology and its value in teaching, learning, and communicating. In addition to gaining proficiency in the use of various applications and programs, students come to appreciate the role technology plays both in and out of the classroom and across every discipline.
 
Along with our laptop program (students keep their laptops throughout the day and take them home at night), technology highlights include: interactive white boards and projectors in all classrooms; robust wireless and wired networking throughout campus; dormitory common rooms with printers; and school email addresses and network accounts to back up files.
 
Additionally, the school website provides parents and students with access to myHILLTOP to follow their child's academic progress throughout the year. Families also have access to the NAVIANCE college counseling dashboard, and calendars page and to the library’s online resources.
 
Supporting Worcester Academy in all aspects of technology innovation is the Information Services Department, the offices for which are located in the lower-level of the Student Center.

List of 22 frequently asked questions.

  • Q: Who gets a laptop?

    All students enrolled at Worcester Academy are assigned a laptop.
  • Q: When will students receive their laptops?

    Students will receive their laptops in the first few weeks of the academic school year.
  • Q: Who owns the laptops?

    The laptops are purchased by Worcester Academy.  Beginning in 2010, each family will pay an annual fee no greater than $600 as part of the program.
  • Q: Do students need to return their laptops?

    Yes.  Students are required to return their laptop at the end of each school year.  This allows the Information Services staff to service the laptop and apply software updates in preparation for the following school year.
  • Q: What type of laptop will students be receiving?

    Student will be receiving a 13.3 inch MacBook.  This may be subject to change given updates to the Apple laptop line.
  • Q: Can students bring their laptops home?

    Yes.  Students must have their laptops at school each day but should bring their laptops home every afternoon for use with homework and other projects.  The laptops should also be charged nightly so they have a full charge in the morning.
  • Q: What will the laptops be used for?

    The laptops will be used for a variety of different functions.  Teachers will take advantage of the laptops as part of their teaching, assignments, and projects.  Students will also use their laptops to complete homework assignments, research and checking his or her email daily. But most importantly, we believe that putting technology in the hands of our students provides our faculty with the greatest flexibility to deliver a real world education.
  • Q: How often will laptops be used?

    The laptops are a tool to support learning. Teachers will determine when using the laptop is appropriate. We anticipate increased usage as students and faculty become more familiar with the computers. However, technology will not be used simply for the sake of it.  It will only be used when and where appropriate – therefore in situations where it enhances and extends the learning process.
  • Q: Will students need fewer books now that they have laptops?

    Many resources are currently available online and students will have access to many more sources using the laptops.  Some classes will not require textbooks at all and will instead pull only from online resources.  However, most classes will continue to use the traditional textbook.
  • Q: Where is wireless available on campus?

    Wireless is available in all academic buildings on campus, as well as the student center.  Each wireless access point has the ability to support 500 simultaneous users.
  • Q: What software is included on the laptops?

    Each 1-to-1 laptop will come pre-loaded with software.  In addition to the many standard programs included with Mac OS X, each laptop will also include Microsoft Office, Abobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and much more.  Students will use the Zimbra email client, also provided, to access their e-mail and other school files.  The retail cost of this software bundle exceeds $2000.
  • Q: Will students have Administrator access rights on their laptops?

    Yes.  Students are allowed administrator access to their laptops so that they may change certain settings and install new software.
  • Q: Are students permitted to use Facebook, instant messenger, and other similar online tools while on campus

    The Information Services staff has the ability to block specific websites and tools.  The specific tools that are blocked vary between Middle School and Upper School and will be re-evaluated periodically to ensure there is the appropriate balance between having useful tools available and ensuring proper use while on campus.
  • Q: What if I want parental control software installed on my child’s laptop?

    Parents are welcome to purchase parental control or “cyber nanny” software for their child’s laptop.  The Information Services staff will need to assist you in installing this software.
  • Q: Who can use the laptops?

    Each laptop is intended to be used by the assigned student only as well as his or her parents.  The laptop is not to be shared with other students.
  • Q: Where will student keep their laptops when they are not being used?

    Students must not leave their laptops unattended unless they are locked in a secure place.  They should not be left in backpacks or in unattended classrooms.  Instead, they must be locked in student lockers whenever they are not being directly used or guarded by the student. Students will be required to purchase a lock for their lockers that must be used at all times. Students and their families are responsible for the loss or theft of a laptop.
  • Q: Where can I buy the proper backpack for transporting a laptop?

    Families are responsible for supplying a laptop-ready backpack. Many retailers both online and in stores carry backpack that will accommodate the Apple MacBook 13.3 inch laptop. We also encourage families to consider purchasing a protective sleeve in lieu of a bag or backpack. Many of these sleeves come equipped with shoulder straps if so desired. Please specify this particular model when selecting an appropriate bag. We have created a list of bags that will fit the MacBook 13.3 inch laptop from popular online retailer eBags.com. Please visit this link to view the list. These bags are available in many retail stores as well as online.
  • Q: How can I learn about proper laptop care?

    Proper laptop care is important to prevent the computer from being lost or damaged.  Please read the Standards for Proper Laptop Care and follow all of the guidelines.  Failure to abide by the details below may result in full financial responsibility by the student’s family.
  • Q: What happens if a laptop breaks?

    Many times a laptop will break due to a manufacturing defect of a part and will be covered by warranty.  Broken screens and damage due to “gross negligence” are not covered by warranty.  Please contact the Information Services office for support.
  • Q: How do I protect my child’s laptop from viruses?

    The laptops come pre-installed with virus protection software.  In addition, the Information Services staff monitors laptops to ensure that virus protection is enabled and that virus definitions are up-to-date.
  • Q: Can students use the laptops for personal use?

    Yes.  Students are encouraged to feel a sense of ownership with their laptops.  Laptops may be used for personal use but must adhere to the procedures and guidelines set forth in the Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) for Technology.  Students can store files, music, and photos on their laptop.  However, students are responsible for backing up all of their personal files to ensure that no data is lost.
  • Q: What is the Acceptable Use Policy and how is it enforced?

    The Worcester Academy Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) is a set of guidelines and procedures that describes how the laptop can be used and indicates any uses that are either disallowed by the school or illegal.  The AUP will be strictly enforced at all times at school.  Random “computer checks” will take place to ensure that students are adhering to these procedures and guidelines.  All students are required to read and understand the AUP.  It can be found here. Any online activity that occurs outside the scope of the school day also falls under the Academy’s AUP. This includes the use of social networks and online communities where students may be interacting with one another.
Overview
The 1-to-1 Laptop Program, school-wide beginning in 2010, is an innovative program that provides a laptop to each student.  Research has shown that students with laptops are more active learners and more readily engage in problem solving and critical thinking.  In addition, research has indicated that students with laptops develop better writing and computer skills.

List of 5 members.

WORCESTER ACADEMY® is a co-ed day and boarding school for grades 6 to 12 and postgraduates. Our urban setting, diverse community, and innovative curriculum provide each student with unique opportunities for self-discovery, academic achievement, and personal empowerment.

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