BYOD Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Will parents be required to purchase a new laptop for the Brandeis Marin Student Laptop Program?

A. Only if they currently do not own one that meets the minimum requirements (see this page). Chromebooks are an affordable alternative as well. Families that need assistance acquiring a suitable laptop can contact Janet Lewis, Director of Finance and Operations, to inquire about financial assistance.

Q. Can my child bring an Internet capable device (i.e. smart phone, iPad, etc.) in lieu of using a laptop?

A. No. The Brandeis Marin Student Laptop Program is designed around classroom use of laptops with full version software applications and Web-based resources. While the small size of an iPad or smart phone is convenient, the processing power and memory does not meet the specifications which will be required for the resources and assignments teachers use. Moreover, the iPad does not display Flash-enabled websites, many of which are used by our teachers. Chromebooks do meet the laptop requirements.

Q. What else do Brandeis Marin middle school students need to bring for their laptops?

A. Please bring a protective carrying case and power cord. It is very important that you are able to protect your laptop from bumps and dropping with a sturdy case. A power cord is also very important especially if your laptop will not hold a charge for at least four hours. Headphones or earbuds are also required. Please see the Minimum Specifications sheet for more detail.

Q. We have another computer at home for our student to use. Can students leave their laptops at school?

A. Students may choose to leave their laptop at school as long as they are stored in the student’s locked school locker. Students opting to leave their laptop at school need to develop a reliable system for transporting or sharing documents back and forth.

Q. What are the students’ responsibilities with regard to the Brandeis Marin Laptop Program?

A. Over the summer, all students and families sign an annual Responsible Use Policy. There are four main laptop responsibilities:

  1. Bring the laptop charged and ready for use each day
  2. Do not leave the device unsupervised
  3. Backup your data regularly
  4. Ensure the laptop, charger, case and any other parts are clearly labeled with the student’s first and last name

Q. What if a student forgets his/her laptop at home?

A. We maintain a small pool of laptop loaners available during the school day, available on a first-come, first-served basis. The student will need to return the loaner laptop no later than 3:30pm that same day.

Q. Will the laptop need to be connected to the internet to complete homework assignments?

A. Yes. Students will need to be able to access their homework assignments via Schoology, our learning management system. In addition, they may need to do internet research, retrieve work that resides on the internet, save work to the internet, or collaborate with other students to complete work that resides on the internet.

Q. Who is responsible for the maintenance and updates of these devices?

A. All maintenance for the hardware device, operating system, software and/or apps purchased by the family are the responsibility of the family. Families should ensure a quick maintenance turnaround for student devices. Loaner laptops will be available in the tech office for no longer than two weeks for emergency situations. The family owns and is ultimately responsible for the upkeep and usefulness of the device. As noted above, Brandeis Marin recommends that families purchase an Accidental Damage policy for their laptop.

Q: Is any technical support available on campus?

A. Brandeis Marin will provide students with instructions and assistance in connecting their laptops to our wireless network, printers and projectors, as well as try to answer some basic questions. We will also provide tech support to students with minor problems during the school day. Due to staffing limitations, we are unable to provide extensive technical support for your individual computer. If a problem will take more than about 15 minutes to solve, it probably needs to be taken off-campus. Loaners will be available for no longer than two weeks for students who experience problems that require their laptops to be taken off-campus for servicing. As noted earlier, we recommend that you consider getting an extended warranty with your computer as a hedge against future hardware or operating system issues. This is strongly suggested if you are buying a laptop or if the standard warranty period is one year or less.

Q. How can students protect their computing device from theft or damage?

A. Learning to take care of school supplies -- whether textbooks, calculators, uniforms, or computers -- is one of the daily tasks of student life. We highly recommend that students purchase and carry their computer in a sturdy travel case and always lock computers in their lockers when not in use during the day. We also encourage students to backup data to a cloud-based service (e.g., Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.) or to an external storage device.

Q. What do I do if my laptop is stolen?

A. 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 Square Trade or Worth Avenue. If a laptop is stolen, file a report with your local law enforcement agency. Software such as Lojack for Laptops 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.

Q. Do I need to purchase insurance for my device?

When purchasing your laptop, please make sure you purchase Damage Protection (PCs) or AppleCare (Apple). Apple laptops will also need additional insurance for accidental damage protection as it is not covered under AppleCare. This ensures that your laptop is protected against accidental damage to your child’s device on and off the school campus. Fire, theft and acts of God are usually not covered under these programs, and we recommend you talk to your insurance carrier about your coverage. All insurance claims must be settled between you and the insurance company.

Q: What is the purpose of the Brandeis Marin Student Laptop Program?

A: The primary goals of the Brandeis Marin Student Laptop Program are:

  • To provide students with direct and continuous access to learning resources and tools throughout the school day and beyond.
  • To support teachers in seeking out and employing best practices that infuse technology appropriately into the learning process.
  • To harness technology to empower students, enhance learning experiences, and create opportunities for personalized, collaborative, and student-centered learning across time and space.

Q: Why has Brandeis Marin decided to move the Student Laptop Program entirely to a “bring your own device” model?

A: We are moving to this model for three major reasons:

  1. We want to empower students and families to choose the tools that are most appropriate for them. Research has found that when students personalize their education, it accelerates their learning.
  2. Each year, an increasing number of families have opted to provide their student with a family-owned laptop.
  3. We want to shift the focus of the Brandeis Marin Tech Department to teaching and learning. We will continue to provide limited tech support to our students. With this change, we anticipate spending much less time repairing machines and more time in classrooms, working with teachers and providing user support.

Q. How will I learn more about laptops and technology at Brandeis Marin?

A. At a Parent Association event next Fall, we will cover many aspects of how students use laptops at Brandeis Marin and how we recommend parents and students work together to manage technology use.