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Laptop Initiative and Lounge FAQ's

Index

  1. Why was the Laptop Initiative created?
  2. What is the requirement?
  3. Why does the Laptop Initiative use Mac laptops?
  4. Why does the requirement specify a single platform (operating system)?
  5. Are Macs used very much in public schools?
  6. How will these computers be used in the teacher education program?
  7. Are students required to buy a new computer?
  8. What is the cost of the COE bundle?
  9. How do I order my laptop computer at the special price?
  10. Where can I find pricing information for the laptop bundles?
  11. When Apple announces new models, how will this impact the COE Laptop Initiative bundles?
  12. Will other items be available at special prices to enhance the function of the computers?
  13. Do students have to buy a particular model?
  14. Can I upgrade my existing laptop to meet the requirements?
  15. If I have a Dell/IBM/Sony/HP or other Windows laptop, what do I need to get in order to use it in the Laptop Initiative?
  16. I would like to purchase an iBook in the Fall but I won't start at the College of Education for two years. Will the requirements change between now and then?
  17. Is there technical help in the College of Educatiion?
  18. Will students be allowed to check out equipment for short periods of time?

1. Why was the Laptop Initiative created?

Florida teachers are required to be proficient in the use of technology, and special emphasis is placed on the use of computers. The use of laptop computers in their preservice training has been found to make future teachers much better prepared for integrating technology into instructional practice. Laptop computers are also great tools for teaching and learning. For example, these laptops will enable teachers to collect student data, capture and display multimedia images, communicate electronically with others, capitalize on the rich resources available on the internet, build electronic portfolios, do web and desktop publishing, and teach students to use technology as they learn.

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2. What is the requirement?

All students in the USF College of Education who elect to join the Laptop Initiative will be required to have a laptop computer meeting certain specifications as they enter the college.

The minimum laptop specifications are as follows:

Model: Apple MacBook, MacBook Pro, iBook or Powerbook
Operating System: Mac OS X (10.4 recommended)
Processor: 1.33 Ghz Power PC G4 or higher
RAM: 512 MB
Hard Disk Size: 15 GB
Removable Media: DVD-ROM/CD-RW (Combo Drive)
Connectivity: 10/100Base-T Ethernet, Apple Airport card, 56K internal modem, USB and FireWire ports, external SVGA monitor/projector output
Technical Support: AppleCare Protection Plan
Software: MS Office, Inspiration, Kidspiration, Quicktime Pro, iWork, iLife

Students who already have a laptop computer meeting or exceeding these specifications do not need to obtain additional items to meet the requirement. Students who can upgrade an existing laptop computer to meet or exceed these specifications may do so to meet the requirement. Other students must obtain a laptop computer meeting or exceeding these specifications to fulfil the requirement.

As part of a package agreement which combines resources from USF and Apple, Apple is offering several MacBook configurations that meet or exceed all minimum laptop specification requirements. Details of the special bundles can be viewed on the USF Computer Store website. This plan will allow students to own a great laptop outright, to use in their classes and to take with them into their first classroom job.

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3. Why does the Laptop Initiative use Mac laptops?

Apple has a history of a strong presence in the schools working with teachers and in curriculum development. The Apple laptops, the Mac OS X operating system, and the iLife suite of applications offer a particularly rich environment for multimedia applications and instruction in an easy-to-learn format. Several school districts in our area are already using Macs as their primary computing platform.

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4. Why does the requirement specify a single platform (operating system)?

The use of a single platform will facilitate the ongoing training (which must happen efficiently and rapidly to make this exciting new initiative successful). This decision will also facilitate technical support for students and faculty.

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5. Are Macs used very much in public schools?

Different schools and distrcits use different kinds of computers, but most schools use some Apple computers and some Windows-based computers. In our area, Pasco and Manatee counties use Macs, while Pinellas uses both operating systems.

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6. How will these computers be used in the teacher education program?

Some faculty members plan thier curriculum to incorporate computer usage taking advantage of the new resources available to students. Students can expect to conduct extensive use of internet instructional resources, to develop and use multimedia materials, to work with interactive video clips, and to create digital audio recordings (podcasts) of classroom activity.

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7. Are students required to buy a new computer?

No, students who already have a computer or who wish to purchase or borrow a used laptop computer may do so, as long as the computer meets or exceeds the specified hardware and operating characteristics. If a question arises about the suitability of a particular computer, a student should ask for clarification.

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8. What is the cost of the COE bundle?

The special bundle offer, including a MacBook computer that meets the minimum requirements, airport wireless card, Microsoft Office, iLife, iWork, Inspiration, and an iSight camera is available online. Please visit the USF Computer Store website for more details. Other laptop configurations meeting the requirements are also available.

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9. How do I order my laptop computer at the special price?

Purchase of the laptop must be made through the USF Computer Store. Consult with the Laptop Lounge staff before you place your order to make sure you meet the requirements of the program.

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10. Where can I find pricing information for the laptop bundles?

Pricing informatiion for the laptop bundle can be found on the USF Computer Store website.

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11. When Apple announces new models, how will this impact the COE Laptop Initiative bundles?

The USF Computer Store website will continue to be updated to reflect the latest configurations offered by Apple.

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12. Will other items be available at special prices to enhance the function of the computers?

Students will select any optional upgrades for their laptops, such as extra memory, at the time they purchase their bundle.

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13. Do students have to buy a particular model?

No, there are several models of laptops from Apple which meet the minimum requirements. Students can purchase either MacBooks or MacBook Pros.

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14. Can I upgrade my existing laptop to meet the requirements?

It is possible that you have an Apple laptop that can be upgraded in order to meet the College of Education’s Laptop Initiative requirements. To find out more information regarding your specific model, please contact the Laptop Lounge at laptoplounge@coedu.usf.edu.

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15. If I have a Dell/IBM/Sony/HP or other Windows laptop, what do I need to get in order to use it in the Laptop Initiative?

Unfortunately, the laptop requirement is for a computer that will run Apple OS X; you will need to obtain a laptop that meets the requirements before you can join the Laptop Initiative.

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16. I would like to purchase an iBook in the Fall but I won't start at the College of Education for two years. Will the requirements change between now and then?

Computer hardware and software change over time, with a general trend of increasing power and decreasing prices. If you buy a laptop computer as an entering freshman, it will not be the same as the ones being sold when you enter the College of Education. However, if you buy a high quality computer as a freshman it will still be serviceable as you graduate (perhaps with some updates and maintenance). We do not intend to change requirements to invalidate a choice you make as an entering freshman, so your computer should suffice for the laptop requirement.

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17. Is there technical help in the College of Educatiion?

Students participating in the Laptop Initiative can get help at two locations:

The Laptop Lounge (training and software updates)
Location: EDU 252
Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Phone: 974-6816

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18. Will students be allowed to check out equipment for short periods of time?

Yes, the Laptop Lounge has digital microscopes and other science equipment that can be checked out using our sign-out page on the computer by the entrance to the Lounge. Students can also sign out a MIDI keyboard and microphones to work on podcasts and other audio projects.

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