As with all LPS schools, Littleton High School has a wireless network (called PODnet) in place throughout our school that allows students to bring their own wireless devices to school and connect to the Internet. As a result, we often get asked which laptop or device to purchase. Please be aware that Littleton High School and Littleton Public Schools are not dictating what you should buy, we are simply sharing some general thoughts on the topic. As such, we are not liable for any decisions you ultimately make.
First, the device doesn’t have to be a laptop. Any device that uses 802.11 a/b/g (and draft n) protocols will work, including devices like iPhones, Blackberries, and iPod touches. Second, users who access our network via PODnet do have a few restrictions. They have to agree to the user agreement, their access is still filtered by our Internet filter, and they can’t access building printers (but they now can access their files via Fileway). The use of the devices in classrooms is at the discretion of the teacher so please refer to each teacher’s classroom policies for specific information.
If you should decide to purchase a laptop for your student, there are many options and features to think about. Each person’s needs are unique, so this is definitely not one-size-fits-all. Most students do not necessarily need a top-of-the-line laptop at this point in their learning. (Two exceptions to this would be if your student is interested in video editing or other high-end applications, or if you have a Senior who is going off to college and you want this to be the computer they take with them, in either case they would need a more robust machine to work effectively.) Most students would be served just fine by a basic laptop running Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7, Mac OS X, or Linux. Most of the laptops that you see advertised will work fine for what students need to do, although we would recommend at least 1 GB of RAM (preferably 2 GB, especially for Windows Vista or 7) – which is one area that the “on sale” laptops sometimes skimp on, but you can get by on less.
You might also consider a relatively new category of laptop sometimes called a "netbook". LPS has recently purchased netbooks as one option to try to meet our needs for a low-cost, mobile computing solution. Netbooks currently start at around $299 (although this changes almost daily it seems), have Windows XP, Windows 7 and Linux versions featuring Open Source applications, and work really well as a "web-appliance." While devices such as this will not meet everyone’s needs, it is a much more affordable option for many folks and does almost everything students need it to do (video editing and using specific commercial software probably won’t work, but there are Open Source and web-based solutions).
In addition to an “internet device” (e.g. laptop, cell phone, iPod Touch), we strongly recommend students have a USB Flash drive. USB Flash drives plugs into a USB port on the computer and then acts like a hard drive, allowing you to simply drag and drop files onto the flash drive or onto the computer. These come in a variety of sizes (and prices) and will work with most of our computers at school. Please note that you will want to make sure the flash drive does not require any specific software to be installed on the computer since students do not have the permissions necessary to install on our workstations. It is better if it simply works with the operating system out of the box as most of them do.
We want to reiterate that a laptop is not currently required to attend LHS. But, we do think that it is a very valuable tool for a 21st century student, so we wanted to share some general information that we thought might be helpful. If you should have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact LaDonna Lenz, LHS Technology Coordinator, at 303-347-7753 or email@example.com.
Adapted from our sister schools-Arapahoe High School and Heritage High School