From the start of 2013, students in Year 7 and 8 have been required to bring in their own computing device (a laptop or tablet).  In 2014, this program will include students in Year 7 through to Year 12.  In 2015, this program will include students in Year 5 through to Year 12.

What should I buy my son for next year?

BYOT is not about the device, it is what the student does with it!  Teachers endeavour to be device-agnostic in preparing their lesson planning.

Some things to consider:

Question: Windows or Mac?

Answer: What is he used to using? If your family use Macs at home and your son is comfortable with them, then a Macbook may be the best fit for him. Ask him.

If  you are a Windows family, then go Windows.

If you are not sure, then remember that Hutchins’ computers are predominantly Windows based, and your son will have had the most exposure to these during his time here so far, and chances are in this situation he will require less time becoming familiar with his laptop or tablet if it is a Windows device.

We recommend that students use the technology that they are most familiar with, and we are happy to support either Windows or Mac, on laptops or tablets, though we recommend a laptop if you have not purchased anything yet.

Question: laptop or tablet?

Answer: Whilst we provide support and access to resources on either of these device types, we have found that boys generally find laptops easier in terms of being able to use USB memory sticks, better access to our virtual learning environment, Fronter, and the extra processing power of laptops that allows things like basic video editing, using free software or suits of programs such as Google Sketchup or Google Apps in Education. Some students have difficulty managing the files they create on tablets, in terms of getting their work off the tablet to hand to the teacher. So we would lean towards recommending a laptop.

Note: if your son already has an iPad and you are not in a position to provide him with a laptop, we do have a limited supply of small sized laptops that we can lend to boys for the year. Please contact the Hutchins IT Team if your son requires this.

Click here to view larger image

Note: Whilst the first chart above leans towards a slate/tablet pc with pen, the durablity of some of these may not be hardy enough for junior/middle school students. Hence the inclusion of our own durability variation on this table (below) to balance pedagogy considerations – what these devices can do for learning, with the wear-and-tear reality of students bringing devices to and from school in their school bags.

Acknowledgement:  These two images are sourced from
Tierney, Sean (2012) Bring your own device to school (Windows in the Classroom Series) Microsoft Corporation

Please check the build quality of display models at a store before making a purchasing decision. If your son is conscientious and careful with his things, and you find the build quality of the device is robust, the slate/tablet PC with pen option may be fine and is a perfectly valid and acceptable option if you are satisfied the device will last the expected two to four year life expectancy.

Question: I’d like to buy my son a laptop or tablet, what should I look for?



It may be a generalisation, but let’s face it, students can be rough at times. Some of the more experimental designs of laptops with swivel screens, we would suggest you check them in a store for their strength before purchasing, and make sure of the terms of your warranty on these devices.


On-Site: if any problems, the device will be fixed locally. Sometimes they may even arrange collection and return. We recommend on-site warranty, especially if paying for extra warranty.

Return-to-Base: you will be required to send your device away for repair. This takes longer than on-site warranty repair. You will most likely also pay the costs for sending the device to the manufacture, and pay for it’s return.

Extra warranty: we recommend considering extending your warranty to two or more years, if possible. Bascially, allowing enough time for it to be covered before it is due for upgrade or replacement (two to four years depending on the device, and the care taken of it).


Question:What are the minimum technical requirements my son’s device needs to have?


Must be able to run the Citrix Receiver –

Receiver supports Windows, Mac, Linux, Android and iOS

As a guide should also meet:

•Greater than 9″ screen

•Must connect to the Hutchins wireless network (WPA2 Enterprise)

•Reputable Antivirus & Firewall software (e.g. Symantec / Trend – these often have good deals for 3 computer licence, around $100)

Minimum OS version

•Windows 7

•Mac OS 10.5

•iPad 2 with iOS5+

•Android Honeycomb 3.2+


Question:What if I need more information, or help?

Answer: Click here to contact the Hutchins IT Team by email, or call Reception at Hutchins and ask for IT.

We’re here to help your son get on with the job of learning and keep technical issues to a minimum.

We’ve invested heavily in strong network infrastructure to cover the whole school with wireless, a secure, high-speed internet connection with generous quota, and access to a range of Hutchins’ owned software on any device through our Virtual Desktop Infrastructure system, Citrix.

We’ll be posting all our help documentation through this site for students, staff and parents to access, as well as any useful information, training resources, recommended apps or software that will help your son at Hutchins.

Our current IT Help site is in the process of being updated, but existing information on things like connecting devices to our wireless network can be found here.


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