Mercy In Technology Frequently Asked Questions
What is Mercy in Technology (MIT)?
Mount St. Mary Academy is excited to be a part of the Mercy in Technology (MIT) program. In keeping with Mount St. Mary’s mission, we hope to fully prepare our students to meet the challenges of tomorrow by providing them with a variety of tools available through technology today. We believe technology will enable students to become lifelong learners capable of critical thinking and problem solving, and will help inspire creativity, stimulate curiosity and develop skills of innovation. Tremendous efforts have been made through the Lasting Efforts Campaign to enrich the quality of campus life and community by continuing to improve the MSM campus. These improvements include a complete design and overhaul of the network infrastructure that will encourage the success of the MIT program. MIT is a teaching and educational initiative that will enhance learning, prepare students for the technologies in which they will need to be proficient upon graduation, and build leaders who are equipped to tackle future challenges in college and in their careers.
How will we pay for it?
A laptop fee will be included in Mount St. Mary Academy’s fee and tuition schedule for all students. The laptop fee will cover the lease of the laptop computer, software pre-loaded and configured to MSM specifications, Complete Care Accidental Damage Protection, and Dell Technical Support. At the end of the respective lease periods, you and your daughter will own the laptop. While the technology lease may be paid all at once, we anticipate that most will prefer that the cost of the laptop be bundled in your payment plan.
Mount St. Mary Academy Board of Directors has committed a limited amount of aid, in addition to tuition aid, to assist families with the cost of the laptop lease. As is the case for tuition assistance, families must demonstrate need through the FACTS Grant & Aid Application to be considered for laptop aid. The laptop fees will be added to the formula that FACTS uses to calculate need.
We have tried very hard to minimize the cost of implementing the laptop program through our extensive review of various pieces of equipment, software options, licenses, etc. No hidden fees, costs or charges are being passed on to you. For example, the cost of training the teachers is not included in the lease program. A foundation grant has been secured to pay the $20,000 cost of teacher training. While it may seem that a comparable laptop could be purchased at a lower price elsewhere, it is important to remember that the laptops obtained through MSM come with support services and features that are not always included or offered.
What is included?
The following items will be included:
- Student Laptop
- Protective Sleeve/Case
- USB Drive or SD Card
- Necessary Software
Microsoft Windows 7 or 8 Professional Operating System® and Microsoft Office® will be preinstalled on each device. Other preinstalled programs include an antivirus program, helpdesk program, Internet Explorer, and class specified software as needed.
Laptops purchased through MIT will be covered by Dell’s Complete Care Accidental Damage Protection and Dell’s Technical Support programs. These protection and support packages provide the most complete coverage and protection offered but they do not cover the loss or theft of the Laptop. Please refer to the section regarding Laptop loss and insurance coverage for additional information.
What are the technical specifications of the Laptop?
Operating System Windows 7 Professional, 64 bit
Memory (RAM) 4 GB
Hard Drive 450 GB
Multimedia 2 speakers, front digital microphone, webcam
Ports/Slots 3 USB and 1 SD, HDMI, VGA
Headphone/speaker out, microphone
Weight & Dimensions
Starting weight at 4.3 lbs
Why do I have to purchase the Dell E5440 Laptop through MSM when I might find a less expensive machine through other sources such as an Internet retail store or a bricks-and mortar store? Why can’t I just bring my laptop from home to use?
MSM is requiring incoming freshmen and sophomore students to obtain the Laptop through MIT. While it may seem that a comparable Laptop could be purchased at a lower price elsewhere, it is important to remember that Laptops obtained through MSM come with services and features that are not always included or offered at stores. Purchasing these items separately almost always results in a higher cost. The MSM Laptop comes preloaded and configured with software to work in the MSM environment. The customized configuration loaded onto the Laptop makes the transition from the shipping box to classroom almost seamless. Additionally, we provide significant value-added services in the area of maintenance and support with the goal of minimizing down time should a problem arise.
In order to ensure the success of MIT, we want all of the students to use the exact same device that contains the same hardware/software and is covered by the same protection programs. This means the Laptop has to be the designated MSM Laptop purchased through MIT and can’t be a currently owned Laptop brought from home.
Why was this particular device and program chosen?
Much thought and consideration was given to select the most appropriate and cost effective device for MIT. Apple products like the Mac and iPad are extremely popular right now and these were considered as possible devices to be used at MSM. The MSM Technology Committee reviewed proposals from Apple, Dell, and HP. After reviewing all proposals, the Committee and staff conclusion is that the Dell Laptop offers the best combination of price, capabilities, durability and protection.
Do I have the option to reduce the cost of the Technology Fee by electing to exclude certain accessories and protection programs?
MSM has worked diligently to ensure that the best Laptop device and support program and accessories be selected for students to make MIT successful. Careful consideration has been given to make certain that the best program is offered to our students and that program includes the accessories, designated software and protection plans. Purchasing these items separately almost always results in a higher cost.
There can be no changes made to exclude any component of the MIT Laptop Program.
Who will own the Laptop?
Mount St. Mary Academy will purchase the Laptops. The technology fee will cover the cost of the Laptop and upon graduation the Laptop will belong to the student. Arrangements can be made to purchase the Laptop with a lump sum payoff amount. Should a student leave prior to graduation, the remaining balance on the laptop will become due. The laptop and its remaining warranties will then be transferred to the parent/student.
When will students learn to use the new Laptop?
Students will participate in the MIT Orientation that will take place at the beginning of the school year. The orientation will familiarize the students with key aspects to help them successfully use the Laptop. In the near future, additional training materials will be added to the Technology Department online at www.mtstmary.edu.
Will this eliminate the personal touch of teaching?
Absolutely not! The Laptops are not meant to replace teachers but instead be used as a tool by the teacher in the classroom. The use of technology in the classroom is necessary to raise student achievement, transform the quality of instruction, and prepare the students for the technologies they will encounter upon graduation. The teachers will use technology as they see it fit into their curriculum.
How will teachers use Laptops in the classroom?
These are just a few examples of how some teachers plan to use the laptops in the classroom:
- Online quizzes
- Internet research that will allow students to access “real-time” data
- On-line notes accessible for students
- Video/audio recordings of certain class presentations (can be helpful for students who are absent from class)
- Using Skype to communicate with students in other schools (particularly schools in other countries to facilitate the learning of other languages)
Will the Laptop be used in each class every day?
It will be at the discretion of the teacher to determine the frequency and use of technology in the classroom. The use of the Laptop will depend on the class curriculum.
Will Laptop use in the classroom be distracting?
The Laptop is a tool and will be managed as such by teachers in the classroom. Teachers determine the use and frequency of Laptops and teachers will be able to monitor internet usage on the laptop with the network activity usage light that is built into the Laptop device. Certain security measures have been put in place to prevent students from accessing specific websites while on the Internet. Students must adhere to the guidelines set forth in the Acceptable Use Policy. Inappropriate use as outlined in the Acceptable Use Policy will result in loss of privileges and appropriate disciplinary action.
What happens if the Laptop does not work or is accidentally damaged?
Laptops purchased through MSM’s Laptop program come with the Complete Care Accidental Damage Protection and Dell Technical Support. The Complete Care Accidental Damage Protection is a superior protection program in that it covers pretty much everything except the loss or theft of the Laptop. Dell Technical Support will also be provided as part of the Laptop Program. In addition, MSM has an on-site Information Technology staff that will assist in on-site repairs, guidance and maintenance. Students in the class of 2018 will have the 4 year Complete Care Accidental Damage Protection warranty and a 3 year extended warranty for Dell Technical Support.
The Laptop is a heavy-duty, durable device with a rubberized coating but students are strongly encouraged to keep the Laptop in the provided neoprene sleeve when the Laptop is not in use. These precautions should greatly reduce the chance of damage to the Laptop.
What if the Laptop is lost or stolen?
The student is responsible for the Laptop. The Complete Care Accidental Damage Protection does not cover the loss or theft of the Laptop. Parents are encouraged to include the Laptop with insurance coverage through their homeowner’s policy. Please consult your individual homeowner’s policy about coverage.
Additional insurance policies can be purchased for laptop coverage. There are various companies that offer such coverage. Student Insurance Group and Safeware are just two such companies that offer this type coverage. Check out their websites to find more information.
Who will be responsible for the care and use of the Laptop?
The student is responsible for the Laptop. Student use of computers and the MSM Internet at Mount St. Mary Academy is a privilege, not a right. Inappropriate use as outlined in the Acceptable Use Policy will result in loss of privileges and appropriate disciplinary action.
Students are ultimately responsible for saving and backing up their files and can use the provided USB Flash Drive for creating these backups. If a student has an SD card, then they can also use that for creating backups. Students are required to plug in their Laptops each night so that they will have a full battery charge for the next school day. Students must adhere to the policies regarding backups and battery charging to ensure the day-to-day success of MIT. Printing is becoming less frequent as students and teachers can send materials digitally. If need arises, there are printers available to the students in the library and in select areas managed by teachers on the MSM campus.
Please refer to the Acceptable Use Policy for more information on student responsibility of the Laptop.
How will the Laptop connect to the school’s wireless network?
As one of the features provided through the MSM Laptop program, the Laptop will have a built-in wireless network card that will allow the student to connect wirelessly while on the MSM campus. The Laptop can connect to wireless networks at home without a problem. The Laptop can be used at home as well with wired networks.
How will the Laptop connect to home networks?
The Laptop will connect to standard wireless networks at home without a problem. The Laptop can also be used in homes with wired networks and this shouldn’t require the purchase of any additional hardware.
Can I connect this device at home to a printer or monitor?
The Laptop has USB ports and built-in wireless and wired Ethernet ports to connect to printers and networks at home. If desired, the Laptop does have the capability to be connected to a monitor(s) at home.
Will this make the backpacks heavier?
The Laptop MSM has chosen is a small, lightweight device. The weight of the device itself is 4.3lbs and is approximately 13.3” wide and 1.3” in height. Use of the Laptop as a notebook will also help eliminate many of the folders, binders, and other items the students must now carry in their backpacks. When possible, students will have the option of purchasing an on-line textbook. This option can replace the need to purchase textbooks and eliminate carrying heavy textbooks to and from school.
Will all textbooks be offered online?
Textbook publishers are working on an on-going basis to review and determine which textbooks can be offered online. As soon as the textbook publishers provide that information, MSM will supply the list of books for next year that will provide electronic content. Research is currently being conducted with the publishers to determine if online textbooks can be resold or reused by other students and information will be posted on this as the publishers provide feedback.
The Technology Acceptable Use Policy will be available August 2014. At that time, please refer to the Technology Acceptable Use Policy in the Student/Parent Handbook to find detailed guidelines regarding the acceptable use of Technology at MSM.
Please refer to the FAQ as additional questions and answers are addressed.
July 21, 2014