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PWCS Advises on Technology Needs for Virtual Learning

Prince William County Schools will be providing all of its high school students with laptops for the upcoming virtual school year.

Parents of younger students, however, wonder what computer devices their children need to access PWCS’s new Canvass distance learning platform.

Prince William County Public Schools has provided answers to those “Frequently Asked” questions.

Will computers be provided by PWCS for students to use at home for distance learning?

Under the Digital Equity plans approved by the School Board, all high school students will be provided a device at the start of the school year. High schools will replace older devices with newer devices currently on-order in September and October, as such, all high school students will have the same laptop by November.

For middle and elementary school students, each school will work with families to prioritize distribution of devices to students with none at home. The availability of devices for middle and elementary will be dependent on demand and availability at the school. The specific distribution plans will be shared by each school closer to the start of school.

Why did PWCS ask families technology capability questions again when it asked in spring? And why are the questions worded that way? – added 7/23/20

The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) has mandated the collection of student technology access data as part of a new state reporting requirement.

The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) has mandated the collection of student technology access data as part of a new state reporting requirement. The wording of the questions was directed by VDOE. The collection of the data is being done in ParentVUE, as it is needed as part of the student record. PWCS will use this data to assist in planning and distribution of technology to support student learning both virtually from home and at school.

Our family is able to purchase technology for our student(s), what specifications does PWCS recommend?

Laptop specifications:

Processor – Intel Core i3 or i5

Memory – 4 GB RAM

Hard Drive – 64 GB minimum

Operating System – Windows 10 v1803 or later, Mac OS 10.14 or later, iOS 13

iPad:

iPad 7th Generation

iPad Air 3rd Generation

iPad Pro 4th Generation

Camera access – Built-in or attached

As a teacher, I plan to purchase my own technology, what specifications does PWCS recommend?

Laptop specifications:

Processor – Intel Core i5

Memory – 4 GB RAM minimum; 8 GB+ RAM is recommended

Hard Drive 64 GB minimum; 256 GB+ SSD recommended

Operating System – Windows 10 v1803 or later, Mac OS 10.14 or later, iOS 13

iPad:

iPad 7th Generation

iPad Air 3rd Generation

iPad Pro 4th Generation

Camera access – Built-in or attached

Can my student use a Chromebook for PWCS virtual learning? – added 7/23/20

PWCS recommends a Windows-based or Apple device (see details above) for best experience. A Chromebook can be used, however, some applications such as Microsoft Office 365 will only be accessible through the web browser and some specialty class computer programs (such as with certain electives at high school) may not be compatible with Chromebook.

Does PWCS have any discounts for families to use to purchase technology?

Yes, Comcast is extending its Essentials Program, offering two months of free service for eligible people who sign up for Internet Essentials until the end of this year. They also extended the amnesty program until the end of this year for people with bad debt. Learn more about Comcast Internet Essentials.

Verizon has a Lifeline Discount Program (a government assistance program for those who qualify). Learn more about Verizon Lifeline Discount

HP is offering students and teachers special discounts on quality, refurbished computers and printers. Learn more about HP refurbished devices 

PWCS offers more information for families, such as how they can access at home internet or via hot-spots. 

© 2020, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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Category: Education

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