On this page you can find a list of frequently asked questions
(along with answers) about the one to one laptop programme. Click on the question to reveal the answer.
Care and Safety
- All this Wi-Fi access is not good for the students surely?
The wireless system used at Patana does not pose any health risks. Scientists have said there is no evidence to suggest a link between the use of wi-fi and damage to health.
- How do I avoid potential dangers on the internet?
At Patana students learn about eSafety in an age appropriate way in ICT lessons, in subject lessons and as part of the tutorial programme. You can find out more about eSafety at Patana here
- How do you filter students' access to the Internet.
In the Primary school we have an extensive, dynamic filter on the sites children may access that will protect them from many unsuitable websites. In the Secondary school the filter is much less intrusive. Instead we work with our students through the tutorial programme to teach them to make correct choices about what internet sites they should use. Just like they have to make correct choices on many other issues and topics. We do know that students would have access to these sites outside of school so rather than just blocking them in school we feel our work on correct decision making is of greater educational benefit to the student. In school we then supervise the students using the laptops as currently they only use them in lessons or at lunchtime in designated areas so therefore there is a staff member around. If we do hear that a student has not been following our laptop guidelines then we could go back through our logs to check which websites they have visited and if we find inappropriate ones we will talk to both the student and the parents about this.
For more information about this topic please see our policy on eSafety
and the students' Acceptable Use Policy
- How often should I backup my laptop?
Computer hard drives are mechanical devices with moving parts and they wear out. The more you use your computer, the more you are at risk for hard drive failure and your data will be lost unless you backup your hard drive. There is also the risk of your laptop being lost, stolen or damaged.
Furthermore a backup is very useful if you delete a file by mistake or write over it.
We recommend backing up your files regularly (every day) and over the course of a month backup your files on different media stored in different places.
Here is a suggested routine:
- What if a students Laptop is stolen?
Theft from the school campus is extremely rare. Students will be taught how to look after their laptops both in school and off campus. Laptop computers should be covered by an insurance policy
which, assuming due care and attention can be proven, would cover the cost of a replacement. Students will be encouraged to keep regular backups of their data.
- Why don't you block Facebook?
Despite the bad press we dont believe Facebook is 'bad' though it can be used in a bad way. Facebook, and many other social networking sites, provide a sophisticated way to communicate and collaborate. Just like email, there are acceptable and unacceptable ways of using it and as a school we strive to guide the students towards safe ways to use these easily available tools.
We have run numerous training courses for staff on the Facebook issues and believe in supporting social networking use in a safe and productive way, similar to how we encourage good use of email. Facebook has a minimum age limit of 13 so we do not permit younger children to use this site. It is blocked for students in Year 8 and below.
It is at the teachers discretion if they wish to allow students in their class to access Facebook, for example to obtain some data or an image. Students understand that they must ask permission before accessing Facebook and on the whole they act responsibly when using it for the short time they may need to in order to obtain their data.
We know of schools that have tried to block the social networking sites but this is a growing sector and it is impractical to cover them all. In addition there are ways round site blocking that some students figure out and it then becomes a game of cops and robbers between the school and the students which is not the way we want to work with and support the students.
Finally if we block it in school students will access it through their mobile phones and Facebook use will go underground and not be talked about in school in an open way. Patana's role is to educate and prepare students for the outside world and deal with the challenges in a frank, open way.
- Will students be spending too much time staring at a laptop screen?
We certainly hope not! A Patana education involves a huge variety of different activities. Teachers are guided by Essential Agreements for Teaching and Learning which clearly state that We enhance student progress by employing a wide variety of teaching and learning strategies to make learning both effective and enjoyable. Some of those strategies will involve computers but many more will not. The schemes of work that each teacher follows will also prescribe a range of activities which may involve whole class teacher exposition, group discussion, physical activity (such as experiments in Science and using manipulatives in Maths) and writing in exercise books.
When students are in a traditional computer lab it is common that the whole lesson will involve the computer. Its physical presence on the desk top makes it difficult to use the desk for anything else. Using laptops will be far more versatile. A teacher can instruct the students to take out their laptops for a particular activity and then tell the students to put their laptops away so that they can do a different activity. Following this line or reasoning you may see how students have less screen time in certain lessons.
This question reminds us of years ago when our parents were concerned we may have too much TV time. When books first became widespread in schools there were probably concerns that the books would stifle the art of discussion and debate as students would have their noses in books all day. Managing the amount of time students stare at a laptop screen will be a task for teachers, parents and the students themselves but Patana will be closely monitoring the situation just as the other schools with laptop programmes have been doing.
To remind us that "blended is best" as far as learning activities are concerned we have created this contrived mathematical inequality which means that a one to one ratio of students to computers does not mean that those students should be using them all of the time.
See alsothe 'Healthy Eyes
- Won't the heat build up from the transformer and laptop charging in the racks be a danger?
The lockers have ventilation holes to help dissipate the heat. We have not experienced any problems with school laptops being recharged in this way.
- Won't there be a problem with students damaging or losing their laptop?
Modern laptop computers are extremely resilient. Other schools with laptop programmes report little damage and when students own their laptops they tend to take more care of them than computers on loan.
- How is a Laptop going to help a student learn?
Reliable access to ICT has been shown to support learning. The latest research summaries conclude that there is now a growing body of national and international evidence demonstrating the
positive impact of digital technologies on measurable learning outcomes and the hard evidence is supplemented by softer observational evidence. The evidence tells us that integrated use of technology enables a range of positive outcomes. You can read more about the research here
Around the world schools are improving their students' access to computers as a result of this research and here at Patana we are doing the same.
Schemes of work used at Patana prescribe digital activities designed to improve students' knowledge, understanding and skills. Teachers are keen to make more use of these opportunities as soon as our students have better access to computers.
- If external examinations are still paper based won't the students become deskilled?
More and more of the external examining bodies are trialling online versions of their exams and here at Patana we have been a part of some of these trials. We envisage that in the future almost all exams will computer based.
The opportunities provided by ICT for learning far outweighs the lack of practice students will have for writing on paper but students certainly will not become deskilled. Teachers will structure their courses so that students have opportunities to practice handwriting as well as experiencing face to face discussions, role play, using manipulatives etc
- What will teachers do about students accessing programs that they shouldn't during lessons?
All teachers are very aware of the distractions that access to computers in lessons could provide. Students will have programs installed on their computers which are not designed for academic work and access to the Internet allows communication with others. As one parent pointed out, this is similar to secretly passing paper notes around in class which teachers had to learn to spot and prevent.
While having laptops in lessons will be new to many teachers, using desktops in lessons is not. Desktop computers have been common in schools for over 25 years now. Teachers are able to recognise whether students are on task and have developed strategies to keep students involved and engaged in their learning. At Patana we run regular training course for teachers to update their skills in using technology in the classroom and the students themselves develop a positive attitude to learning when immersed in the Patana educational experience.
The school is aware of this being a potential problem in a small number of cases but will be monitoring the situation and act accordingly.
- Will coordination occur across subject areas so that teachers and students are using laptops in the same way?
The answer to this question is yes and no!
The ‘yes’ refers to systems and rules. Already in ICT lessons all students have learned the basics of using the school network, how to manage and backup their files, how to effectively search the Internet, how to stay safe online, generic office skills, and how to use our learning platforms. These skills are useful across the curriculum. In all lessons students adhere to the same rules that have been developed and updated by our ICT specialists and pastoral staff. Patana teachers have many opportunities to share good practice with ongoing continuing professional development and shared resources and teachers will choose what is best for their students.
The ‘no’ refers to the learning activities. The students will enjoy a broad range of learning activities across the range of subjects they study. In Mathematics they will use Autograph while in English they may collaborate on a wiki. In Geography students may make a video while in ICT lessons they will learn how to create and interrogate a database. Students will be exposed to a variety of ways of organising their work and pick the one that suits their individual learning style.
From years of using computers across the curriculum we know that our students (“digital natives”) have the capacity to quickly master many different technologies and this variety is so important in opening up new, exciting and effective avenues of learning to allow each child to achieve their full potential.
- Will students need any special training to use laptop computers?
Students are taught how to use a laptop computer in their Computing lessons
and other, ad hoc, training sessions which may take place at lunchtimes, after
school or during the Patana Student Convention at the end of each Academic Year.
The ad hoc training sessions will typically cover the following:
How to get the best out of your laptop at Patana
1. Signing up for the WiFi System
2. Upgrading to Windows, Office and anti-virus software
3. Acceptable Use Policy
4. How to print via Wifi
a. Connect to a printer and install driver
5. Backing up your files
a. Accessing \\bpsfiles or
b. Mapping shares and disconnecting them
6. Procedures for software installation and staying legal
7. Sign up for DreamSpark
a. How to use DreamSpark
8. How to scan a USB for viruses
9. Setting power saving settings
10. How to care for your laptop and security
a. Anti-theft software
c. Cleaning dust & dirt
d. Cable lock
g. Diskclean up
11. Remote File Access (via IE and VPN)
- Can I use an iPad instead of a laptop?
The short answer is that the iPad does not meet the minimum specifications
for the device which is required for school work.
We do believe that the touch sensitive screen devices (Tablets, Slates, iPads etc) are the device of the future but they currently do not have the functionality required for the Patana school curriculum.
Our school policy changes frequently to keep up with developments but currently the rules for Secondary students state that it is permissable to bring an iPad (or similar device) to school but they should only be used in lessons with the teachers' permission, left in the locker at other times and are certainly not a substitute for a laptop.
We can not offer wireless connection to any device other than a students' primary laptop at this time (mainly due to the fact that our technical support team does not have the capacity to deal with additional requests for support in addition to one laptop per person).
The School Library has a number of iPads which can be loaned for a short period of time. Wireless connection instructions are here
- How can I print my work?
When your laptop is configured to the school network you will have access to the shared printers in the ICT rooms and other key locations. Your printing is subject to a monthly limit as explained can be seen on our Printing Management
- How do I connect to the school wireless network?
Training for the use of a personal laptop on the school network will be covered in ICT lessons for students in Key Stage 3. The first time a student brings their laptop into school they should fill in the "Personal laptop" form (See Documents and Forms) and take it, along with their laptop to the IS/IT Department where the laptop will be configured to connect to the school's wireless system.
- My laptop is quite warm. Is that normal?
All laptops generate heat when they are in use and that is quite normal. It is however important not to let the laptop overheat. Students need to learn to keep their laptops cool, by not covering the vents if working with them on their laps outside of class. Some laptops are very susceptible to heat build up and eventual fail if the vents are covered or become blocked.
- The school Wireless Network is both 802.11G and N compatible. What is the advantage of N?
In a nutshell N should be quicker than G. This speed, or increase in bandwidth, would normally only be noticeable when copying large files to/from the local laptop computer and the file server. Accessing the Internet for research web browsing would be the same.
An article explaining the different WiFi standards can be found here
Most new laptops come with the N standard built in however the G standard will also work on the new school WiFi system.
- What happens when the battery power runs out?
We expect that laptops will not be used in every lesson and normally not for the whole of a lesson. There should be time between laptop use for the units to be recharged from the sockets in the racks
. Students should ensure their laptops are full charged at home ready for the next school day.
Battery life is much longer than it used to be. Students in other schools have purchased laptops which have a second battery in place of the CD Drive, giving adequate power for a school day.
- Will an Apple Mac notebook meet the needs of the curriculum?
Traditionally our curriculum has been based on a Windows platform but things are changing. More Internet based resources are being used and students, particularly older students, are given more choice about the software they use to complete projects.
Students who do decide to use Macintosh computers should also install (or request our technicians to install) Windows 7 so that they can access the particular pieces of software that do not run on the Mac OS.
Our prefered method is for Macintosh computers to be installed with Sun's VirtualBox to host Windows 7. Our technicians can do this for you. Macintosh students may wish to install Windows 7 natively using Bootcamp or Parallels however the school will only provide support for Windows 7 running in the VirtualBox supplied by the IT Department.
- How do students get programs installed on their computers?
There will be a number of software applications that students will need to support their studies here at Patana. So far, all of the students who have bought their laptops into school and registered them on our network have already had all of the basic software necessary for school work. Depending on the age of the student and the courses they have chosen to follow there may be additional programs they will need. All but a few of these will be available free to the students. Either the school licence covers student use or, increasingly, we find that the program is freeware or accessible online via a web browser (the cloud!).
Subject teachers will advise the students about access to the software they need for their class. In most cases students may install the programs from a location on our networks shared folders or by downloading it from the web. For certain specialist courses, IB Music for example, students will have access to the software they need on school computers but may choose to also buy a copy for themselves to use on their laptops at home. Subject specialists can advise on the best ways to do this.
More information about specific software can be found here
- Should I upgrade to the latest version of software as soon as it is available?
Periodically software companies, such as Microsoft and Apple, will launch new versions of their operating systems and office tools. As a general rule, it is not good practice to upgrade the software on the first day it launches. New software often has bugs even though it has been beta tested. Also all other software that needs to link to the new software needs several days or weeks before they launch the new version to support the change. For example, when Apple launched the new Mountain Lion OS, it needed some time for new release of Virtual Box which was compatible to become available.
In order for the IS/IT Department to better support new software the staff will need to spend time to test this new software so a 30 day buffer period is required.
There may be some cases in which there are many technical issues with the new versions of software in which case the 30 days would not be enough. The IS/IT Department will announce 25 days after the new software has been officially launched the estimate target date when the new software will be ready to be supported at Bangkok Patana School.
[Please be aware that certain upgrades will be recommended immediately if there are security implications]
- What Anti Virus software should I use.
The school prefers the students to have Sophos Anti Virus installed on their laptop. The school has purchased the licence to cover all of the students so it is available to be installed free of charge.
The installation of Sophos will replace any anti virus software which has previously been installed on a laptop.
Students must not disable the operations of the anti virus software in any way.
- What is the Microsoft Academic Aliance?
Microsoft's MSDN Academic Alliance is an exciting, affordable way to provide teachers and students with the cutting-edge software that IT professionals use. More information can be found here
- Which version of Windows do I need?
The latest version of the Microsoft Windows operating system is Windows 8. Students require at least the Windows 7 Professional version (as the Home and Starter editions will not allow the laptop to connect to the Patana network domain). However student laptops purchased with the Home or Starter editions of Windows 7 (or older laptops, with earlier versions of Windows) Students can be request to have their operating system upgraded to Windows 7 Professional by our technicians on request, using the school licence, if they have an earlier version of Windows, or a different version of Windows 7, and their the hardware is compatible.
Students with Apple Mac notebooks can have Windows 7 Professional installed for them by our technicians.
Some students will prefer to purchase Windows 7 Professional themselves rather than take advantage of using the school's licence so that they can continue to use the software after they have left Patana
Please be aware that most installations of Windows 7 will delete all other files on your laptop.
You can read more about the installation of Window 7 here
If you are considering upgrading to Windows 8, we recommend that you run the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant
. It scans your current PC to see if it is ready for Windows 8 and then provides a compatibility report.
- Will it be expensive to buy the software I need for school work?
No, it doesn't have to be expensive. There are many free software applications which are very useful. You can read more about software here
- What if something goes wrong with my laptop?
The school operates a Laptop Clinic
to help students with their laptop problems. Details of what can and what cannot be supported here
- Who do students go to when their computers go wrong?
If you have used a computer before you will know that they occasionally go wrong and usually at the most inconvenient moment. We anticipate this will happen at school so have made provision in the form of a Laptop Clinic.
Heres an example of how the system might work:
1. A computer crashes right in the middle of a Geography lesson while the students are interacting with an animation showing the formation of an oxbow lake. The teacher decides that it is not necessary for the student to address the problem immediately so asks the affected student to pair up with another student to complete this activity.
2. At break time the student takes their laptop to the Laptop Clinic and the technicians will make an initial diagnosis and solve the problem if possible.
3. If it is not possible for the on-site team to solve the problem the student will be advised to return the laptop to the place of purchase for support. A school laptop will then be issued to the student to use while their own laptop is being repaired.
Other schools have found that in stage one above it is often another student in the class who is able to help with minor problems. We are sure, knowing the strengths of Patana students, that this will also be the case here.
Details of what can and what cannot be supported in the Laptop Clinic can be found here
- Will I need insurance cover?
We strongly recommend that you insure your laptop computer. The school is unable to provide insurance cover for computers it does not own. You can insure your laptop either as a separate item or as part of your household insurance. When you begin looking for laptop insurance, compare the different types of coverage that are available so you can find the best one to suit your needs. The laptop computer coverage will vary with every insurer but it is important to make sure that you have accidental damage covered. You never know when it could get accidentally dropped during transportation or soaked in a sudden downpour. Compare the coverage amounts for each laptop insurance plan and speak to the representatives who will be able to answer your questions.
- Can parents use the school's wireless network?
We are very sorry that we can not at the present time offer computing facilities to parents neither on school computers nor wireless access for parents' own devices. The situation is being monitored by the Board's ICT Sub-committee and may change in the future.
The True Coffee shop near the front entrance of school offers Internet access.
There is one exeption to this rule. Computers situated in the Library may be used by parents for school related purposes (such as accessing the Parents' Gateway) if the computers are available and not being used for other purposes.
We are sorry that we can not be more accommodating at this time.
- How can I 'disjoin' my laptop from the Patana domain when I leave?
When you are no longer a student at Bangkok Patana school you will probably want to 'disjoin' your laptop from the Patana domain. You can find instructions here.
- How do I configure my proxy settings?
Patana's proxy server is set up to 'Automatically Detect Settings'. You can find more information here
- How do I easily switch between home and school networks?
When you have had your laptop configured to connect to the school network you will need to make some adjustments before you can use your laptop on your home network (if you have one!). You can find instructions here
- How do I find the network folders using my Mac laptop?
You can find instructions here
- I think my laptop's operating system is an illegal version of Windows.
Bangkok Patana School does not support illegal software.
If the ISIT technicians detect that your laptop Windows (XP, Visa, Windows 7 Home) is an illegal, pirated, version they cannot connect you to the school domain and/or upgrade your software to Windows 8. The following link is used to test the authenticity of your copy of Windows:
This online facility will disable illegal versions of Windows.
If you know that your Windows operating system is pirated you can install for free a legal version of Windows before registering and submitting your laptop to the ISIT office.
- Should I purchase an electrical surge protection device?
An electrical surge protection device is an electrical device inserted in a power line to protect equipment from sudden fluctuations in current.
The school electrical supply does have surge protection and though it is probably not as sensitive as we might like it has protected the school computers in daily use. One helpful parent has provided the following information for those who would like additional protection:
"I have found two different models here in Bangkok. Belkin is a bit difficult to find at the shops and stocks are often very small. As an IT contact person in my work place, once I tried to buy 3 surge protectors at the same time at IT City BangNa but they had only two on the shelves. This small device is a default accessory with a laptop in my organization. We have many workers in the coutryside here in Thailand and in the neighbouring coutries where electricity is more unstable than in Bangkok.
Link One Link Two
IT city is selling SYNDOME SurgeProtection#SPT-3 (no picture on the website) which is almost identical to APC. Price is not bad, THB 599."
- What happens to my laptop when it is registered on the school network?
Patana requires students to register their laptops with the school as soon as they are able to do so. In order to find out what will happen to your laptop when it has been registered we have produced a full answer here
- What happens when I leave Patana if I am using the school's licence for Microsoft software?
Students are only licensed to use the product during the licensed period. These licenses are temporary (meaning the student does not own the license). On leaving the school or expiration of the subscription enrollment, students are required to remove the licensed product.
If your question does not appear above you can contact us via our
Help page or talk to one of the
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