Information literacy and technology literacy are essential for success in society. An internet-connected laptop, along with dedicated instruction and supervision, can open up a whole new world of learning and expression for a student. Thus, parents of students entering grade 6 through grade 12 are responsible to provide a recent model Apple laptop for dedicated use by their student at school on a daily basis (see below for acceptable models and recommended “hard disc” size). (Grade 5 students use a school-owned laptop during the school day. This laptop remains at the school.) Parents, of course, have veto power over laptop usage when the laptop is not at school.
- How to Prepare a Student for the Concordia Laptop Program
- MS Family Technology Contract (completed by parent and student)
- Laptop (provided by parents)
- Laptop Requirement Letter (provided by Concordia)
- Laptop Warranty (provided by parents)
- Laptop Repair
- Laptop Case/Bag (provided by parents)
- USB Hard Drive (provided by parents)
- Apple ID
- Concordia Laptop Registration (done at Concordia Tech Hub before first day of class)
- Software (provided by Concordia)
- Laptop Administrative Control
There are six things that a parent needs to do before August to make sure their student is ready to participate in the Concordia Laptop Program. (If a student is starting at Concordia at some date other than the start of the school year, then these steps must be completed before the student’s first day of class.)
- Purchase/provide a family laptop, laptop bag, and external USB hard drive that the student will use at Concordia on a daily basis. (Be sure to read information below, including the FAQ, for requirements BEFORE purchasing a laptop.)
- Set the administrator for the laptop. Parents of Middle School students should set themselves (the parent) up as administrator on the laptop. We recommend that the parent does not give their Middle School student admin rights on the laptop. Parents of High School students should supervise their student as s/he sets up his/her own administrator account on the laptop.
- Set up an Apple ID. Parents of students under 13 years of age should use Apple Family Sharing to set up an Apple ID for use in installing necessary software. Parents of older students may use Apple Family Sharing or supervise their student as s/he sets up his/her own Apple ID. (The FAQ below provides recommendations and helpful information on how to set up the Apple ID.)
- Register the laptop at the Concordia Tech Hub during Student Orientation, or another day if more convenient.
- Attend a mandatory Tech Orientation session with the student during August orientation. (Not back for orientation? A make-up session will be provided.)
- (For parents of Middle School Students) Work with the student to complete and return the family contract outlining your family’s “house rules”. Download a copy of the Family Technology Contract.
Note: For the student’s success within the laptop program, we strongly recommend that parents do not let their student use the laptop until after establishing usage rules and boundaries.
At Concordia we believe that student learning requires parent involvement. We thus have developed a Middle School Family Technology Contract designed to facilitate parent-student discussion about technology use in the home. Parents work with their student(s) to personalize the contract and outline their own "house rules" and expectations. A completed family contract will need to be submitted each year as part of Middle School Student Orientation. Download a copy of the Family Technology Contract.
All models of Apple laptop (MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro) are currently acceptable for use at Concordia if the hard drive/flash drive is 256GB or greater. Before purchasing a laptop you might also want to read the Laptop Warranty and Laptop Repairs sections of this webpage.
Parents may purchase the laptop directly from Apple or from any Apple Authorized Reseller, including Solution Keys (visit the Solution Keys laptop website), which is the company that Concordia contracts to staff the Tech Help Desk. [Please note again that the laptop needs a 256GB or larger hard drive/flash drive. Also note that you do NOT need to purchase any software, e.g., Microsoft Office.]
If a fapiao (official Chinese government tax invoice) is needed, parents must acquire the fapiao directly from the laptop vendor.
- The family is responsible for maintaining the laptop in fully-working condition.
- It is likely that a laptop over four years old will no longer meet the learning requirements of the student in which case the family should provide a new laptop for their student.
- Parents may check the age of a laptop, and also determine whether or not the laptop is still covered by warranty, by entering the laptop serial number on the Apple Selfsolve website.
If needed, parents may download a “Concordia Laptop Requirement” letter, which states that the school requires each family to provide an Apple laptop for each Grade 6 to Grade 12 student to use at school. Upon request made at the Business Office, the School will personalize the letter with student name, student grade, and parent name.
All laptops purchased from an Apple Authorized Reseller come with a one-year worldwide warranty. You can seek repairs at any Apple Store or from any Apple Authorized Service Provider, including the Tech Hub at Concordia. See the Apple Warranty website for details. Parents can also visit the Apple Warranty website to determine the age of a student’s laptop and whether or not the laptop is still covered by warranty.
Laptops purchased from an Apple Authorized Reseller in China come with an additional, second, year warranty that covers “main parts,” including Motherboard (MLB), RAM, Hard Drive (HDD/SSD), AC adapter, keyboard, and LCD. Warranty repairs during this second year of the warranty must be performed in China. See the Apple China Warranty website for details (the website is only available in Chinese).
Parents may, at their discretion, and at time of laptop purchase or within the first year after laptop purchase, purchase an Apple Care Protection Plan for the laptop, which provides a second and third year of worldwide warranty coverage. That is, one can purchase two years of worldwide warranty beyond the one-year warranty that comes with a new laptop for a total of three years of worldwide warranty. As always, we recommend that you consider the cost of the warranty versus the benefit before making your purchase decision.
- Parents may check the current warranty coverage of a laptop at the Apple Selfsolve website.
- The Apple warranty does not cover “physical damage” such as damage due to liquid in the laptop, a cracked screen, or damage clearly due to dropping of the laptop.
- Details provided here are for informational purposes only; please verify the warranty coverage when you purchase the laptop.
Concordia has an Apple Authorized Service Center located in the Tech Hub, which shares space with the PC Library in the Upper Building (H227). This Center can repair all laptops used in the Laptop Program. Parents may also take laptops to an official Apple store for repair.
When a parent or student brings a Laptop Program laptop to the Tech Hub we will evaluate the need for repair. If a repair can be done quickly and is covered by warranty then we will just make the repair. If a repair will take a longer time and/or is not covered by warranty then Tech Hub staff will obtain permission from a parent before proceeding. Such repair decisions are entirely at the discretion of the parent. Concordia will provide a loaner laptop for a reasonable time while a laptop is being repaired.
Note that Concordia experiences a low volume of repairs relative to an Apple Store and does not stock as many parts. That is to say, in some instances an Apple Store might be able to repair a laptop faster than the Tech Hub. This is especially true for less commonly used (and often more expensive) models of laptop. You will need to balance the convenience of using our on-campus Center and going to an Apple Store.
Concordia strongly recommends that parents purchase a 500GB or larger external USB Hard Drive for exclusive use with each laptop. Students can use Apple Time Machine software, which comes with the laptop, to easily backup their data. USB Hard Drives are readily available at most stores that sell computers.
Due to the nature of the “Apple ecosystem” much of the software used for learning at Concordia is tied to an individual’s Apple ID (Apple account). Each student in the Laptop Program will need their own Apple ID to obtain, install, and upgrade software. Note: Parents of students under 13 years of age should use Apple Family Sharing to provide an Apple ID for their student.
For information on Apple ID, visit Apple’s My Apple ID website. Help is also available from the Concordia Tech Hub and from Digital Literacy Coaches. In sum, however, the process to obtain an Apple ID is as shown below. Note that it would be best if you choose your home country physical address when you set up the Apple ID. Doing so will allow you to download software from the Apple App store associated with your home country.
- If the student is under 13 years of age, then per Apple policy s/he may not create his/her own Apple ID. Instead a parent must set up the Apple ID for the student using Apple Family Sharing. We recommend that parents do this for all Grade 5 and Grade 6 students regardless of age. The process is for the parent to create his/her own Apple ID and then, under the “Apple Family Sharing” concept, the parent also creates an Apple ID for the student. The student Apple ID is “supervised” by the parent’s Apple ID. [For instructions visit Apple’s Set up Family Sharing web page.]
- If the student is 13 years of age or older, then, with parental permission, s/he can set up an Apple ID him/herself. Parents may also wish to use Apple Family Sharing for their older student (see above). [To create an Apple ID visit the My Apple ID website .]
Each student-use laptop must be registered with the Concordia Tech Hub before the student may use the laptop at School. This registration should take place before the first day of class, e.g., during Orientation or any other time that is convenient. During registration, Concordia will add the laptop into the school network and records system and install an administrator account on the laptop. Our experience with has also taught us to affix a Name Tag to the laptop to help distinguish it from the hundreds of other laptops on campus.
- Laptops of Middle School students must be registered by a parent because Tech Hub staff will need to logon and the student should not have admin rights on the laptop.
- Each student must bring his/her laptop to the Tech Hub before they leave Concordia so that staff may remove School site-licensed software and delete the laptop from School records and systems.
- Each student must bring his/her current “Concordia” laptop to the Tech Hub before s/he replaces the laptop so that staff may remove School site-licensed software and delete the laptop from School records and systems. The new laptop cannot be added to Concordia’s system until the old laptop has been removed. Again, parents of a Middle School student must bring the laptop for their student.
Concordia utilizes various categories of laptop software.
- Base Apple Software – Many Apple software applications, e.g., Pages, Keynote, Numbers, iPhoto, iMovie, and GarageBand, and upgrades thereof, are available free from the online Apple Mac Store for new laptop purchases and by using a personal Apple ID. Upgrades to the laptop Operating System are available in a similar manner. Laptop Program students are responsible for maintaining the aforementioned software on their laptops. Training is provided as needed.
- Free Software – Concordia uses a number of free, or relatively inexpensive, software applications that the School makes available for all Laptop Program students to download and install from School servers. Such software does not have to be returned to the School.
- General For-Fee School Software – Concordia uses some for-fee software in the Laptop Program. This software is made available on school servers for Laptop Program students to download and install. Each student must bring the laptop to the Tech Hub when the laptop is no longer used as the student’s school laptop to have such software uninstalled.
- Course-Specific Software – Some more expensive course-specific software is made available to students as needed by the curriculum. The school Tech Staff will install such software applications on student laptops as needed. Each student must bring the laptop to the Tech Hub at the end of the course to have such software uninstalled.
- Note: Although Middle School students should not have admin rights on the family laptop, Concordia provides a Mobile Device Management System that these students can use to install software required by the School.
- Much of the Concordia-provided software is site-licensed to Concordia. Therefore each student must bring his/her laptop to the Tech Hub to have the software removed from the laptop once the software is no longer required by the curriculum. Similarly, each student must bring his/her laptop to the Tech Hub to have the software removed when the laptop is no longer to be used at Concordia, for example, when the student gets a new laptop or leaves Concordia.
Concordia also utilizes various cloud-based services, e.g., Google G Suite, Microsoft Office 365, Seesaw Digital Portfolios, and Instructure Canvas Learning Management System.
Concordia makes every effort to safeguard the well-being of, and to facilitate the education process for, all students. In the context of the Laptop Program, this means that teachers and administrators may, when deemed necessary, search the data on laptops (such as files, browser, chat, and Skype history, etc.) and on Concordia systems (such as email, photo/video galleries, class websites, etc.) and/or temporarily impound a student laptop pending a discussion with the student’s parent. Please see also the Concordia Tech Code.
Q: Will there be training on laptop usage?
A: During August Student Orientation Concordia provides a workshop-style Tech Orientation for parents and students. Middle School also holds “Tech Tuesday’s” throughout the school year in which each advisory class learns digital citizenship.
Q: Where can I find out more about the Tech curriculum?
A: If you have questions about the Tech Curriculum, please contact our tech team at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Q: What will be covered in the mandatory Tech Orientation?
A: The Tech Orientation will follow a workshop format to provide you and your child time to write down “house rules” for use of the laptop, smartphone, etc., when not at school. (Concordia will provide a “house rules” template that you may wish to adopt.) Each student and parent will be asked to sign a family contract at the end of the workshop.
Q: What if I am not returning to Shanghai in time to attend orientation?
A: There will be a make up session after start of school.
Q: What type of laptop do we need to buy?
A: You need to buy/provide an Apple MacBook laptop (any recent model). See the “Laptop (Provided by Parent)” section above for details.
Q: Does my student need administrator rights on the laptop?
A: Grade 5 students use school-owned laptops and do not have administrator rights on the laptop. Concordia uses a Mobile Device Management system to maintain software on G6-8 student laptops and we strongly recommend that Grade 6 through Grade 8 students not be given admin rights on the laptop. Parents may work with the Tech Department to create an Administrator account for themselves on the student laptop if deemed necessary. In contrast, Grade 9 to Grade 12 students commonly have an administrator account on the laptop.
Q: How do we create an Apple ID for our student?
A: As a parent, you should use Family Sharing to set up an Apple ID for your student who is under age 13. Do not have them to set up their own Apple ID. (Note: With Family Sharing you as parent must approve applications before the student may download them.) Visit support.apple.com/en-us/HT201088 for instructions on how to set up Family Sharing and get an Apple ID for your student. Students age 13 and older may, with parental approval, set up their own Apple ID. Visit appleid.apple.com for details.
Q: What if I am unsure of how to set up the Admin account or Apple ID?
A: The Concordia Technology Department will be available during Student Orientation in August to help you set up the laptop Administrator account and Apple ID, if needed.
Q: What, when, and where is laptop registration?
A: During laptop registration, Concordia will add the laptop into the school network and records system and install an administrator account on the laptop. Our experience has also taught us to affix a Name Tag to the laptop to help distinguish it from the hundreds of other laptops on campus. You as parent must register the laptop at the Tech Hub (Room 235 in the Phoenix Center) before the first day of class, e.g., during August Student Orientation or any other time that is convenient. Registration only occurs once for each laptop used at Concordia.
Q: What software do I need to buy?
A: All required software is provided by Concordia. Software for registered laptops of Grade 6 to Grade 8 students will be provided via a "Mobile Device Management" System. Grade 9 through Grade 12 students commonly install school-required software themselves with the assistance of teachers and the Tech Department. The laptop must be registered with the school in order to install the software. Please bring the laptop during Student Orientation to facilitate this effort.
Q: Does Concordia provide software upgrades?
A: Yes, for school-specific software and on an as-needed basis. Upgrading the laptop operating system, "iWork" (Pages, Keynote, Numbers), and "iLife" (iPhoto, iMovie, GarageBand) are the responsibility of the student, or parent in the case of Grade 6 through Grade 8 students since those students should not have admin rights on the laptop. These applications, and upgrades thereof, are now available free from the online Apple Mac Store for new laptop purchases and by using a personal Apple ID. Note that the Apple Mac App Store and the Apple (iOS) App Store are two different online stores; the former is for laptop software and the latter is for iPad and iPhone Apps.
Q: Will my student be able to install non-school related software on the laptop?
A: Students who have administrator rights on the laptop may install any software. Grade 6 through Grade 8 students should not have admin rights on the laptop and so will require parent assistance to install non-school software. Parents, of course, may and should impose their own rules for their student regarding which non-school software may be downloaded, if any.
Q: What type of laptop bag is best?
A: Any style of laptop bag is fine as long as it is sturdy enough to protect the laptop from minor bumps and drops.
Q: What size external USB hard drive is recommended?
A: We require a 256GB or larger USB external hard drive (500GB is recommended).
Q: What if I don’t think my child is mature enough to care for their own laptop?
A: Concordia provides a Tech Orientation during August Student Orientation for all students. In addition, we provide in-class training during the first two weeks of school for Grade 5 students. If you think that your Grade 6 student is not mature enough to take the family-provided laptop back and forth to school, you may require your student to leave the laptop in lockable overnight laptop storage provided at school. In order for your student to complete homework, however, you should allow them to use another computer at home. If you have concerns regarding your student’s use of the laptop you may also contact a counselor.
Q: Should we let our student use the laptop over the summer before school starts?
A: We recommend that parents of Middle School students not already part of the Laptop Program, or of older students not familiar with appropriate laptop-related behaviors, not let their student use the laptop until after the Tech Orientation and agreement on laptop usage rules and boundaries. If the student uses the laptop over the summer without structure then behaviors may already be set up to allow inappropriate usage. Early unstructured use could also lead to poor habits and decisions, making it more difficult to form rules and boundaries once school begins.
Q: Should we get a VPN for our student?
A: Use of a personal VPN is not required for Concordia schoolwork at any grade level. Moreover, we recommend that you do not install a personal VPN for your Middle School student. (Home computing is not a requirement for EC or ES students.) Note that using a personal VPN in China is considered by many to be a legal grey area. Whether or not you make a VPN available for your student, you, as parent, should regulate your student’s Internet access on the basis of them having demonstrated the ability to access the Internet in a responsible manner.
Q: Will the school provide laptop power chargers for use during the day?
A: Students are required to bring their laptop to school fully charged. They may also wish to bring their laptop charger to school. Loaner chargers are not available.
Q: If my student forgets to bring his/her laptop to school will the school provide a loaner laptop for the day?
A: Each student needs to bring his/her laptop to school each day. Learning responsibility is part of the growing process and loaner laptops are not available for this purpose. Alternative activities will be determined by the classroom teacher.
Q: Does the school provide a loaner laptop if my student’s laptop breaks?
A: Yes, in most cases. However, Concordia only has a limited number of loaner laptops available and cannot guarantee having one available for your student. The family is responsible for seeking a quick repair/replacement of the laptop; the school cannot provide long-term loaner laptops.
Q: Can my Elementary School or Grade 5 student participate in the Laptop Program?
A: The Laptop Program is not currently available to students below Grade 6.
Q: My student is getting a new laptop, can the old laptop stay in the Laptop Program?
A: Each student may only have one laptop at a time in the Laptop Program. The student must bring his/her “old” laptop to the Tech Hub before registering the new laptop so that staff may remove School site-licensed software and delete the laptop from School records and systems.
Q: I heard someone say there is something called “Find My iPhone.” Is that helpful and how do I get it?
A: “Find My iPhone, iPad, and Mac” is a service provided by Apple that enables a user to lock a “lost” Apple device (iPhone, iPad, or Apple laptop), to display a message on the lost device, to determine the rough location of the lost device, and/or to delete all data on the lost device. To use the “Find My” service, the user must set up the service prior to loss of the device.
Setting up the “Find My” service for a device requires first getting an Apple ID and using that Apple ID to turn on iCloud for the device. If you don’t already have an Apple ID, visit appleid.apple.com to get one. To turn on iCloud for a device, go to www.icloud.com, click “Setup Instructions” in the upper right of that webpage, and follow the instructions.
When the “Find My” service is active, the user can track the device from a different device, e.g., track one’s laptop from one’s iPhone or from a friend’s iPad, etc. Tracking from an iOS device requires installation of the “Fine iPhone” App on the iOS device being used to do the tracking. Tracking a lost device from an Apple or Windows laptop can be done via www.icloud.com.
For details visit the Apple Find My iPhone, iPad, and Mac webpage.