Guidelines for choosing devices and tools
Since 2012 Te Kura has been replacing old print-based subject booklets with online resources. Te Kura students enrolled in online courses use our Online Teaching and Learning Environment (OTLE), which is a secure, password-protected environment accessed via the internet.
An internet-capable device gives students instant access to unlimited resources and enables them to support, extend, communicate and share their learning in ways that prepares them for the future. Students enrolled in any courses with an online component will need access to a suitable digital device with internet connectivity.
The OTLE provides the functionality students will need to learn online.
These guidelines for choosing suitable devices and online tools include a few ‘must haves’ as well as some optional extras.
Students and parents should consider the following guidelines when looking at options for purchasing a device or deciding whether an existing device will be suitable.
A suitable device must enable the student to:
• access the internet and Te Kura’s OTLE (via a web browser)
• create audio and video recordings, as well as still images
• create and edit documents, including spreadsheets and presentations (using PowerPoint or Prezi for example).
A laptop or desktop computer, netbook, or tablet PC (also known as a Smart PC) will provide students with a comprehensive learning tool which can be used to create and share content.
Tablet devices, such as an iPad or Android Tablet, can be used to access some of the learning activities and resources in OTLE, but not all – so a laptop, desktop, netbook or tablet PC would be a better option.
The device should have a full operating system. Either Windows or Mac OSX are appropriate. Be aware not all tablet PC and netbooks have full operating systems. Please check carefully when selecting a device.
Google Chrome, Safari or Firefox are the recommended browsers for accessing the OTLE. These can be downloaded free from the internet.Download the most up to date version of these browsers from the following websites:
Common browser plug-ins
The device must have common browser plugins installed, such as Adobe Flash Player, Adobe Acrobat Reader, Java, Adobe Shockwave or Apple Quicktime.
Adobe Reader – For viewing PDF documents in your course.
Adobe Flash – For viewing animations in your course.
Laptops, netbooks and tablet PCs will generally include a built-in webcam, but if your student is using a desktop PC a separate webcam with microphone to make video and audio recordings is also required and a set of plug in speakers would be useful.
We recommend 4GB or more for laptops and netbooks, or else programmes may be slow to run.
Hard Disk Drive
For netbooks or laptops the hard disk drive should be at least 80GB.
For Windows or Mac OSX devices, anti-virus and anti-spyware software is essential to protect the data on the device, and prevent the device being used to spread malware to other devices. Removing malicious software from devices is an IT Helpdesk’s most frequent request.
Glossary of terms
Other things to consider
Robustness - if you are looking at a portable device, it should be strong enough to survive a fall onto a hard surface.
Insurance - we recommend appropriate insurance cover.
Warranty - minimum warranties with new devices are typically 1 year, but you may want to consider upgrading this to a 2 or 3 year warranty. A factor to consider is how long the device will be unavailable should it require repair under warranty. It could be a few days, or as long as a few weeks. Check if the supplier can offer a loan device should repair be required.
Optional USB DVD - some devices such as netbooks do not have a built-in DVD drive, so you may want to consider a USB DVD (an external DVD drive connected to the device through a USB cable) to be able to load any additional software you purchase or to view DVDs/CD-ROMs.