Student Device FAQs

All students are required to bring a charged personal device to school every day in order to complete academic work.

Listed here are some of the most frequently asked questions from both parents and students regarding Brother Martin’s electronic device policies. These questions and answers may be updated throughout the school year to address any new concerns of our Brother Martin community or to reflect changes in school policy. As technologies change and develop and our school needs evolve, we will continue to update the policies regarding student use of electronic devices on campus.

Do we need to buy a brand new device?
It is not necessary for families to purchase a new device if your son already has access to a personal computer on our approved list which he can bring to school. When purchasing a new device, please ensure that it is one of our acceptable types (see below).

Families should keep in mind that the device used at Brother Martin is an academic tool, so a computer that is typically used for playing games may not be the best choice of device for a student to use to his complete academic work.

What kinds of devices are acceptable?
Listed in decreasing order of school preference:

  1. Google Chromebook*
  2. Windows 7 to Windows 10 laptop or ultrabook (including the Surface Pro**)
  3. Apple MacBook (original, Pro, or Air) laptop

*For several years, we have introduced students to and used the various features of Google’s online tools that allow for easy collaboration and online access to documents from anywhere. The Chromebook fully supports G Suite (formerly Google Apps) and all online resources used by Brother Martin students, as do Windows and Apple laptops.

**The older Surface RT (not the Pro models) and Windows 10 devices in S mode restrict users from downloading certain programs, like Google Drive and Google Chrome, both of which are used frequently by students in all grade levels. Students with either type of Windows device are highly encouraged to use a different device at Brother Martin, however, it is acceptable to use as a student’s secondary, backup computer.

(Note: Even though the Microsoft Surface appears to be a “tablet” when its keyboard is detached, the device is a fully equipped laptop with the keyboard attached. Students must use a keyboard with their Surface.)

What kinds of devices are not acceptable?
Tablets (iPad included) tend to be popular devices for adolescents; however, we have found that our students encounter the most challenges with completing assignments on those types of devices. Therefore, they cannot be used at Brother Martin. Students cannot bring an Apple iPad, Android tablet, or Windows tablet to school for any reason.

When we began our Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program, students were allowed to use any type of portable computer to complete academic work. After several years of exploration, we noticed that the most challenging devices for our students to use were tablets. Many tablets are designed with small screens to lay flat on a table, for media consumption rather than creation, and without a fairly durable outer casing. Many apps in Apple’s and Google’s stores are “slimmed down” versions of existing websites. Even with a keyboard, these devices do not have the same capabilities as a laptop-style computer and often prevent students from completing assignments. This is not conducive to working in our school’s environment which is why tablets are no longer acceptable device types. Even with an external keyboard, these devices will not be allowed for school use.

Students should refrain from bringing these types of devices to school, even for after-school use or as a “backup” computer, as tablets cannot be registered with the Technology Department.

(Note: Even though the Microsoft Surface appears to be a “tablet” when its keyboard is detached, the device is a fully equipped laptop with the keyboard attached. Students must use a keyboard with their Surface.)

What are the requirements for a registered device?
At a minimum, all student devices must be capable of connecting to a wireless network for Internet browsing and email access. There are no specific memory, hard drive, screen size, or other hardware requirements. All models of acceptable devices must be a laptop or other similar convertible device AND include a physical keyboard (either detachable or not).
Do we need to buy any special software to install on the device?
No. The main program that your son will need installed on his device to complete school work is an Internet browser. Brother Martin strongly encourages the use of Google Chrome. All of the acceptable device types have versions of Google Chrome that can be downloaded and installed for free.

All software programs that Brother Martin students will use are hosted online and accessible from any computer.

Any specific software that is required for a course and has a licensing fee will be included in a course fee. Any of these types of applications are hosted online. There may be a free, third-party program (Java or Adobe Flash Player) which your son would need to install to use the licensed software. His instructor will let him know if that is necessary.

Should we install virus protection?
If your son is using a Windows device, we absolutely require his device to be running some form of antivirus software. The recommended application is Windows Defender—which is free and a part of the Windows operating system in Windows 8, 8.1, and 10. Older Windows 7 laptops should have a third-party antivirus program.

For students with an Apple device or a Chromebook, the risk of acquiring malware is not as high, but it is not impossible. We simply recommend that those students, along with Windows users, use caution when accessing the Internet. Avast and AVG offer virus protection for Apple computers.

Will my son have Internet access on his device?
Yes. All students will be given access to the Internet on campus via our wireless local area network. Of course, your son’s Internet usage will be restricted to sites that Brother Martin High School deems appropriate for a school environment. Families should not purchase a computer that utilizes a cellular data plan.
Can my son charge his device on campus?
Yes. We encourage our students to charge their devices at home, but we realize that a computer’s battery may not last 8 hours if continuously used. Students should bring their power cord or have a spare charger at school. There are designated places—the Library and the Resource Centers—for students to charge their devices before and after school or during an unstructured period. Brother Martin does not supply or loan chargers to any student.

It is up to the discretion of a teacher to allow a student to charge a device during scheduled class time.

Should we have a warranty on the device?
Brother Martin High School strongly encourages families to seek an extended warranty on any student device. If your son’s device breaks, you will want to be able to have it repaired or replaced in a timely manner. Ask to see if the company that you have bought the laptop from offers an extended warranty.

Cracked screens are a major issue with young boys who might be rough on their computers. Ensure that you know what the warranty covers.

What can I do if my device breaks?
If your primary device breaks, then you may bring another device to campus, even temporarily. Keep in mind that each device a student brings to school, no matter how many days, must be registered separately. Neither tablets nor iPads can be brought to school as a temporary device.

The Library has several laptops available for a single-day check out if the following conditions are met:

  • A parent must send an email to library@brothermartin.com verifying that the device is broken and with the expected repair timeline.
  • The student must check the school device out before 7:45 a.m. and return the device at the end of the academic day.

Does my son need a carrying case for his laptop?
No. It is not necessary to have a carrying case; however, it may be better for some students to carry their device outside of their bookbag to avoid the computer from being crushed between other school supplies and books. Often, students do not realize how much pressure they are putting on their laptops inside their bookbags and inadvertently crack the computer’s screen.
What if I forget my device at home?
If a student fails to bring his device to school, he may borrow a device from the Library if he reports to the Library before 7:45 a.m. and returns the device at the end of the academic day. Consequences are assigned for lack of student responsibility.
Can more than one device be registered with Brother Martin?
Yes. All students must have at least one device that meets the school’s requirements; however, a student may register any number of acceptable devices. Each device must be separately registered with the Technology Department, and students must carry a copy of their registration for each device used.
What is the device registration process at Brother Martin?
All students must take home an Acceptable Use Policy form (obtained from the Technology Department or the Library). That Acceptable Use Policy must be read and signed by both the student and a parent/guardian to ensure that families are aware that the student is using the device and of all guidelines for using the computer on Brother Martin’s campus. Once the form is signed, a student should bring his Acceptable Use Policy and computer to the Technology Office (2nd Floor Resource Center) to get his device’s information recorded and his Acceptable Use Policy approved.

Students must keep on their person a stamped copy of the Acceptable Use Policy for each device that they plan to use on campus. Upon request, students must show their Acceptable Use Policy to a faculty member.

Devices should be registered with the Technology Department on the first day that the student brings the device to campus. Consequences are assigned to students who do not register their device in a timely manner.

Does my son need a device for Summer Enrichment?
Students who will be attending Summer Enrichment are highly encouraged to register a device during the summer months to get ahead of the process at the start of school in August when all students will register a device, but students do not need to bring a device to Summer Enrichment for coursework.

We encourage families who have not purchased a device before Summer Enrichment to use that time to ask others about their device.

When will my son receive his school accounts?
All incoming students must attend a New Student Technology Seminar in August. Each student will be given access to and trained to use their Brother Martin G Suite account along with other important online school accounts. Any material not covered during the New Student Technology Seminar will be addressed in academic classes. More information about this day is sent directly to incoming students.

Students who miss the Technology Seminar training must attend a make-up session during the first week of classes.

Can my son bring an e-reader to school?
Yes. As we continue to allow students to purchase electronic versions of novels and other literature, Brother Martin understands that you may want to allow your son to use an e-reader (Barnes & Noble Nook or Amazon Kindle). We do allow students to register e-readers for use at school, but your son must have a different approved device to use for completing his coursework.
What if I have a question about a specific device?
Email our school’s Technology Coordinator Mr. Craig Zeller (czeller@brothermartin.com) or Assistant Technology Coordinator Mr. Kevin Caparotta (kcaparotta@brothermartin.com) for any personal questions.