As of 10 November 2017
Our recommended device rationale
Over the last few years, teachers at StAC have been equipped with touchscreen laptops and a stylus. Increasingly these teachers are using this functionality to provide student feedback and increase the quality of instruction. By April 2018, all teachers at StAC will have laptops with this functionality.
Feedback from our teachers has indicated that having their students similarly equipped would provide a platform that would enable them to intuitively annotate in the classroom, in either a collaborative or individual setting. This is supported by significant research in this area, indicating its benefits for broad content creation, flexible collaboration (in person or remotely), thinking and learning, and the development of effective pedagogy.
Consequently, StAC now highly recommend that any new devices purchased for student use support touch and a stylus. With the move to a consistent platform alongside digital inking in class, we confidently expect to see further benefits to the teaching and learning environment and improvements in student cognition.
On a more fundamental level, StAC is a school that makes extensive use of the Microsoft 365 suite of education applications. Standardising student devices within the classroom to the Windows operating system platform, which provides an offering more integrated with Microsoft 365, is also perceived as being of overall benefit*. Accordingly, for those wishing to opt for a more cost-effective option, we also offer a non-touchscreen device in our recommended device range.
When considering a new device, we understand that Macbooks are popular devices and may well better suit an existing home environment. Equally we recognise that a student device is not only used for school purposes, and that often students either transition from a previous school with a Macbook, or inherit one from a family member. As such, we do support Macbooks, but ask that parents/guardians strongly consider the points above when selecting a new device for their child’s education at StAC.
*The exception to this is Years 10-13 Music, where an Apple laptop offers more software and peripheral compatibility, although school iMacs are available to students if required. Accordingly, parents of students with interests in this area are encouraged contact the Head of Music for advice.
Minimum device specifications
We have some minimum requirements, and that is for a “full” operating system. This means:
- Windows 10
- Apple’s MacOS
By inference, this excludes Operating Systems such as Apples’ iOS (commonly found on iPads, iPhones and iPod Touches) and Google’s Android or Chrome OS (commonly found on various tablets, smart phones and Chromebooks).
If a student has a full operating system then generally they can overcome most compatibility issues that may present themselves.
It also means that our teachers can plan with confidence that the student devices will support certain applications or file formats they choose to use. Additionally, students of St Andrew's College qualify for a free copy of MS Office 2016 (desktop version and online version).
Further minimum device requirements are as follows:
- Solid State Disk (SSD) instead of traditional Hard Disk Drive (HDD)
- SSD are much faster and provide longer battery life
- 128GB minimum
- Memory /RAM:
- 4GB minimum, 8GB or equivalent
- Processor CPU:
- Intel i5 recommended
- Screen Size:
- 11” minimum
- 15” maximum
- Wireless 802.11n/ac
- Laptop must support 5Ghz wifi
- Battery Life:
- Ideally six+ hours on a single charge
Cyclone Computers is a New Zealand owned company with head offices in Christchurch. We recommend them as a great company to work with however there is no requirement for you to purchase from them. St Andrew's College does not profit from purchases of devices through this channel.
To purchase go to:
There are some important points to note about these machines:
- They all have three-year warranties (typically adds $200-$300 to the cost of the device).
- They all have rigid business-quality chassis – aimed to be more robust and prevent damage during transportation.
- They all include Solid State Disk (SSD) storage – significantly faster and less prone to failure than traditional Hard Disk Drives (HDD).
To avoid disappointment when preparing for a new school year, we strongly encourage parents to place an order with Cyclone before the end of December. Due to high demand and supply levels, some models may not be available at short notice if ordering is left until mid-to-late January.
What About Tablets?
The Microsoft Surface Pro is a Tablet with a 12” screen, running Windows 10 and has outstanding “inking” capabilities meaning the ability to write on the screen and also convert that writing to typed text is very good.
The keyboards that come with these Pro devices are also very good and we consider it essential if you are considering a Windows based tablet.