1:1 Laptop Program

At the start of the 2018-2019 school year, Key School initiated a 1:1 personal laptop program for all students in grades 5-12. Fifth and sixth grade students use School-issued Chromebooks which are kept at Key; students in grades seven through twelve bring their own laptop to school each day.

We are aware this program may require families to purchase a new device and assure you we have taken costs into account when deciding upon the necessary specifications. Families will not be required to purchase top-tier laptops to ensure compatibility with Key's systems. See below for requirements.

Required Laptop Specifications

Please note: Fifth and sixth grade students will use School-issued Chromebooks, which will be kept at Key; students in grades seven through twelve will need to bring their own laptop to school each day. Devices must meet the following specifications:

  • Full-sized laptop
    • Smartphones, iPads, Android tablet devices, Windows RT tablets, and eReaders such as the Nook and Kindle do not meet the School’s requirements.
  • Full-sized physical keyboard
    • This requirement is critical for extended writing assignments (e.g. research papers, longer communications, etc.). Smaller keyboards lead to cramped and tired hands, and on-screen keyboards don’t facilitate rapid or extended writing.
  • Wireless capability
    • The laptop must have a WiFi card and be able to connect to the wireless network at Key.
  • Long-lasting battery
    • Device should advertise at least eight to ten hours of time on battery power when brandnew. Rechargeable batteries lose their effectiveness over time, therefore a laptop that holds its charge for several hours when brand new may only last a fraction of that time after the battery has been recharged several hundred times. Proper care and treatment of the battery can delay but not fully prevent this. A student whose battery is continually dead may need to purchase a new battery.
  • Modern web browser that supports Flash
    • Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or recent versions of Internet Explorer is a must-have and is the foundation of all applications for student and classroom use. The browser must support Flash.
  • Power on in less than 90 seconds/wake from sleep in under 30 seconds
    • When the machine is fully powered off, it should boot up and be ready for full use in less than 90 seconds. When opening the lid in sleep mode, the device must be ready for operation within 30 seconds. This timer includes logging in and loading any initial applications.
  • Warranty/Support
    • We strongly encourage families to invest in a warranty/support plan for student devices. This will minimize out of pocket expense should the device sustain damage or malfunction. It should also ensure timely repairs should something go awry.

Any computer with the listed specifications will meet your child’s daily needs at school.


If you decide you are interested in purchasing a new computer, we offer the following general information. There are many options available at big box stores like Best Buy and Target to meet the requirements of Key’s 1:1 program. It is not necessary to purchase a top-tier machine.

General Pros and Cons by Device


Chromebook Compatible with Android Apps
Pros:
Low cost
Very high reliability
No need for antivirus or security software
Variety of vendors, price points
Lightweight
No internal moving parts
Long battery life

Cons:
Heavily dependent on a web connection
Unable to install programs on the local hard drive
Dependent upon Cloud Print to print
Only browser extensions and Adnroid apps can be used
Cannot download or install local applications unless that application is available on the web

Windows OS Laptop
Pros:
Broadest compatibility with software
Wide selection of vendors, price points
Works well offline

Cons:
Mid to High cost
Batteries often don’t last as long
Models vary in quality
Software susceptible to viruses, malware

Mac Laptop
Pros:
Very high quality devices
Batteries usually last a long time
Adept at multimedia (e.g. photos, video)
Not usually susceptible to viruses, malware
Works well offline

Cons:
Higher starting price than Windows PCs
Minor compatibility issues
Single vendor, single price point

Regardless of the brand, we strongly encourage all families to invest in a warranty/support plan for student devices.

Click here for a PDF of this overview of the approved devices and required specifications.