Access to a reliable computer is an important part of life as a distance education student. For home use, students are encouraged to purchase a device that best suits their needs, circumstances and budget. The buying guide below sets out some minimum standards and recommendations to consider before making a purchase.
When students visit SDEHS for study days, learning hubs and lessons they are welcome to use school computers and laptops. However, students may bring their own device if desired. In that case they will be subject to our Student use of digital devices and online services procedures which is signed on enrolment.
Students who bring their own devices to school are still subject to the Department of Education’s filtered internet service and are responsible for the care and maintenance of their devices. Please be aware that SDEHS can only offer basic technical support during school visits to troubleshoot Wi-Fi connections.
Computer buying guide
Laptops are a popular choice for students due to their portability, although desktop machines are of course suitable for home use. Please avoid tablets, Chromebooks and gaming devices as they don't provide the same functionality as a full operating system.
Many suppliers offer educational discounts. It's worth asking in order to get the best possible price.
The following list contains recommended specifications for devices. Aim for a device that meets the minimum standards mentioned in the list:
- Microsoft Windows 10 or later
- Apple Mac OSX 10.10 or later
- If you intend to bring your device to school, it must have 5GHz 802.11n wireless support
- This may be advertised as “Dual Band Wireless”, “802.11abgn”, “802.11agn”, “802.11ac” or “gigabit wireless”
- choose a desktop or laptop computer, not a tablet
- devices should have a separate keyboard, not an on-screen touch keypad
- screen size should be at least 10 inch but a bit bigger may be more comfortable when working for long periods
- consider the size and weight of the device if you intend to travel with it frequently
- 8GB RAM recommended with minimum 4GB RAM
- if you need to use Adobe Creative Cloud software such as Photoshop in your subjects, then 8GB RAM or more is required
- for laptops, a battery life of at least 4 hours is recommended
- webcam – either built in or external
- headset with microphone
- at least one USB port
- Microsoft Office 365 – free to students
- Adobe Creative Cloud (certain subjects only) – free to students
- anti-virus security software
- web browser such as Chrome or Firefox – free online