technology

Computers & Technology

Personal Computers, Phones and Connectivity (last updated April 7, 2016)

Quick FAQs

Q: How can I connect my computer / devices to the Taft network.?
A: Guests to the school can connect to TaftAir-Guest during business hours. Members of the school community must connect to our user network. Instructions for connecting to the Taft Wi-Fi network can be found on two pages: for computers / for other devices.


Q: Should I bring a laptop or a desktop?
A: Laptops are required of all students. Taft does have a voluntary laptop program, through which students can purchase a Mac or PC that is packaged with 3 years of insurance and is serviceable at the school. Alternatively, students may elect to bring their own laptop, which would not be.


Q: Will I be expected to carry a laptop around with me throughout the school day?
A: No. Taft is not a "laptop school" but teachers will periodically ask that you bring your laptop to class for research, writing or testing.


Q: Should I bring a Macintosh or a Windows computer?
A: This is a personal choice. Bring what you will be most comfortable using.


Q: Do I need a wireless card and can I setup a wireless network in my room?
wifi certified logoA: Taft is a wireless campus. All academic spaces and dorm rooms have very strong wireless access. You will not be permitted to setup a wireless access point or router in your room as it would interfere with the Taft wireless network.


Q: Should I bring an iPad? Will it connect to the wireless network? What about my smart phone and wireless printer?
A: Taft is in the middle of an iPad pilot program. Many teachers have been adopting the iPad into their classroom instruction. Roughly half of our students will need to use an iPad in at least one class this year. Students are allowed to connect up to three devices (e.g. computer, tablet, smart phone, etc.) to the wireless network. Student personal wifi printers, however, are not supported.


Q: Are Taft’s learning resources available off campus?
A: Taft uses Haiku Learning for a learning management system. Many teachers make classroom resources available on this cloud service. Other resources are either available on the Taft external website, or on Veracross, the school’s student information system.


Q: What is Taft's Acceptable Use Policy?
A: Taft's policy can be found here.

Computers and Software

Taft provides and requires that you have our campus anti-virus software solution installed on your computer. This solution includes an agent and the actual software. If there is another anti-virus software package installed, it will need to be removed before installing the Taft supplied solution to be able to continue using the Taft network. We provide this software freely and we automatically keep your computer updated with the latest anti-virus software and definitions. We take this measure along with automated network registration to insure a safe and secure environment for all students, faculty and staff using the campus network.

Note: Please make sure you have a copy of your operating system software and drivers with you on campus. Many computers now come with the software stored on the hard disk. This will be sufficient except in the case when your hard drive fails. We strongly suggest that you create a restore CD or DVD as a backup.

You will be required to attend a computer setup and configuration session to make sure your software and resources are configured for dormitory and classroom use. You will receive specific instructions when you arrive on campus.

Telephones

Because of the rise of cellular phones on campus, Taft has discontinued the wired telephone service in student rooms. In most dorms, however, there are convenience phones for those without a cell phone. The dorm convenience phones have access to local and toll free dialing only. A calling card is required in order to make a long distance (toll) call. Specific questions about telephones should be directed to Frank Trosky, 860-945-7906.

Connecting to the Taft Network

Taft provides a robust wireless 802.11 a/g/n network throughout the campus. Students are not permitted to operate their own wireless routers or access points on campus. Taft also provides wired network ports available in selected locations for student use. It is the responsibility of the student to bring a computer equipped with an Ethernet card and a category 5 Ethernet cable to connect their computer to the wired network. We do not sell Ethernet cards on campus but should a cable become damaged over the course of the year, the Information Technology Office will assist students with the replacement or repair of the cable. If you forget your cable or need a longer one, they are also available for purchase in the school store.

Student Laptop Program

Taft School offers incoming students a Taft Laptop Program, which provides a new Mac to students who elect to purchase one, bundled with full warranty and insurance covering damage and theft for 3 years. Students who choose to purchase a laptop in this program will be able to bring their laptop to the Information Technology office for all support issues. The IT team will fix any issues and provide a loaner computer to student if repair will be longer than a few hours.

Student Computer Support

For students who are not taking part in the laptop program. Information Technology staff are available during regular school hours to resolve all connectivity issues. Support is primarily focused on email, connectivity, and academic application issues but the staff will offer minor assistance to students who are having other issues with their computer. We do not provide direct hardware replacement support but will assist with contacting vendor support or advise students on how they should proceed.

Please bring software media and documentation along with proof-of-purchase or warranty information, as it will allow us to be more effective in helping resolve problems.

Buying or Bringing a Computer to Taft

Every student at Taft is required to have a laptop. Course materials/resources are delivered through email and the web. See the table below for recommended equipment and software:

Suggested Minimum Computer Specifications
Platform Windows Macintosh
Processor Dual Core or better Dual Core or better
Memory at least 4 GB (8 GB recommended) at least 4 GB (8 GB recommended)
Hard Drive 160 GB or higher 160 GB or higher
Networking 10/100/1000 Ethernet port 10/100/1000 Ethernet port
Wireless 802.11a/g/n 802.11a/g/n
Operating System Windows 7 with Service Pack 1 or higher Mac OS X 10.9 or higher
Office Software Microsoft Office 2010 or higher Microsoft Office 2011 or higher
Antivirus Software McAfee installed by Taft (required) McAfee installed by Taft (required)
Warranty 3-4 years onsite if available and accidental damage protection is strongly encouraged. 3-4 years onsite if available and accidental damage protection is strongly encouraged.

Google Apps

As part of Taft's Green Initiative, most classroom work is done through Google Apps. Students will be provided with Google Apps accounts. Google Apps for Education is used by thousands of schools and universities worldwide. It is a suite of web-based programs providing word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, and collaboration tools. Because it is a web-based system, students and faculty can access their work from anywhere.

Printing

Laser printers are available in all computer labs and in the library. Additionally, the IT department has set up satellite printing stations in high-traffic areas such as the Learning Center and the Jig. Some students bring a local printer to be used in their dorm room. The smaller portable inkjet printers seem to work well for that purpose.

Questions?

Laptop Program (Billing)

Dina Kollchaku, 860-945-7772

Laptop Program (Technical)

Ryan Dymarczyk, 860-945-7893

General Questions

Please contact Gil Thornfeldt, Business Manager, 860-945-7760

 

THE TAFT SCHOOL  | 110 Woodbury Road | Watertown, Connecticut 06795 | 860-945-7777 | Info@taftschool.org