iPads and Laptops for Learning

Technology is creating and shaping our present and our future. Explore our use of iPads and Information and Communication Technology.

For students to become independent, collaborative and self-motivated learners, they need to be skilled in technology's use and application in their daily social and working lives.

St Columba’s Catholic College encourages each student to stretch the boundaries of their individual capabilities. As well as collaboration, creativity, discussion, and research, a strong emphasis is placed on the use of resources and technology to help stimulate independent thinking.

The College's ICT Policy has been replaced with our "Student Use of Digital Devices and Online Services Student Agreement", which can be found on our "Policies and Proceedures" page.

Compass is the online tool/ website that the Catholic Schools Parramatta Diocese and St Columba’s Catholic College uses to manage student attendance, daily messages to students and other tasks. Students can use it to see their attendance, merits, timetable, the daily news and other things.
Parents should see a guide for logging in to Compass on the Parent Handbook page, under "Compass".
Students should make sure they log into Compass as per these instructions.

Online Safety
For online safety advice please see the Office of the Children's eSafety Commissioner website. It has great info for children and adults and includes guides and advice for parents.

Student device requirements;

There are no textbooks for students in Years 7 to 10, except for Mathematics and HSIE. Laptops and iPads are learning tools, consequently the College requires all students in Years 7 to 12 to have a device. Many of the learning experiences within the St Columba's teaching programs have been designed with the iPad and laptop as the learning tools to promote and showcase student learning.

Junior School (Years 7-9): Year 7 students need to have a device which they will use as an essential tool to enhance their learning. Many students at St Columba’s have used iPads in Years 7-9, however, families are able to decide which device they would like to provide their child with as long as it is one of the supported devices (see below). Please note the requirement for Year 10 students to have a laptop in making this decision. 
For more info on what iPads are are supported on the network, please see the section "Student iPad Requirements" below.
For info on what laptops are supported on the network, please see the section "Students BYO laptops" below. 

Senior School (Years 10-12): students are required to bring laptops, which will be connected to the College network. For info on what laptops are allowed on the network, please see the section "Students BYO laptops" below. If senior students have a working iPad, then that will also be allowed instead of a laptop.

Please note that the College does not support; Andoid tablet devices (eg Samsing tablets), Chromebook laptops or Linux based devices. If you are unsure, please contact the College for assistance before you purchase a device.


Use of technology

Students and staff have access to a range of devices including computers, printers, TVs and data projectors for teaching and learning purposes. The College has TVs or data projectors in most of the indoor learning areas.

To support the use of technology embedded within the entire curriculum, the College is equipped with high speed internet and network connectivity throughout the school.

Teachers and staff are provided with regular professional development to assist them use to technology to create engaging and purposeful lessons.

With staff and students being provided with Google Apps for Education accounts by the Diocese, you may find that you have material (like emails, photos, or documents) saved in your school Google account that you want to take with you when you leave (like at the end of year 12).

Access your Google Account

You can access your school Google account via classm8.parra.catholic.edu.au

Access Classm8

Exporting Google material

Staff and students can export their files and other content stored with their Google/Classm8 account.
Any student leaving the Diocese (such as year 12 students) should do this as soon as you leave (for Year 12s leaving, by the end of the calendar year you finish in), or you may not be able to log in to your school Google account to export what you want.

When you finish at the Diocese your Google account may be deleted if you aren't moving to another Catholic Schools Parramatta Diocese school. To export/ transfer some or all of your school Google material use see the guide linked below.

How to Export from your Google Account

Cyber safety is an important aspect to our delivery of digital technologies and to the teaching we undertake in this area. Whilst we have a range of security, monitoring and filtering systems, we encourage students to act wisely and responsible when using technology.

Using a combination of teacher presence, increased age responsibility stages and teaching proper codes of access to all students, we aim to assist them to develop discernment in this area of life.

Learn more

  • St Columba's ICT User agreement - for this document, please see the link near the top of this page
  • Office of the eSafety Commisioner Online safety advice for parents, adults and children.

At St Columba's Catholic College (and in the Diocese) we use a software system called Intune to help manage the staff, student and College owned devices (iPads and laptops).

Students are able to enrol their devices into Intune (such as if they are new, or they wipe their device and need to re-enrol it in ) by seeing IT staff at recess or lunch at the IT Hub (around the side of the library).

It is a condition of the Diocese (and College) that staff and student devices are enrolled in Intune if they are to be on the College wifi and network at all. Student and staff devices not enrolled in Intune will not get to use the College's wifi or network.

Student phones are not to be connected to any of the College networks.

Advantages of Intune:

  • we can add settings/ content to staff/ student devices such as access to the College wifi and shortcuts to important web pages
  • the ability to add other configurations at a later date (e.g. if we need all students to have a new survey or ebook on their iPads)

Please note that the College does not block apps such as Facebook or Messages using Intune, however, there have been restrictions within the network that have stopped some apps from working properly. Once a device is off the College wifi (e.g. if they are at home) these apps will work as normal (e.g. Facebook).

What Intune doesn't allow us to do:

  • see the messages being sent or received by students with the Messages app, Facetime or other messaging apps, SMS or email. This includes the message content, place of origin or identity of sender/ receiver
  • view anything on the device's screen (ie what is being done on the device), at home or at the College
  • see any app content (like documents, images or usernames that are within an app)
  • view the device's web browsing or history
  • see any account details (usernames and passwords) like iTunes, Facebook, other than the student's College username (but not password)
  • view photos/videos on the device
  • access and use the built in cameras or microphone on the device
  • see the device's physical/ GPS location
  • remove apps that students have installed on the device
  • remotely wipe the device

About location tracking

Also of important note is that College and Diocese staff are unable to use Intune to 'see' the physical location of enrolled devices.

Therefore we highly recommend that students or their parents have 'Find my iPhone' (or similar) connected to the student device so that they can track it if required (if they lose it for example).

What Intune can see on your device

The Catholic Schools Parramatta Diocese (and St Columba's Catholic College) is now using a combination of Microsoft InTune and Cisco ISE (Identity Services Engine) to register senior BYO laptops and provide them with wifi and internet access.

Together, InTune and ISE can capture the following details form a device when it is registered:

  • the CEDP/College username of the person registering the device
  • the device's serial number, the device's name, the device's network MAC address, the charge level and how much spare room the device has
  • a list of the applications installed on the device (but not what you are doing with the application, if you have ever used it, or what you have done with that application).

This process is used in part so that the Diocese is aware of what devices are on its network and who they belong to, and to assist in making sure devices have the settings they need to work on the network. 

For more information on what InTune can 'see' or do with your device once it is registered, please use the link below.

Learn about InTune

A strong case for the iPad is essential to protect the device and the College highly recommends parents include some form of personal insurance for their child's device.

Starting in 2022 our minimum specification recommended for an iPad for College use is one of the following, with at least 32GB of storage and running an operating system of at least iOS 15;

  • iPad (5th generation, 2017 model, or later)
  • iPad Air 2
  • iPad Pro

The following devices are no longer be supported by our Diocese, or our College after 2019;
- any iPad Mini
- iPad 1st to 4th generation (released 2013)
- iPad Air 1st generation (released 2013) 

The College has no preference for where families buy student iPads from.

Beginning in 2023, we ask students commencing Year 7 to provide their own iPad. However, if the students already own another device which is compatible with the College Network they are permitted to bring this to school as a learning device. Students in other years are expected to bring their own laptop, or use an iPad if they already have one.


For a laptop to be added to the school network the device must be one of the following;

  • a Macbook (regular, Air or Pro models) running operating system MacOS 12 or higher
  • a Windows device running Windows 10 or higher (though we do not recommend that Windows laptops are running in "S mode").

Student laptops must have a screen size of not less than 9 inches (as measured diagonally), must have at least 6 hours of battery life and have at least 4GB of RAM.

Student laptops are registered in our InTune and Cisco ISE systems to get it onto the College network.

Due to the length of time it sometimes takes to register laptops and get them online, we only do this at the start of recess or lunch.

Students must have handed in the current St Columba's ICT Policy Agreement (at the top of this web page) to have their device connected to the wifi/ network.

We highly recommend a sturdy case for student devices.

Since 2018, student BYO iPads and laptops (Windows and Mac) get registered with CSPD's Intune system, to be put on to the network.

For instructions on how to remove this registration from a device (if for example the student is leaving the College) please see the following instructions;

If these instructions don't work for devices that were connected to our Intune system in the last few years, try one of the following instructions;

We are no longer using Casper to manage senior student BYO Macbooks, but for anyone that has an older Macbook that needs to be removed from the older Casper system, please find instructions here.

For iPads that were enrolled in our older 'Airwatch' system you can use these instructions to remove the registration from your iPad.



Students that need to use the printer in the library use the PAPERCUT system.

Students can log in to the Papercut site with their normal College username and password, at the address http://papercut.parra.catholic.edu.au:9191/user and see how much credit they have on their Papercut account. Student accounts start with $0.00 on them.

Please note that the Papercut website can only be reached while on the College network.

Students wanting to use the printer in the library will need to put credit onto their Papercut account. They can do this by buying cards in the value of $2 and $5 at reception, and then going to the Papercut site and redeeming the card there.

The library printer costs $0.10 per black and white page and $0.50 per page with ANY colour on it.

Students are able to print from their iPads while at school, as long as they have credit on their Papercut account.
Students should only print to library printers when they are in the library, and are not to leave class to pick up material they have printed.
More instructions on how to print are available in the library.

Students wishing to print from their own BYO laptops can also see the instructions in the library.

The use of College facilities on the due date for the printing/ finalising of assessment tasks is not permitted.

Clickview is an online website that hosts a range of video (and some other) content for educational use. It includes short videos, full movies, and stuff in-between.

The College has paid for staff and students to access this resource.

Students can access a short guide for Clickview here.

We have a web page aimed at students that has our latest IT news, some guides and links to important content.

Students can find the site here.

Students using laptops should make sure that they have the Student IT wiki bookmarked/ favourited on their laptop (the wiki page has instructions on how to do that too).

Microsoft Office 365

Staff and students at St Columba's Catholic College can now install Microsoft Office to their laptop or desktop, as provided by the Catholic Education Office Diocese of Parramatta (CSPD), that is, without buying it for themselves.

Staff and students can only install this CSPD provided version of the Office suite a limited number of times each, so they should only install it to their own devices.

The information on how to get and install your copy of Microsoft Office can be found below.

Installing Microsoft Office

About the iPad Program

St Columba’s Catholic College iPad program provides students with easy access to digital information and resources. The program is designed to utilise the iPad in a way that leads our students and teachers to deeper levels of engagement, collaboration and creativity. Students are encouraged to discover, download and even create their own apps to help them create, manage, capture and organise their work. While within the online environment, students learn about their responsibilities as cyber-citizens as they acquire, manipulate and share information.

We have greatly reduced the use of textbooks in years 7 to 10. The iPads are a learning tool, consequently the College requires all students in these years to have an iPad. Many of the learning experiences within the St Columba's teaching programs have been designed with the iPad as the learning tool to promote and showcase their learning.

All faculties within the College have made a concerted effort to develop digital learning materials accessible through the iPad. In addition there has been significant staff professional development that has focused on the use of the learning applications the students have access to on their iPad. Please read the following document for further explanation as to why the College is pursuing the device as an educational tool.

Learning and the iPad

At St Columba’s we see the iPad as being an integral component in the school’s educational goal of fostering an environment where students develop a stronger self-efficacy, as this trait has been shown to bring about the largest learning gain in students.

Below is some information including research papers in support of the device in an educational setting are also provided.

To use an iPad effectively and install apps onto it, you need an iTunes account.

Setting up an iTunes account is easy, and can be done without an iTunes card or using a credit card. Students are expected to have access to an iTunes account.

The accounts can be set up by the parent, by the parent and student, or in the case of students over the age of 13, by the student (if the parent/s is/are happy with this).

Step-by-step guide to creating an iTunes account

We highly recommend that you do not attach a credit card to an iTunes account that is for student use.

Additional iPad guides

Please note that for Pages, Keynote, Numbers, iMovie, GarageBand, some of these apps are now provided for free by Apple on newly purchased devices, under some circumstances.

For the complete list of apps that students are expected to have on their iPads please see the attached document.

List of Apps

The College ICT agreement states that students are not to bring jailbroken devices to the College. The Diocese policy is that these devices are not to be on the network.

If a student has a jailbroken device they will need to 'restore' it before bringing it to school to get enrolled into Airwatch. This will 'wipe' the device.

For help on backing up and restoring an iPad see 'Restoring your iPad'.

Backing up the iPad

It is very important for students to make sure that their iPad is backed up regularly. The following guide helps with backing up and iPad.

How to back up your device

We highly recommend using iTunes to store your backup when you are about to restore an iPad, rather than iCloud.

Restoring the iPad

Before wiping/ restoring an iPad you need to make sure you have a backup of it, if you can. We also recommend you get an additional copy of any vitally important items (like school work or important photos) in other ways, like emailing them to yourself, in case something goes wrong with your basic backup. If you need to restore your iPad (for example if it's jailbroken and needs to be restored before bringing it back to school) see the following guide.

How to restore iPads