Most of the specialist subject specific software used in school will not need to be available at home – homework will not be set that requires this level of specialism on a home computer.
If you don’t have any general Word-processing, Spreadsheet or Presentation software on your computer then you can download OpenOffice for free from their web site. We have this installed on all our computers in school as well as Microsoft Office (all computers) and iWork 09 (Mac only). You may also install LibreOffice which is based on OpenOffice and is also free. If you need a PDF reader for your computer, follow this link to the Adobe download page.
We do recommend that you keep your computer up to date so that any work you prepare on it can be easily and safely transferred between home and school and vice-versa. You can transfer some small files using your school e-mail account, but the preferred method is to use your ‘FROG VLE‘ account which allows you to download and upload files directly to your personal school folder and see your set homework and other useful resources.
Your computer comes pre-installed with a web browser which, along with the operating system, you should keep up to date to minimise security issues. If you want to install an alternate web browser, you could try the following links (other browsers are available):
- For Mozilla Firefox click here. (Recommended for use with Frog VLE and our other systems)
- For Google Chrome click here.
- For Opera click here.
You should ensure that you have good Anti Virus software installed and that it is kept up to date. This applies to any operating system, Windows, Mac or Linux. If your subscription to a paid for product has expired your protection will be out of date and your machine and data at risk. We recommend you renew your subscription or replace your product.
There are some free alternatives and, if you currently have no Anti Virus installed, we recommend that you install one now even if it’s only while you consider which package to buy.
Windows Anti-Virus Products (Free)
- Sophos Home (other Sophos Free Tools)
- Avira Anti Virus
- Avast Anti Virus
- AVG Free
- Microsoft Security Essentials (Windows Vista / 7)
Mac OSX Anti-Virus Products (Free)
The above list is not a recommendation or endorsement, other packages are available. Free products may provide limited functionality. You should compare products, take advice if in doubt.
Other Free Useful Software:
- SketchUp Make (Files created or edited in this version may not be fully compatible with that used in school)
- GIMP (Image Editing)
- Audacity (Audio Editing)
- VLC (Media Player)
Basic Broadband should be more than sufficient for accessing our systems from home, however at peak times you may notice some delay in response times if your ISP’s network is congested. You can check out the performance of your broadband connection by visiting “Speedtest.net” or other similar sites.
If you find your web pages load slowly or have problems but your speed check is OK, try deleting your browser cache and history files.
Carry out a full Anti Virus scan to make sure your computer is free from Malware which may be affecting performance. If you find anything, you’ll probably need to go through the recommended clean up procedures of your Anti Virus software to restore performance.
Sometimes you may need to fine tune the performance of your computer by removing unnecessary programs loaded at startup. Browser toolbars, especially those you may have been “tricked” into installing, are often the cause of poor internet performance and frequent pop-ups, remove them if you can – keep your browser clean of add-ons.