Laptops



Should my child bring their laptop to class?
Yes.  If possible, your child should bring their own laptop to class.


We don't have a laptop.  Can my child still register for this class?
Yes.  I will purchase a small number of laptops to rent to students for a small fee.  These laptops will only be for classroom use.  Students will not be allowed to take them home.  However, the number of laptops I can physically bring to class each week is limited, so it would be best if your child brought their own.

Another option would be to borrow an old laptop from family or friends.  When people buy a new laptop they often keep their old one, but don't use it very often.  Most older laptops will work just fine in our class.

You may also wish to purchase a laptop for your child.  If they are very interested in coding, you are going to want to invest in a laptop. 


Will my laptop work?  Does it need to be a PC or Mac? 
I will be teaching Scratch and JavaScript using online resources.  These programs run within a browser without the need to install any software.  Windows, Mac and Chromebooks will all work just fine.

The laptop does not need to be new or powerful.  In fact, old machines will work just fine as long as they have the latest version of Flash. 

To test if your laptop can run Scratch or Khan Academy's JavaScript just click on the following links (Scratch, JavaScript).  You may be prompted to install the latest version of Flash. 


We are going buy a new laptop.  What kind should we get?
Any new computer should be able to run Scratch and Khan Academy's JavaScript environment, as both run in a browser.
However, in order for your child to create games with the Unity professional development environment, they will need a computer whose video card meets the following requirements.  The built in video cards on many new machines will meet this requirement.  A salesperson should be able to check this for you.  A google search on the computer's video card name will also tell you if it meets these requirements.
Microcenter has great deals on laptops for under $499.  I've seen good deals at Office Depot and other stores as well.  I recommend finding a laptop with 8mb Ram and an Intel i3, i5 or i7 processor - but that is not required. 
If you would like your computer to be able to play all the latest video games - as well as be faster at creating complex 3d games, you will want to pay extra for a dedicated video card.  However this is not required for Unity or for this class.
For reference, the computer I use to create and publish my own video games is an Intel i7 with 8bm ram and a dedicated video card.  I have already had it for three years, and it will probably last for years to come.  I probably paid $799 for it.