The creation of a large and varied technology environment demands that technology usage be conducted in legal and ethically appropriate ways. It is the intention of the Anglo-American School of Sofia that all technology resources be used in accordance with all school policies and procedures. Additionally, it is expected that students will use technology resources to benefit their learning through responsible practice. Violators of this policy will be dealt with in a manner comparable to situations requiring disciplinary action.
- All students will use the internet as and where appropriate during their studies at AAS;
- Students will use the internet as a supervised part of their work;
- Students are encouraged to view the internet as a resource for research, telecollaboration and communication;
- Students must be aware that selectivity is required to use the information available on the internet;
- The school recognizes that, under certain circumstances, the internet can give students access to undesirable information and images; we work to ensure that students are protected from such information through supervision and the use of direct links to previewed sites that provide as safe an environment as possible.
Social Media Use
The Anglo American School of Sofia realizes that part of 21st century learning is adapting to the changing methods of communication. The importance of teachers, students and parents engaging, collaborating, learning, and sharing in these digital environments is a part of 21st century learning.
To this aim, the Anglo-American School of Sofia has developed a guideline to provide direction for instructional employees, students and the school community when participating in online social media activities. It is important to create an atmosphere of trust and individual accountability; keeping in mind that information produced by teachers and students is a reflection on the entire school community and is subject to the School’s Responsible Use Policy. By accessing, creating or contributing to any blogs, wikis, or other social media for classroom or district use, we agree to abide by these guidelines.
Student E-mail Guidelines
AAS-Sofia students from grades 6 to 12 have an AAS-Sofia email address. Email communication between students and teachers should use only this address.
The following guidelines should be followed:
- Responsible use of email is an expectation of the AAS Sofia Community;
- Using email to bully or intimidate or harm other users are serious offences;
- The email subject should be brief and an accurate indication of the contents of the email;
- Only send email to the recipients who need to know the information in the email:
- Don’t forget that you can talk to a person directly—you don’t always have to use an email;
- Forwarding emails to recipients who were not included in the original email (unless the original sender approves) is not polite;
- Don’t use email for unlawful activities, political or commercial purposes, any form of harassment or sending of spam messages;
- Maintain your correct identity when using e-mail—do not pretend to be someone else;
- Remember when you send an email the recipient cannot see your facial expressions and cannot hear your voice: ensure your email sounds polite to the person receiving it;
- Don’t use defamatory, inaccurate, abusive, obscene, profane, lewd, vulgar, rude, inflammatory, threatening, and disrespectful, or prejudicial language in public or private communication;
- If you feel upset don’t hit send, wait a while!
- When you create your password, make the password a combination of numbers and letters; make it something you will remember;
- Check your email regularly;
- Google limits attachment size to 20MB.
Bring Your Own Device
As we constantly strive to fulfill our mission here at AAS – to engage, support, and prepare each student for today and tomorrow – we are aware that technology must seamlessly be embedded into the fabric of the student learning experience. Students at AAS-Sofia in grades 6 to 12 bring their own laptops to school for use in their classes, particularly in Math, Science, Social Studies and Language Arts. With their own devices in hand and with guidance from their teachers, engaged students have taken ownership of their education and are forming critical skills needed for 21st Century success in learning and beyond.
NB: For further details about minimum requirements and parent recommendations please see the AAS website
NB: For the fully detailed Responsible Use Policy please see the AAS website or the section in the Family Handbook entitled “Responsible Use Policy”
Keep Health & Balance in Mind
Leveraging new and emerging technologies at AAS-Sofia is meant to be a positive, enriching resource to enhance learning and creativity. However, it is recognized that computers, mobile devices and other technologies can sometimes have a disruptive effect on a person’s behavior and wellbeing.
Proper usage of technology should never cause pain, fatigue or other physical or mental ailments. Additionally, while technology can be an engaging way to spend time, it can take up time that could be better used for studying or working with friends. Instead of watching videos and surfing the web, reading a good book or talking with your friends & teachers may be a better choice. Students should find a comfort zone that strikes a healthy balance between online and offline activity.
Use Technology in an Ethical Way
Responsible citizenship means practicing good ethical behavior, whether online or offline. Students are encouraged to model good online citizenship by making sure their actions and choices do not disrupt the learning environment for themselves or others, just like in the classroom. This refers to all devices, school and personal devices used at school. At a minimum, this requires that students:
- Not view or install inappropriate content including sites that display profane or obscene material, that advocates illegal acts, encourages the use of drugs, or that advocates violence or discrimination towards other people;
- Not engage in any illegal activities, including possessing or sharing pirated software or applications;
- Not engage in conversation or activities (such as sending pictures, i.e. “sexting”, creating and/or distributing sexually explicit media) that may inflame, irritate, offend others, hurt others, or harm yourself;
- Not try to bypass network guidelines with proxies or Internet access devices;
- Not use peer-to-peer file-sharing software such as LimeWire or BitTorrent, which is primarily used to download illegal content and could jeopardize Internet access for all members of the AAS-Sofia community;
- Not hack or install malicious software on any device used at AAS-Sofia;
- Not attempt to hack or modify other student accounts or official school files or accounts;
- Not copy or remove school software;
- Obey all intellectual property rules and copyright laws; use of Creative Commons material and licensing is encouraged;
- Follow student email guidelines, including not sharing or using others’ email accounts or passwords;
- Immediately notify a teacher or the system administrator if they have identified a possible security problem;
- Not threaten others or exclude or attempt to exclude others from online activities or organisations;
- Promptly disclose to their teacher or administrator any message or information they receive that is inappropriate or makes them feel uncomfortable while on the web, using e-mail, chat rooms or forums.
Protect Identity & Personal Information
Once information goes on the Internet, it is likely that it will remain there for a very long time. Personal information also extends beyond names, phone numbers, photos, videos, student ID numbers and addresses, but to things such as usernames and passwords as well. As such, it is important that students treat their own and others’ personal information with great care. Students should never share user accounts or passwords, especially those that are close to their identity (e.g., email, AAS-Sofia accounts, social networks). All personal information, such as home addresses, phone numbers and full names, should always be kept private.
NB: Images or videos of students, or their work, may be published or utilized in various electronic resources, including the school website and other online platforms, as well as in print media, including teaching and school promotional materials. If a student’s work is shared, only the first name and grade will be included as credit. All students and their parents must complete the AAS-Sofia Photo and Video Release Form.
Be Smart When Sharing Work Online
Students will be sharing their work in a variety of online spaces and are expected to act safely by keeping personal information private. When they share their work online, they are expected to treat those spaces as classroom spaces and use language or images online that are appropriate for class.
Because students will be sharing their work with real audiences, they may receive feedback that is inappropriate for academic purposes. Regardless of the nature of the feedback, students should respond ethically and responsibly (or not at all).
Be Aware of the Others in the Environment
- Students may not use up excessive bandwidth—examples include constant video streaming, Running peer-to-peer file sharing software, etc;
- Computer use should not be disruptive to other students who are working nearby; students are requested to use headphones when listening to audio;
- Students may personalize their computer carrying case, but any stickers or other markings should not be offensive to others;
- Students may not remove identifying barcode tags affixed to the computer by the ICT Department;
- Students should also be aware that individual teachers will have different protocols for classroom use of IT and it is the student’s responsibility to be aware of these and adhere to them.
Protect the Device
Students should take careful steps to protect all devices used at AAS-Sofia from damage or theft. This means:
- Carrying it only when the lid is closed;
- Using a carrying case when moving between classes;
- Never having open drinks nearby while using the laptop;
- Identify the personal device with stickers, covers etc.
- Securely locking the device in the student’s locker or other locked storage area, or kept within sight when not in use. It must never be left unattended in open areas, even for a few minutes;
- In the event of any damage to school hardware at any time while it is in the student’s possession, the student agrees to inform their teacher or the
ICT department so that repairs can be performed;
- AAS is not responsible for theft, loss or damage of student owned IT equipment.
Monitored Use, Microproduct and FREE Wi-Fi
The student’s laptop will be considered a guest of the wifi network at AAS. The wireless network will be filtered by the AAS content filter when users are connected to the school’s wireless service. In cases where there are concerns that electronic communications systems are being used inappropriately, teachers or IT department staff may monitor student use. Similarly, student use of the school network is monitored on a regular basis. AAS-Sofia reserves the right to inspect school-issued computers and electronic media and to carry out appropriate disciplinary action in cases of student misconduct. AAS-Sofia does not take responsibility for personal media or information transmitted to a third party by a student of their own free will, nor does it take responsibility for any repercussions that may occur from said action (e.g. posting photos on a social networking website).
Google Apps and Other Student Accounts
In accordance with our technology vision our students may require accounts in third party account systems (such as Google Apps for Education which includes email, storage, calendar, etc). Many of these accounts will be used at school for school related projects but may also be accessed outside of school with their parent/guardian permission. The use of these accounts will help our students master effective and proper online communications and collaboration.
Be Prepared to Learn (BYOD Grades 6-12)
Being a good digital citizen and a responsible member of the AAS-Sofia community means students come to school prepared to learn by:
- Bringing their laptop to school each day, in operating condition, with sufficient storage available for school use, and with the battery fully charged, managing their battery use to ensure that they can get through the school day and participate fully;
- Backing up and managing the files on their device:
Making use of designated folder architecture in Google Docs and file naming protocols defined by the teacher;
- Computer use during recess and lunch will be limited to completing work in designated study areas;
- Computer use at school should be limited to installed or online programs that are directly connected to school-related activities;
- Recreational games, non-academic use of social networking sites or other activities that disrupt studies, peers or classes are strongly discouraged.
BYOD Minimum Requirements
Students in Grades 6-12 bring in their own devices
As we constantly strive to fulfill our mission here at AAS – to engage, support, and prepare each student for today and tomorrow – we are aware that technology must seamlessly be embedded into the fabric of the student learning experience. Students at AAS-Sofia in grades 6-12 bring their own laptops to school for use in their classes, particularly in Math, Science, Social Studies and Language Arts. With their own devices in hand and with guidance from their teachers, engaged students have taken ownership of their education and are forming critical skills needed for 21st Century success in learning and beyond.
Here are some reasons why personally owned devices work best:
- Students are usually experts with the device they have and customize it to their learning needs;
- Students can use it to learn anytime, anywhere;
- Students can collaborate with their peers after school, about their school work;
- Students develop skills for 21st Century success;
- Students in BYOD schools develop an understanding of and proficiency with a variety of devices, thus increasing their resiliency and critical thinking skills.
Minimum BYOD Requirements
iPads, iPods and other tablets have many uses in the class as well but laptops are required
PC, Mac, or Chromebook
This gives students the ability to choose their most comfortable environment
PC, Mac – with automatic updating
This is needed to protect the data on the laptop as well as the school network and other devices on the network.
supporting 802.11 b/g/n this is standard in all systems)
The ability to connect to the school’s wireless internet is vital for access to their cloud files, applications, websites, and online research
Current, English version of any operating system (iOS, Windows, Chrome OS)
This ensures the latest software and programs are compatible with the laptop and can be understood by student and teacher.
minimum 5 hours
The device will need to come fully charged to school and be able to last the whole day without plugging in. A 2nd battery can also be used.
Memory & Ram
8GB – PC or Mac/ 4GB – Chromebook
The device will need to store and process data quickly & effectively.
Camera & Microphone
This is to ensure students can participate in media-based activities.
11 inches or more
The screen should be large enough to avoid eye-strain when used throughout a school day
Other essential considerations
A sturdy cover surrounding the laptop to protect it from scratches and if it is dropped – a hard shell is preferable to a sleeve.
The laptop should be light enough to carry each day
Consider the device’s overall durability – are the keys sturdy? It should be expected to last at least 3 years.
Devices can become lost or broken. Make sure your policy covers these situations.
Consider purchasing a 3-year warranty with damage protection to reduce future repair costs.
- Earphones or Headset
- Laptop bag/backpack that can also carry other school items;
- Laptop cover to protect it;
- Identification stickers;
- Mouse (recommended but not required).
Recommendations for Parents
- Parents should take a photo and record the model and serial number of the laptop they purchase. This can be easily accomplished by taking a picture of the serial number as well as the sales receipt;
- Given that families own the laptops, treat them with the same care as with other valuable personal belongings;
- When students are using the laptop at home or at school for educational purposes, we encourage them to do one thing at a time. While having multiple programs open at the same time may facilitate learning, all open programs should serve the same purpose with respect to task focus and accomplishment. There is software available that can help students with this like: StayFocusD (a Google Chrome extension) and Focus (for Mac computers);
- At home, families should set up work routines within which family time, homework, play, and socializing take place at separate and distinct times;
- We encourage a work environment at home that promotes trust, responsibility and accountability. Given the safety and family values concerns of some internet content, we suggest student work station placement provide all family members a direct line of sight to their laptop monitor and there should be on-going family discussions about appropriate Internet use. We advise that student passwords be written in a safe place and that parents have access to passwords;
- We strongly recommend that students disable/turn off chat programs or other default communication programs while they are working on the laptops at home. At school, chat programs are used appropriately only as part of a class lesson. If used at home, chat program preferences should be set so that they are turned off during the school day.
Students who violate a rule under the Responsible Use Policy (RUP) will follow the same disciplinary actions and procedures of the Family Handbook with resulting consequences being appropriate to the rule violation. The goal is to ultimately turn mistakes into learning opportunities, as well as ensuring our community is a safe place to learn.