Responsible Use Policy
AAS-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. The primary goal of the technology environment (including internet access, mobile devices, computers, printers, etc.) is to support the educational and instructional endeavors of students at the school.
Since many devices can also be used for personal and recreational purposes, students must be aware of the expectations for the use of technology at school. In some cases, students’ behaviour is guided by clearly articulated expectations, but in other cases, they must make wise decisions about their own behaviour. This behaviour is dictated by a sense of good citizenship and as a responsible member of the AAS-Sofia community. Students should be aware that these expectations apply to any IT device used at AAS-Sofia, even mobile phones.
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, agitate, 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.
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
- treat those spaces as classroom spaces
- 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 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 IT 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 DeviceStudents 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 lock 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-Sofia is not responsible for theft, loss or damage of student owned IT equipment.
Respect School Provided Resources & Policies
Monitored Use, Misconduct, and Free Wifi
The student’s laptop will be considered a guest of the wifi network at AAS-Sofia. The wireless network will be filtered by the AAS-Sofia 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
Be Prepared to Learn (BYOD Students - Grades 6-12)
- 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.
Students who violate a rule under the RUP will follow the the same disciplinary actions and procedures of the AAS-Sofia 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.