Technology at Singapore American School

At SAS, we constantly look through the lens of how technology can enhance learning and make it more personalized, collaborative, and relevant.

In each division, world-class educational technology coaches guide teachers, work with students, run digital citizen boot camps, host informational parent coffees, team up with our counselors, advise on digital media, and lead the way in creative approaches to teaching and learning that leverage and maximize the use of technology. Digital citizenship is woven into the curriculum at each grade and collaboratively taught by counselors, ed tech coaches, and teachers.

All middle school students attend a boot camp where they are provided with a school-issued laptop. They attend training sessions on how to use technology responsibly and safely and how to harness the power of technology to support their learning. Technology tools offer a myriad of ways to communicate with teachers and other students – whether it’s instant feedback on work, new ways to present projects, or publishing to the world through their blogs.

The SAS Vision for Technology

Technology serves as a dynamic tool for learning that optimizes productivity, connectivity, collaboration, and creativity.

When technology is integrated into the teaching environment in meaningful and purposeful ways, the following learning opportunities will be created:

  • Enhanced engagement and achievement in all academic and core subject areas
  • Increased connection of core subject and curricular areas to real world opportunity and experiences
  • Increased opportunities for students and teachers to collaborate and communicate with other students, educators, and experts from around the globe
  • Encourage and promote creativity and innovation by integrating digital tools
  • Promotes a variety of forms of expression that utilize digital tools and platforms best suited to individual learning styles

Therefore, students will demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways including:

  • Collaborating and creating documents, spreadsheets, maps, presentations, and websites using Google Apps for Education
  • Developing an authentic electronic platform portfolio in the form of a blog that supports reflective learners and showcases growth and learning
  • Creating unique and dynamic multimedia projects such as movies, slideshows, and music
  • Connecting and collaborating with other student within and outside of SAS using educational social networking
  • Publishing their creative works online

We encourage students to publish both in-process and completed works in a variety of online spaces in order to build a positive digital presence. By sharing their works online, students will practice good digital citizenship and develop an increased understanding of responsible online behavior. Presenting their work online at local and global levels provides a real audience from whom they can continue to grow and learn.

Important to our 1:1 program is that it remains viable, relevant, and flexible. We are fully expecting the programs and structures to evolve over time as technologies and needs continually change. Students and teachers will be involved in evaluating new tools and their effectiveness toward our learning goals and school vision. SAS will continue to support innovative and creative uses of technology for teaching and learning.

Middle School 1:1 Laptop Program

Why 1:1 Laptops? Why now?

SAS is committed to creating and embracing a 21st century approach to teaching and learning and providing all students with 21st century learning experiences, environment, resources, and skills. An essential element in supporting this direction is adequate access to technology resources. 1:1 laptop programs are the norm in international schools and have proven to be successful in developing 21st century skills, attitudes, aptitudes and behaviors and in creating an institutional culture of learning, creativity, and innovation.

Why has the school selected Apple devices for the Middle School 1:1 Program?

Apple Computers have been committed to supporting public and private education for several decades. As such, their products and solutions provide an “ecosystem” that is widely known for its ease of use, reliability, innovation, and creativity. The emergence of iPads as a powerful learning tool for schools has furthered Apple’s presence and commitment to education. The consistency of design, functionality, and user experience from Apple’s operating systems, iOS and Mac OS, simplify use for users of all ages and experiences. These characteristics are ideal for educational settings and support our vision for educational technology. All of these factors led to the decision of choosing Apple as the single platform for SAS.

Download the 1:1 iPad Program Handbook

Singapore American School Digital Citizenship Agreement

Singapore American School believes technology serves as a dynamic tool for learning by optimizing productivity, connectivity, collaboration, and creativity.

Our goal in providing internet access and digital devices to students is to promote educational excellence by facilitating innovation, communication, and collaboration. In order to meet our goal, users are expected to abide by and model the accepted Digital Citizenship Agreement, which includes but is not limited to:

RESPECT YOURSELF

PROTECT YOURSELF

I will show respect for myself through my actions. I will select online names that are appropriate. I will consider the information and images that I post online to build a positive digital footprint.

I will not publish my personal details, contact details or a schedule of my activities. I will protect passwords, accounts and resources. I will find a healthy balance between online and offline activity.

RESPECT OTHERS

PROTECT OTHERS

I will show respect to others. I will show respect for other people in my choice of websites, I will not visit inappropriate sites.

I will protect others by not forwarding inappropriate materials or communications and not visiting inappropriate sites. I will protect others by reporting abuse.

RESPECT INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

PROTECT INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

I will respect copyright rules and follow fair use guidelines.

I will protect property of others by following fair use guidelines.

RESPECT PROPERTY

PROTECT PROPERTY

I will respect and properly care for the iPad issued to me. I will respect and properly use any SAS iPad or other device.

I will follow the SAS core values so that I am prepared to learn everyday.

If the Digital Citizenship Agreement is not followed, and disciplinary actions are necessary, the process will follow the standard procedures outlined in the divisional student handbook.

This Agreement was adapted from the Digital Citizen AUA and is licensed by Singapore American School under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 Generic License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5/.

Guidelines and Agreements

The Institute of Global Ethics has identified five values (compassion, honesty, fairness, responsibility, and respect) as recognized core values throughout the world. The five core values are the basis for SAS's approach to character education and serves as the foundation for all relationships among students, faculty, staff, administrators, and parents.

Being a Responsible User

Responsible use with regards to technology is expected for all of our users. Digital citizenship and responsible use are modeled and taught whenever appropriate. Students are expected to be responsible members of the community and act in a manner consistent with the core values while in a digital environment (no matter the device).

Keeping Health and Balance in Mind

The 1:1 Laptop program is meant to be a positive, enriching tool to enhance learning and creativity. However, technology can sometimes have a disruptive effect on a person's behavior and well-being. Proper usage of technology should never cause emotional or physical pain. While technology can be an engaging way to spend time, over-use is possible. If device use interferes with school work completion or real-life personal interactions, it is time to re-balance usage.

Health and Laptops

Below are some tips to keep in mind mind when using a laptop for extended periods of time. In general, you should be comfortable and avoid being in the same position without moving for a long time.

  • Sit up straight with your lower back supported. Do not hunch your back.
  • Use your laptop on a stable surface where there is support for your arms, and not on your lap.
  • Take regular breaks and roll your neck, wrists and ankles or walk around.
  • Look away from the screen every 20 minutes and focus on an object at least 20 feet (6 meters) away for at least 20 seconds.
  • Keep arms and elbows relaxed and close to your body.
  • Elbows should be bent at 90-100 degrees.
  • Keep wrist straight

Digital Citizenship Agreement

Responsible citizenship means practicing good ethical behavior and adhering to the SAS core values whether online or offline. Students are encouraged to model good digital citizenship by making sure their actions and choices do no disrupt the learning environment for themselves or others. In order to participate in the SAS online community, students agree to the SAS Digital Citizenship Agreement which outlines common expectations and serves to guide student use and behavior.

SAS Laptop Use Guidelines

Students are responsible for the proper care and maintenance of school-owned devices. This includes leaving school-defined settings and software as installed, and not voiding the warranty by disassembling the laptops or taking it to a non-authorized service center for service.

Students should also take careful steps to protect their laptops from damage or theft. When not in use, the laptop must be securely stored within the classroom and must never be left unattended in open areas.

Laptop Acceptance

Prior to receiving a laptop, parents or guardians must agree to and sign the Laptop Acceptance form.

Software

The school will provide basic licensed software for all 1:1 Laptop Program computers, including Microsoft Office. Additional software may be subsequently installed for specific course requirements. Students will be requested to install updates as needed throughout the year. You can add licensed software to your computer as long as it does not interfere with the software updates and software necessary for educational purposes.

Returning Your Laptop

Upon the completion of grade 8, students will be required to return the laptop, case and power cord to SAS. At the end of grade 8, SAS may offer the opportunity for families to purchase the laptop. Students leaving SAS before the end of grade 8 will not have the opportunity to purchase their laptops.

Collection and Inspection by School

SAS reserves the right to collect and examine school-issued laptops at any time for the purpose of assuring compliance with school rules and guidelines. The school may also monitor laptop and Internet use at school to ensure compliance. Laptops may be restored to factory settings if found not to be in compliance.

Computer Account Ownership

Laptops are distributed with an ITAdmin account and a generic student account, and with some software pre-installed. The generic student account is an admin account with full rights for managing the laptop.

Parental Controls

The best parent control involves the low tech approach of on-going conversations between parents and students around “acceptable use” and “boundary-setting.” The Apple operating system does come with parent control settings that can disable or limit certain functions, however they require that the parent hold the administrative password. We strongly encourage parents to engage in conversations about acceptable use thereby saving parent control functionality only as an intervention if it proves necessary. In the event that parent controls are needed as an intervention, it is best to seek consultation with your child’s middle school counselor so that home and school can partner with low tech approaches as well.

Being Prepared to Learn

Students that are part of the 1:1 Laptop Program must bring their computer to school each day:

  • In the school assigned carrying case.
  • With the battery fully charged.
  • With headphones or earbuds.

In addition, to ensure smooth operation of their computers, it is expected that students:

  • Employ careful battery management techniques to ensure that they can get through the school day and participate fully.
  • Care for and transport their laptop responsibly.
  • Regularly perform software updates.
  • Regularly restart their laptop.
  • Regularly backup their files.
  • Organize and manage files to ensure adequate free space on the hard disk.

Security

Students are responsible for the security of their laptops at all times. Laptop should never be left unattended or taken into environments that may prove harmful.

Passwords

A strong password is important because any individual password that is compromised can have adverse consequences. We encourage using the same password for all school accounts. Students are responsible for remembering their own passwords. Student passwords will be shared with parents at the beginning of the school year for safety and monitoring purposes.

Connecting to the Internet From Home

Students in grades four and five are able to connect their iPad to a home wireless network. If you are having trouble connecting your school-owned iPad to your home wireless network, you will need to contact your internet service provider for assistance.

Laptop Care

It is generally expected that a laptop will be functional for three to four years if treated well. Students are expected to have their laptops in full-functioning order for every class every day at SAS. For this reason, it is vital that they exercise care at all times to keep their laptops functioning properly. There are several fundamental ways to retain the functionality of the laptop.

  • Use the school-provided laptop case
  • Always carry your laptop safely
  • Keep laptops away from liquids and food
  • Avoid overcrowding your laptop in your backpack or locker
  • Store your laptop in your locker safely
  • Place your laptop on a safe surface
  • Keep your laptop clean
  • Avoid heat and humidity
  • Be gentle with your laptop

Rules and Boundaries

While at school, students are only allowed to use their laptops in supervised areas such as classrooms. Outside of class time, students can use their laptops in the library. Students may not use their laptops in unsupervised areas such as hallways, staircases, squishy courts, etc. Other restrictions include:

  • The cafeteria is a no-laptop zone
  • The school is a headphones-only zone
  • The school is a no-charger zone
  • Peer-to-peer (P2P) and torrenting softwares are not allowed
  • Formatting of computer name
  • Always-on laptop cases

Online Sharing Guidelines

We encourage students to publish both in-process and completed work in a variety of online spaces in order to build a positive digital presence and develop a deeper understanding of how they can collaborate, create, share and communicate online. By sharing their work online, students will practice good digital citizenship and develop an increased understanding of responsible online behavior. Presenting their work online at local and global levels provides them a real audience from whom they can continue to grow and learn.

Publishing student work online is a key component of the 1:1 Laptop program. All students should be aware that once information is on the Internet, there is nothing to stop it from being replicated, shared and distributed widely without your control, both now and into the future. Additionally, it is important that students know there are certain pieces of information that should never be shared, such as passwords and private information. By following the SAS Online Sharing Guidelines that follow, students will be sure to be operating in a safe and responsible way.

  • When you share and comment on work online, you are expected to demonstrate the five “core values” of SAS (Compassion, Honesty, Fairness, Responsibility, Respect) in everything you do offline and online by following the guidelines below. Since what you post online is permanent, use the questions in italics to help you decide what is appropriate before you publish.
  • Think before you post. Ask yourself: Is this something I want everyone to see? Would sharing this offend, surprise or shock anyone? Would I want this graded for proper grammar and spelling?
  • Treat other people the way you want to be treated. Ask yourself: Would I say this to someone’s face? Would I want someone to say this to me?
  • Do not share personal information such as last name, address, phone number or email address. Ask yourself: Could someone find me or someone else (in real life) based on this information?
  • Anytime you use media from another source, be sure you have permission and properly cite the creator of the original work. Ask yourself: Who is the original creator of this work? Do I have permission to use this work?

Commenting Guidelines

Commenting on other people’s online work is just as important as posting your own work. It is your responsibility to moderate comments on things you post. Please report anything inappropriate or disrespectful to your teacher.

Homework Communication

All middle school teachers post homework in a Google Calendar that students can subscribe to. Once subscribed, students can view homework from all classes inside their own Google Calendar. It is the students’ responsibility to access the most up to date information posted by teachers by regularly checking Google Calendar. Additionally, it is the student’s responsibility to create a personalized task list to help organize their work.

Productivity

Your laptop is an excellent tool to help you stay organized and get things done efficiently. Here are some suggestions to get you started:

  • Subscribe to each of your teacher’s Google Calendar so you have all of your assignments and homework in one place.
  • Use the “task” functionality in Google Calendar to make to-do lists that you can check-off when completed.
  • Create events for deadlines and due dates in your Google Calendar with reminders
  • Add automatic reminders to your events so that you can be reminded through an alert on your phone, browser, or email.
  • Use Google Apps when possible to create docs, spreadsheets and presentations so that you can access them from anywhere. Bonus: They are automatically backed up!
  • Both in Google Drive and on your Mac, use clearly labeled files and folders.
  • Eject peripherals such as thumb drives, cameras or DVDs when not in use.
  • Optimize your battery settings in Energy Saver Preferences.

Backing Up and Recovering Files

Losing ones files, assignments or other data is a terrible thing to experience. It is important for each one of us to have a backup strategy to prevent data loss and the pain that comes with it.

Using online spaces such as Google Drive, your blog, and YouTube for storing most of your school work is one way to protect against data loss. However, we strongly recommend that you regularly back-up all of the files on your laptop so that things such photos, videos and other projects are safely stored on your laptop and in another place. An easy way to do this is to purchase an external hard drive and use Apple’s built-in Time Machine software. You can set Time Machine to backup your files automatically every time you plug in your external hard drive to your Macbook.

Email Guidelines

Student email use at SAS should be be appropriate and targeted.

Appropriate

At SAS, we expect our students behavior to reflect the core values and be consistent with general agreements outlined in our Digital Citizenship Agreement.

Targeted

Students should send email only from their school email account for school purposes.

Elementary B students will be issued a SAS Google apps accounts, which includes a school Gmail account for email. School email accounts will also allow students to engage in dynamic learning experiences using web 2.0 learning tools that extend learning beyond the classroom.

At the beginning of grade three, students participate in digital citizenship lessons to learn how to use email to communicate in appropriate ways. We believe in teaching students the necessary technical skills in conjunction with increasing their awareness of digital citizenship. It is only then that students are informed of their email address and password and instructed on how to log onto their email account.

Parents are also provided with their child’s email address and password. It is appropriate, at the elementary level, for teachers and parents have access to student email accounts. Teachers will not use the passwords to ‘spy’ on the students, but rather as a tool for monitoring and safety purposes.

Keyboarding Skills

Typing speed should not hinder the writing process but should optimize productivity and communication. While keyboarding is not taught directly in any ES courses, students will have many opportunities to practice as it is an important input device for writing. It is expected that students, in upper elementary, whose typing speed is impacting their productivity make time to practice at home to improve speed and accuracy. A variety of web based and Google Chrome apps are available to practice and improve typing speed.

Suggested Resources

  • To test your typing speed, take a three minute typing test on typingtest.com
  • For grade five we subscribe to Typingtraining.com
  • For grades three and four we recommend and use TypingWeb.com

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of laptops are the students issued with?

Students will receive a 13-inch Apple MacBook. A carrying case will be provided.

What software will be included with the laptop?

A variety of education and productivity software will be provided to complement our Google Apps suite of online tools. Additional software may be subsequently installed for specific course requirements.

Will the student be able to type in different languages?

While the Mac OS will remain in English, students will be able to type in most of the world’s languages including Mandarin Chinese, Korean, Japanese, French, and Spanish.

What accessories come with the laptop?

The laptop will be issued with a standard MacBook power supply as well as a school-provided carrying case. The laptop must remain in the case at all times. Families are welcome to purchase additional accessories for home use (i.e., external backup drive, headphones).

What if I want to purchase my own laptop case?

We require students to use a school issued laptop case. We will supply each student with an “always-on” laptop case that is specifically designed to fit the macbook. It is mandatory that this case stay on the laptop at all times. The laptop cases are custom-designed for SAS students by the XSProject Foundation based in Jakarta, Indonesia. XSProject makes creative use of items usually discarded, and is a nonprofit foundation with which SAS has been involved since 2004. These laptop cases are made from cushioned fabric that was originally used to cover new car seats for shipping. The vinyl material comes from advertising banners and it provides a durable and unique covering material. Funds from the sales of XSProject support the education of children of the trash-pickers involved in the collection of waste materials. Further information about the XSProject can be found here.

Can students personalize their laptops?

No stickers or other personalization will be allowed on the laptop itself. The school will have a bar-code on the laptop for inventory control. However, students may personalize their carrying case.

What if the laptop needs repair?

If there is a problem, immediately take your laptop to the Middle School Tech Help Center. We will arrange to have the laptop inspected by our on-campus Apple Certified Technician. If the technician determines that the issue is under warranty, we will proceed. If, however the issue is not under warranty we will contact the parent and begin to process an insurance claim. A backup laptop will be provided for students to use during the repair process.

Is the laptop under warranty?

Yes. All laptops come with a 3-year Apple Protection Plan which covers mechanical failure and manufacturer defects.

Is the iPad insured?

Yes. The iPad is owned by SAS, and insurance has been purchased for the iPad.

Can I buy insurance for the laptop?

The laptop is owned by SAS and insurance has already been purchased for it. You may wish to see if your personal insurance will cover the deductible or losses not covered by the insurance provided by the school.

What if the laptop is accidentally damaged?

If the laptop is accidentally damaged, the family will be responsible for paying $200 toward the insurance deductible for the first incident. For the second incident, families will pay half the repair or replacement cost, or $200, whichever is more. For the third and subsequent incident, families will be responsible for the full cost of repair or replacement.

What if the laptop is stolen?

If the laptop is stolen, the school insurance will cover up to $2,000 for replacement after a $200 deductible. Families will be required to submit a police report in order to make an insurance claim.

What if my child loses the laptop?

If a laptop is lost, the family will be responsible for paying $1,000 toward the cost of a new laptop. If the laptop is lost a second time, the family will be responsible for the full replacement cost of the laptop. If a student loses any of the accessories such as the power supply or the case that comes with the laptop, the family will be responsible for 100% of the replacement cost of those items.

What about theft or loss on campus?

When you are not using your laptop, you are responsible for keeping it locked in your locker. It should not be left unattended in a classroom, the library or other open area. If a laptop is left unattended and then goes missing, it is considered lost, not stolen.

What if I drop my laptop or spill water on the keyboard by accident?

When you damage your laptop accidentally the Apple warranty does NOT cover the costs to repair the computer. You will be responsible for contributing SGD $200 towards the cost of repair or replacement (in accordance with our insurance policy).

What if the laptop needs to be repaired and it is a school holiday?

Incidents that occur during a weekend or a school holiday in Singapore should follow the same process that is in place for when school is in session or on the next business day that SAS is operating. Incidents that require insurance claims that occur outside of Singapore will need to be completed upon return to Singapore and processed at SAS. For incidents involving theft, a local police report should be filed wherever the incident occurred. The police report is required for insurance claims.

Who will determine whether damage is accidental or covered under warranty?

The on-site SAS Apple Technician will will make the determination regarding warranty coverage.

How will the laptop connect to the Internet at home?

Laptops can be easily configured to access the Internet by connecting to your home wireless network.

Will students be able to put additional software on the laptop?

Students will have administrative rights on their laptops. This will provide them with the flexibility to set the laptop up to their specific needs, the ability to install applications and manage updates, and the responsibility to independently handle the day-to-day management of the laptop. Installation of software must comply with our Digital Citizenship Agreement. The school reserves the right to check a student’s laptop—and any network enabled device—at any time to confirm that it is in compliance with this policy.

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