Why is the Chromebook the best device?

    The Chromebook was selected by a committee of students, teachers, and parents based on instructional needs. Windows, Apple, and Chrome devices were reviewed.  While all devices evaluated had unique features, the Chromebook was selected because it met the identified criteria at a lower price point versus higher price point devices. The Chromebook offers the tools necessary to assist learning without distracting students with additional features.


    Will students take the device home?

    Yes, MBJH students have access to the devices at home and at school.  Students are issued a Chromebook the first week back in school.  


    How do MBJH teachers use Chromebooks for learning?

    Chromebooks have been available to teachers and students at MBJH for several years.  During this time, our faculty has become well-versed in using the devices for instructional purposes.  Our instructional technology view is that devices are tools to help guide learning.  Devices do not replace teachers and/or student interaction, but instead enhance learning opportunities.  Though MBJH does not believe students should be on devices too often, teachers have become skilled in leveraging online resources to maximize student learning and overall experience.


    Will the Chromebooks be returned in May for the summer?

    Typically the answer is no. MBJH students are generally responsible for their Chromebook over the summer. From time to time we may collect Chromebooks and send them off to be professionally cleaned and repaired; however, that does not occur every summer.  9th grade students promoted to the 10th grade will turn in their Chromebooks and chargers and be assigned a new one at the high school when they begin their 10th grade year.  


    What if I have my own device? Can I bring it to school?

    Students should use their school-assigned Chromebook since the Technology Bundle is in place to enhance instruction and learning.  Personal devices should be kept in student lockers during the school day.


    What if the device breaks?

    When a device has an issue or breaks, students should should bring the device to the Tech Hub.  The staff will trouble-shoot the problem, and if it cannot be solved, the student will be issued a loaner device until the other is fixed and returned. 


    What if I lose my assigned Chromebook, or charger?

    Students should contact the local school technology coordinator.  The tech coordinator will help the student with the process of replacing the device.  Chargers are also the student's responsibility.


    What if I leave my device at home?

    Students are expected to bring the device (fully charged) to school each day as they would other school supplies.  Due to a limited number of devices, daily loaners are not provided.


    Is this optional?

    The Technology Bundle is a part of the required technology fee paid by each student at registration each year. The technology bundle consists of a companion device (Dell touchscreen Chromebook), technology support and repairs, filtering, management, secure Wi-Fi access, and software (Google Apps for Education and Microsoft 365).


    What applications are available?

    A Chromebook is a lightweight device designed to provide fast access to online resources as well as the capability to work offline. Students will be able to access most Internet-based resources for curriculum purposes. Production tools will include Google Apps for Education and Office 365, which both offer calendars for organization, word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, and audio and video capabilities. Chrome is the main web browser and provides access to many applications for the classroom.

    How will students learn to use the Chromebook?

    Training is provided the first week of school during class. Short videos and how-to information are available on our website.

    What type of filtering is done through the school system?

    Content that is shared through student email and saved in the cloud is filtered for inappropriate and/or questionable content in an effort to keep our students safe. In the event that inappropriate content is found, the student will receive a warning email.  If deemed appropriate to elevate the issue, the incident will be reported to the school and school officials will follow typical protocols to keep students safe or correct any inappropriate behavior.  

    Furthermore, MBJH teachers are trained in Hapara, a program designed to monitor student use during instruction.

    What does MBS use for filtering?

    Mountain Brook Schools (MBS) uses the iBoss Secure Web Gateway appliance and cloud solution for web content filtering.  This system is designed to deny access to malicious or inappropriate websites and services, while still delivering appropriate content in a timely manner.  The system is continually updated via a subscription service with iBoss Corporation, and is controlled through a combination of automated updates, hands-on configuration and scheduled firmware maintenance.


    What is filtered?

    Any electronic device, MBS-owned or personal, accessing the Internet via MBS wired or wireless networks, is subject to the iBoss system’s scrutiny.  Furthermore, MBS-assigned student Chromebooks are controlled by the iBoss system regardless of their location or Internet connection.  For example, when using their MBS Chromebook, if a website is blocked for the student at school, that same website will be blocked for that student at home, at the coffee shop, or anywhere else they access the Internet.

    Additionally, it is important to realize the cat-and-mouse nature of web content filtering.  While no system is 100% perfect, MBS uses iBoss because we feel it is the best system to protect our students and ensure that our technology is used appropriately.  For every step taken to block malicious or inappropriate content, there are people out there attempting to circumvent these measures.


    How does the filtering work?

    Filtering in the iBoss system is largely maintained categorically.  For example, “Alcohol and Tobacco” and “Business” are just two of the many categories of websites.  Our subscription service provides continuous updates to these categories, which helps ensure that a brand-new website is correctly categorized.  In this example, since we block “Alcohol and Tobacco” websites, a new cigarette company website would be blocked.  Using the same example, a new start-up business selling cookie tins would not be blocked, as it would be in the “Business” category.  If you are wondering about companies that fall into multiple categories, that happens too; and through Boolean algebra and prioritization, the good sites are let through while the bad sites are blocked.  Beyond categories, MBS utilizes additional iBoss features such as BlockLists, AllowLists, Keywords, Protocols and Ports to customize the system to meet the needs of our students.


    What do students see when a site is filtered?

    When a website or service is blocked, the student will usually experience one of these *four things:

    1. A screen that clearly indicates their desired site has been blocked.
    2. A blank white screen.
    3. An error such as “INVALID RESPONSE” or “PAGE CANNOT LOAD”
    4. Their service will not work (such as a game being unable to connect to the game server.)

    * What happens is determined by how the website, service or webserver was setup.

    What textbooks are available online?

    We have many online resources used in our classes. Student textbooks are all housed within their ClassLink.


    What is ClassLink?

    ClassLink is a single sign-on platform that houses all student resources.


    Can students check their grades using the Chromebook?

    Of course!  Students have access to PowerSchool through their ClassLink login and are able to check grades, attendance, class schedules, etc.


    Can students decorate their Chromebooks with stickers?

    Even though that would be fun, students are not allowed to place stickers or other decorations directly on the Chromebook.  Students may purchase a cover for their device and then place stickers/decorations on their personal cover.  The stickers/decorations should of course be school appropriate.