Course 2 Week 3 Finding the Balance

“Personal information is the new currency of the digital world” (Kuneva, 2009). 

The modern digital world sets the rules, and people follow them. In order to survive in the new society, we share our personal information with authorities and different companies and presume they will comply with all applicable privacy and data protection laws. The honest companies are collecting and analyzing their customers’ personal information to improve the marketing of their products and services. But we need to be aware that our personal information can be stolen and misused.  

Source: Gimnazia-Zern,Bezopasnosti (Internet Safety)
http://gimnazia-zern.ru/images/internet-bezopasnosti/Morozova/zahvat.png

I had a lot of thinking when I was reading the recommended resources. 

WHAT IS PRIVACY? 

According to this guide Educator Toolkit for Teacher and Student Privacy,  “privacy refers to the ability to protect one’s own personal information and control with whom and how the information is shared. It matters because even if you’re not doing anything illegal or feel you have nothing to hide, the standards and norms by which judgments are made about behavior that’s “right” versus “wrong” today could easily change tomorrow.” 

I am always trying to divide my personal life from the job. I am using different social media for different purposes; for example, my Facebook is only for communication with my close friends; I opened an Instagram account – for work.

Lately, in Russia, there were a few scandals – parents saw the teachers’ photos in Social media and demanded to fire these teachers because parents started questioning the teachers’ morality and used the photos as the relevant evidence. 

What policies does my school have in place to protect student privacy?

As for the privacy of students, I use the Apps that the school buys or recommends to use. I do not post my students’ videos or photos on Social media. We are using Seesaw as an electronic portfolio in elementary school. This program has been vetted by school admin and Elementary Tech Integrationist. And even in Seesaw, I try to protect my students – the parents can see and comment only on their own kids’ work (videos, photos, presentations).

I realized how important to understand our responsibilities for student privacy as educators when we are using online resources. We have to read agreements or terms of service. It should say what data is going to be collected, and how it will be used, how long the agreement will last, and how it can be modified.

A lot of apps use a licensing model, “Click-wrap.” You can sign up by clicking a button or a checkbox to accept the terms of service. It can bring some problems. Many free apps require the term of service (a long text filled in with complicated language). Pressing the button accept, we signed the contract. Before the signing of a free app, we need to talk to IT administrators and/or check the school policy. They will help to review the app and the terms of service to ensure that it won’t affect student privacy. We need to print and save a copy of the terms of service for the records. 

Technology in the classroom can improve education, but we should be mindful of the risks they can bring.

I wrote the steps that I should do in order to protect my students’ privacy:

  1. Check the school policy of reviewing the new apps and online programs. Or ask a tech leader.
  2. If it is not approved, ask for approval or find the approved alternatives.
  3.  Check the app using Common Sense’s Privacy Evaluation
  4. Check the terms of service by myself using “Protecting Students Privacy While using Online Educational Services: Model Terms of Service”. I need to pay attention to the following elements: -the privacy elements and privacy policy (it can be found in the sign-up process or on the footer of the app’s website);

– safety consideration (students should not be able to interact with strangers, the interactions should be monitored or moderated by the vendor, is it possible to disable the feature that allows sharing personal information).

One Reply to “Course 2 Week 3 Finding the Balance”

  1. Hi Katya,

    Thanks for the interesting recount of your school’s procedures. It sounds like a pretty good system. I wonder if all teachers go through that though, or do some still use sites/apps of their own? Are all apps that teachers ask for vetted? I would wonder that of most schools I have worked for.

    I also find it interesting about teacher’s personas online. I find this often comes up in different ways and to an extent they just need to remember we are humans. Our privacy settings should be strict, and of course be careful about what we say in public online settings. My photo was once taken from the school’s website that I worked for at the time and misused. So anything can happen!

    As I said in my post about this week, I also often think about Jennifer Casa-Todd’s book Social LEADia (https://www.socialleadia.org), where she praises the good and amazing things students do online. If all of their passions and community involvement were hidden, what message does that send? Shouldn’t we be pushing to promote them having their names and photos on these great ideas?

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