Student Data Privacy Debunking Data Security
The student data privacy laws can be daunting in and of themselves. Trying to navigate through them can be a nightmare. Administrators and teachers shouldn’t have to sift through books worth of data to research whether an app or website complies with the data security laws before deciding whether to implement them into their curriculum. Instead, they should be focusing on their students and whether the app or website will help them to get their students from where they are to the curriculum goal. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
I have come up with my own system to make the task of complying with student data privacy laws and data security simple. I want to share my method with you and, in doing so, make your job as simple as I can.
Read Before You Click!
This first step may seem like common sense, but it eludes many teachers. Most people in today’s world merely scan the Terms and Conditions, if they do that, before clicking “I Accept.” You cannot do that. You must read those terms and conditions thoroughly.
There are a few things you are looking for, specifically.
- Notice whether the app or website collects data from students under 13 years old. If they do, you must make those Terms and Conditions available to the parents to review.
- If the app or website collects the information of a student under the age of 13, notice whether the app or website sells that information. If they do, you must allow the parents to opt their children out of the technology.
- Lastly, you must learn whether social media is being utilized as a part of the website or app. If it is, you may be required to hold a public hearing concerning the app or website before its use.
If at any time you’re unsure of any terms or conditions that you find in an app or website, check with your supervisor! It’s always better to be safe than sorry!
Evaluate the Access
Next, there is a law that states that students must have equal access to all educational tools. You must ask yourself if all of your students have equal access to the app or website that you are hoping to use.
There is a lot to consider when asking yourself this question. It’s not just a matter of, “Will each student have a turn?”
- Do you have any students in your classroom that have special needs? Will they require modifications to the technology? Be sure to schedule any necessary special consultations with IEP teams to provide easy access to the technology.
- Do you have a “Bring Your Own Device” program? Do all of your students have their own devices? Are they all updated and able to access the app or website?
- Is there a homework component to the website or app? This would require the students to have equal access at home, which would require that they all have access to a necessary device and that they all have the ability to connect to the internet with no problem. You must remember that, even in this day of advanced technology, there are families that do not have the means to purchase the most up to date devices.
Obtain Parental Consent
Many school districts require teachers to obtain parental consent for students to use apps or websites, whether the app or website specifically says you must obtain that or not. You must be aware of your district’s rules. If a child’s data is being collected or sold, it’s likely that parental consent will be necessary anyway.
These are just a few key things to consider before using apps or websites for your students. Student data privacy and data security are no laughing matter.