Keep your posts rated G and do not friend students! This was the first idea that came to mind for maintaining my privacy, and it was concerning social media. I was warned years ago by my school system I could get in trouble for having pictures of myself at parties or being online friends with students. I realize now as I’m reading about privacy, this was also a protection issue – not just privacy.
The information my students and I are posting and sharing online could be considered sensitive and there are people in the world who might take advantage of the information for financial gain or other purposes. Just because this would never have occurred to me, that people are doing bad things with children’s data, doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be aware of the issue or relieved of my responsibility to protect my students in every way possible.
Specifically what I have done to maintain my students’ privacy is to not share details about them with non-stakeholders. I don’t post pictures of students and I won’t mention their names online. I am sure to shred sensitive documents and not place them in the trash or recycling. For my own privacy, I have passwords for accounts, I do not consent for anyone else to see my medical records, and I still don’t post pictures of myself at parties on FaceBook.
Last year, there was a rumor high school students had hacked into the school’s online grade book and changed grades. Assuming the rumor is true, I’m unsure how secure the sensitive information is; however, this type of rumor is the stuff movies are made of but should keep us aware of the potential issues. My school protects students’ privacy by having students use class codes to join and then use their passwords to enter websites the school has subscribed to. In addition, the school keeps its accounts password protected and we are careful when using online platforms. The students are aware of what behavior is expected of them online and we teach them how to be digitally responsible. When students are given their iPads at the beginning of the school year, there is a class discussion concerning expectations and appropriate behaviors online and the correct treatment of their technology.
As a reminder, a copy of the policy is placed inside the iPad case. Just like the students, an infographic is also placed inside the teachers’ iPad cases of our Acceptable Use and Digital Citizenship policy. We’re all doing our best to try to keep up with privacy issues and keeping our students safe.