Although my district has already made clear stipulations of FERPA, I find it sad that my own school district hasn’t been able to directly and explicitly train its staff on the other policies, CIPA and COPPA. I mentioned CIPA to my own school’s tech administrator the other day, for instance, and we weren’t able to have a dialogue about it. There’s been a lapse in communication about data privacy protection, and I think that’s due to the lack of urgency of our district leadership.
The sad part is that many teachers and administrators in our district truly are uninformed with respect to these developing privacy acts. My advice would be to first inform all district IT personnel and district leaders of these detailed privacy laws. After that, develop a plan for approaching all school leaders and teachers via workshops to discuss the importance of refraining from using unfiltered and high-risk apps that could possibly leak student data. For instance, hold tech fairs where programs such as “Today’s Meet” are explored, which is a safer, filtered version of Twitter. In addition, train teachers to participate in Leading Edge Certification, as well as Google Certified Educator programs. Through the exposure to such trainings, teachers and school/district leaders could explore the multitude of apps free to the general public, as well as those specifically designed for education.
Although many teachers and other staff are guilty of using such risky and unfiltered apps, the fact that the dangers haven’t been clearly communicated shouldn’t make the staff feel guilty. However, all personnel using such programs should immediately discontinue doing so and research all apps and Web 2.0 tools that meet compliance of SOPIPA and the other policies (FERPA, CIPA, COPPA).
Because Common Sense Media played a major role in designing and implementing SOPIPA, I think district and school leaders should also enact a curriculum model for all K-12 teachers to include in their teaching, maybe quarterly or tri-annually. This could be an Open Badge, for instance, that incorporates fun, interactive, free online resources provided by Common Sense Media. The alternative—continuing to ignore these privacy measures—is going to lead to continued data breaches and uninformed leaders, while Web 2.0 tools and other apps continue to be developed.
News Staff. (September 30, 2014). California enacts student data protection law. Government technology. Retrieved from: http://www.govtech.com/education/California-Enacts-Student-Data-Protection-Law.html