4 responses to “Privacy: protecting your students”

  1. Thomas

    Do you know if Google Classroom meets the standard set by government in BC?

    1. yvonne dawydiak

      Hi Thomas, that’s a very good question that doesn’t have a clear ‘yes’ or ‘no’ I’m afraid. Each BC School District is still responsible for protecting student personal information/data. Since Google Classroom requires student data (emails, names), it should only be used where it is recommended as appropriate by your district. In some districts, Google Classroom is used widely and/or OK’d and they’ve gone through a privacy process and likley have parent permission forms. In others, it is still a ‘no go’. While the Ministry guidelines ‘soften’, or some might say weaken, FIPPA, it doesn’t remove the expectation that districts do their due diligence and privacy reviews. Where particular software/tools do not require students to provide personal info (or teachers to provide on their behalf) – i.e. cloud based tools that don’t require sign up and where you help students understand how to protect their privacy or apps that are downloaded on district devices – then just checking at the school level (library media specialist or IT contact or Principal) should suffice and is also a good starting point with any implementation. Most, if not all, will have a permissions process for the use of any application requiring student data – in some districts, MS Teams is implemented district wide with accounts ‘automatically’ provisioned. MSoft has Canadian Data housing for Teams and some associated apps. Happy to discuss further – fire me an email or DM on Twitter @yvonnedtechtalk.

  2. Karen

    If I understand correctly, if a platform cannot guarantee the security of personal data (including photographs), then even consent would not be sufficient? Is the use of Facebook, Tik Tok and Instagram to post student photos from an elementary school school account not going against the FIPPA law, even if school boards ask for consent from the parents?

    1. yvonne dawydiak

      Hi Karen, I’m afraid I’m unable to provide ‘legal’ advice regarding privacy/FIPPA and have provided this post as an overview of available information. That said, you may be aware of the proposed changes to FIPPA (see this BC Gov press release for an overview). As I understand it, currently in BC, the sharing of student information requires individual districts/institutions to conduct privacy assessments (where they work with the privacy commissioner) when implementing new tools. Where data is not Canadian housed, this may still occur if a process is followed and appropriate consents are in place. With respect to teachers sharing photos of students on instagram, twitter etc, this is typically covered under a media release that is sent home in September at most schools… again, varies district by district or even school by school in some cases. As to what constitutes personal data, you might find this link to BC Gov of value. Please feel free to email if you want to chat further scarfe.sandbox@ubc.ca (in particular, if you are a UBC Teacher Candidate trying to make sense of how this impacts your teaching on practicum… please reach out)

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