6 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)

  3. Kathryn

    Hi there,

    Thanks for all this information! I am wondering if there is a list somewhere of digital platforms that are FIPPA approved in BC. I find that I keep trying to use digital platforms and then find out through my district that I am not allowed as it isn’t FIPPA approved.
    I would specifically be looking for something that students can use in the classroom. Programs such as Clip Champ, Canva, Book Creator etc.

    In a small school district I am reliant on digital technology as are hardware is not and will never be updated enough to continue to purchase and pay for new software.

    Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

    1. yvonne dawydiak

      Hi Kathryn, that is such a great question and one, I’m afraid, with a bit of a complex answer. I know as a busy teacher trying to effectively integrate digital technologies, a clear list and set of choices and guidelines would be optimal. First: currently what is approved variés district by district – each district is responsible for doing PIAs (privacy impact assessments) on the software they wish to make available to teachers. There’s variation there even in districts using MS Teams for example. In some districts, apps such as flip grid are approved for integration and in others, they aren’t.
      That said, many districts seem ok with T’s using a variety of cloud based applications as long as students do not need to input any personal info or set up accounts.
      I’d suggest reaching out to you teacher librarian and/district lead for digital tech (things you’ve likely done) for approved apps and/or process to request the district consider applications you want to use.
      Lastly for now, I understand the Ministry of Ed is in the process of developing a provincial strategy for digital tech. Haven’t seen any details yet but will definitely share when I do. All the best and thanks for sharing. Yvonne

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