Simple Ways to Balance Privacy and Security in K-12 Schools

Education Technology Insights | Monday, June 03, 2019

FREMONT, CA: As technology in recent times is ubiquitous, educators need to develop added precautions for student privacy laws in case of classroom technology integration. There exist a multitude of platforms suited to educational institutions and educators, making it challenging to stay abreast of protocols for disclosing personal information. To shed some light on the privacy and security in education, the National Cyber Security Alliance has offered guidelines on utilizing the technology that satisfies the prerequisites of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

•    Educators should take responsibility for student data privacy as the collected personal data is used in the student information systems, learning management systems and various other applications. These systems are mainly utilized for assisting students in understanding the lessons better and ensuring that teachers asses their needs pragmatically. Teachers need to know how the collected student data is being used and secured on technological platforms to avoid the violation of legal or ethical guidelines.

•    The initial move is to recognize student data and identify it as personal information collected by the institution, under the protection of FERPA. To adhere to the regulations, the schools must have a secure infrastructure to prevent cyber attacks. Some schools have also invested in next-gen endpoint systems as security measures.

•    By implementing a tool manager, which allows only secure applications to be utilized and carries out an assessment of technological tools for adequate data privacy. These approved websites or applications do not save or record data and abide by the privacy protection rules. Additionally, the schools must ensure control retention over the data the schools collect.

For educational institutions that are looking to adopt new technological tools, it is necessary to ensure the protection of student information. The most important task is to check whether the application allows parents to access student data in compliance with FERPA.

These considerations determine if the educational tool is aware and protective of student data while being educative too.

Technology is continually revolutionizing the education sphere, and schools are persuaded to adapt to technological as well as policy changes. With the conduction of proper research and the best judgment from the part of educators and parents will ensure the protection of student’s privacy.

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