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Advocating for Student Privacy

May 22, 2017

#FutureReadyLibs #blogchallenge 

 

In a world where children have Digital Footprints before they are born, but are then judged by this footprint when they go to seek employment, apply for scholarships, even just making new friends....we as #FutureReadyLibrarians need to advocate not only that THEY safeguard their privacy and data but that their school does the same thing.  This is one of those #kidsdeserveit principals that we, as Future Ready Librarians, must advocate for.

 

Now this is easier said than done.  One librarian suggested simply turning off the feature in their circulation software that shows what students have checked out.  While this is an option, not all software comes with a simple on/off button or an opt out choice.  First it is important to ask yourself:

  • What  student privacy policies are currently in place in your district?

  • Is everyone in the district current on those policies?  Are the policies themselves current?

Then you can go on to determine if there are opportunities for you to provide leadership in building a broader understanding and awareness of these policies. This applies to those schools that only have a few (or 1) device and those who are blessed to have more.  It applies to all because the software and apps that we are using with our students effects student privacy.  Think about your favorite programs and apps.  Some of our favorites are Google, See-Saw, Adobe Spark and more; but do you know what these programs are doing with the student (and parent) data that YOU are giving them access to?  How are these programs, and in effect we as educators, affecting these students' digital footprints?  More importantly, are we protecting our learners' privacy and data?  The New York Times wrote about this topic, citing Class DoJo as its example (NY Times Article and the Class DoJo response).  They note that teachers don't always read the terms of agreement, and don't always use software that is vetted by administration........ may be true at many schools.  Is it true in yours?  That is where we, as technology leaders, need to step in.  We need to be aware of the best, and worst, software programs for our students and staff.  Dig deeper, read the terms of agreement, ask questions, suggest alternatives when software is not in the best interests of our students and advocate for your students.  You want to ensure that your library and school utilizes digital tools to support and promote equitable access to information and resources.  

 

Read more about this topic in AASL's Knowledge Quest publication
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© 2015 Susan Hefley.

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