In late August, I returned to school to face quite the surprise. After years of helping to manage our school’s technology, I was told that tech support, at division office, had taken all of our school’s iPads, wiped them clean, and taken control over what applications we could have installed on then.
Wow … heavy handed right? My frustration began to escalate as I turned on and swiped through a homepage stripped bare of just about any application I would like to use in the classroom or in my role supporting students.
Being a new addition to my school’s staff at Arcola, I was not immediately brought in the loop as to why this had been done. But the rationale came out at our first staff meeting.
In order to stop schools from installing apps that might potentially compromise the privacy and confidentiality of our students, the district has taken control of our ipads. They’ve assessed which apps have policy agreements that comply with our own requirements, and put them on for us.
Why? Why are all the apps I love, and know to be sound pedagogically, suddenly non-compliant?
I am not yet sure exactly where this project is going to take me. But I would like to look into the general topic of student privacy, with a focus on Regina/SK. These are some tasks, statements and questions that are guiding me as I embark on the project:
- I will investigate, through reaching out to relevant personnel with Regina Public Schools, how the decision was made.
- How are individual applications assessed? What is looked for in user or license agreements?
- What does non-compliance look like? What could be done with our data? Worst case scenario?
- Seesaw: How was this application assessed to be compliant? Was there a negotiation (this app was originally not allowed on ipads, and was changed early on this school year)
- What are we going to do with Google? It is so entrenched and prevalent in our practice…
- Based on my communication with personnel with our district, I will look into a few more applications and evaluate their license agreements.
- I will look at relevant legislation that is guiding our current course of action.
- What is the impact of our interpretation of LAFOIP? Is this what was intended?
I am not sure this sheds much light on how my project will look, but I find this topic very interesting. This speaks to me personally, as my own preconceptions towards social media, and online activity in general, tend to veer towards the dark. I get it. I actually take some comfort in knowing that people are putting serious thought into safeguarding our privacy online. (and safeguarding our data from being used for ends other than we intend it to be used)
I want to know more!