21st Century Balance?

As a Learning Technologies Team we are excited to be on the front lines as new 21st Century tools for teachers emerge. Often shared virally via Twitter, Facebook or just word of mouth between colleagues we love to see teachers consider and embrace how technology can engage and support students and a teacher's own learning.  We have been hearing a lot about tools like See Saw- Student Driven Digital Portfolios and as new technologies focus on personalization for students we want to reflect on the importance of STUDENT PRIVACY. A number of HPEDSB procedures have been put in place to guide us.

 Procedure 146 - 21st Century Learning Environments 

 Encourages teacher to...
"Create learning environments in which teaching and learning incorporates 21st Century content, global perspectives, learning skills, resources and technologies ensures students learn within an innovative environment. This supports the development of learners who are resilient, critical­ thinking global citizens and who can effectively communicate, collaborate and problem­ solve." (p 2)

With a reminder to... 
"model and teach safe, legal and ethical use of digital information and technology." (p 5)

Procedure 147 - Technology Use

Encourages teacher to...
"Make every effort will be made to host electronic information on district servers and school/district sponsored collaborative learning environments (Twitter school\class account, YouTube school\class channel, etc.) with consideration for staff and student privacy. Schools that are considering using external collaborative learning environments need to consult with their superintendent prior to proceeding. All electronic information hosted in these learning environments would be subject to Section 5: Rules of Conduct." (p 3)

*Just a reminder that just because a tool allows you to use a Google apps email to set up account that does not ensure privacy and protection and that you are using a district sponsored collaborative learning environment.  This holds true for some Google Extensions and third party apps.

 Procedure 195 - Records and Information Management

Encourages teachers to be...
"responsible for creating and managing records in accordance to the law."  Under the Education Act we are required to follow the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA).  As teachers we need to be sure that photos and private student information is being stored securely and is not being data mined or demographically profiled. 


Reviewing the Privacy policies of any online tool might uncover red flags. For example, See Saw's Privacy Policy clearly admits, "We use a third-party service provider that requires it, such as for payment processing, data storage, hosting and servers".   Data storage is key and when we are unsure where student data is stored one must hesitate.  Third party services often sell student information and profile students which is not in the best interest for our students and schools.

Board approved tools such as Google Apps, Virtual Learning Environment (D2L), My Blueprint/All About Me and Microsoft One Note are not only secure but provide system level support as teachers/students need.  All ensure privacy for data storage and ensure student records not mined.  If you are unsure about the online cloud based tools you are using please do not hesitate to contact a member of the Learning Technologies team.

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