Too often, students are left out of conversations about student privacy. In our increasingly digital age – and educational environment – students must be empowered to recognize the opportunities and risks, as well as their rights and responsibilities, online. Everyone – parents, teachers, school and district leaders, and particularly students themselves – has a role to play in developing students’ privacy knowledge and digital citizenship skills. Here are three things from the Student Privacy Communications Toolkit that students need to know:
- Your school is using more data about you than just your name, address, and the other basic demographic information collected when you registered for school.
Other types of data that the school may be collecting and using about you include grades, test scores, attendance, discipline and health records, and college and career goals that help the school follow your academic progress; observational data about your behavior or interests generated by educators throughout the school day; and your performance, time-on-task, and outcomes generated through homework, learning applications, and standardized tests. Your school uses this information to help students by tracking your progress, planning appropriate interventions when needed, and ultimately improving your educational experience. If you have questions about exactly what data is being collected, be sure to ask. Your parents also have the right to review and request corrections to your school records, too.
- Be aware and mindful of how you are being graded and assessed through virtual platforms and interactions.
Things like attendance and engagement used to be easy enough to track (your teacher could see whether or not you were in class and paying attention). However, in our new distance and hybrid learning environments where such constant physical observation is not possible, schools, districts, and educators have been seeking innovative solutions to ensure students are present, engaged, and learning. Don’t be afraid to ask your teacher how attendance will be taken and how your engagement or behavior will be assessed. If the methods make you feel uncomfortable, tell your teacher and ask for alternatives.
- Developing some basic digital literacy and citizenship skills now will serve you well in school and in life.
This includes learning how to manage your digital identity and reputation; engaging in positive, safe, legal, and ethical behavior online; and being aware of how your data is collected and used. These skills are important now, and will only become more so as you get older and have more responsibility and control over your personal data privacy and security in college, a career, and throughout the rest of your life.
The new Student Privacy Communications Toolkit from the Future of Privacy Forum includes detailed resources and information on protecting and preserving student privacy. While the toolkit was developed with school and district leaders in mind, it contains information, advice, and recommendations of interest to all education stakeholders. Don’t miss our previous posts tailored to parents and educators.