Privacy and Security in the Classroom

Flipped learning models have turned the traditional classroom into one without walls — 78 percent of teachers use a flipped model of some kind, according to a survey from… (Joch, 2016).

As someone who used technology on a daily basis when I taught a content class,  privacy and security were always on the forefront of my mind. Were the programs I was using storing the student’s information? Was I in FERPA violation? Were these online companies selling information? Did the students know how to even safely navigate the internet? All of these concerns led my administration to carve out a position for me at the school as the instructional technology coordinator. My job, among other things, is to deal with privacy and security of my students while online at school. Here are a couple things we have in place.

  • LanSchool– I have been using this program for almost 6 years now and it has been a saving grace when trying to maintain classroom order online. This site has some tutorials on how the program works if you have never heard of it. The basic gist is that teachers are able to limit computer usage from their own computers. Teachers can observe the screens of all the students in the class, create a block list of sites that are not allowed, and lock students out who are using computers inappropriately. We have been able to integrate this program school-wide and it really has given the teachers on campus more ease of mind when it comes to integrating tech into their classes.
  • Google Suite for Education- I have been graciously given the controls on the Google Suite at our school. Though Google for Education has been around since 2006, It has not been without its problems. Back in early 2016  Google admitted to collecting and data-mining student usage information for commercial purposes. (Here’s some more details about this if you were not aware. I know this is another blog but all the concerns were real.) But, since then the Department of Education in Hawaii, with their push to integrate Google into the classrooms, has released guides that help ensure student security through Administrator level measures. Things like restricting external Google Apps, preventing emails to outside domains, and restricting the use of certain sites all lead to a safer environment for the students.
  • CommonSense Digital Citizenship Lessons- Part of my job is to also teach students how they can stay safe online. With the help of Common Sense Education, I create mini-lessons for students grades 3-8 on topics such as password protection, cyberbullying, going to age-appropriate websites, and be aware of a digital footprint. I believe that part of the reason why security is such an issue is because people are not educated on how to keep themselves safe while online. For example, the students at my school have passwords that were assigned to them at the beginning of the school year. They also were all given an agreement to sign and a lecture on the importance of internet safety including keeping their password to themselves and not sharing it. Inevitably, however, I have had several students who are upset when their accounts get hacked and assignments or documents become public or go missing. Where the student is upset, this is now used as a teachable moment and how it could look in the future if they continue to give out their password- credit cards, bank account information, emails, etc.

3 thoughts on “Privacy and Security in the Classroom

  1. Hi Ashley,
    I enjoyed reading about the specific cases/tools you outlined. The LAN School and Google examples outlined logistical concerns regarding setting up a successful environment for students. I have heard recently that there are still concerns about the security of information using Google. Any thoughts? I also thought it was interesting to hear how specifically these tools could be used in a school setting, and how students reacted. How do you find teachers respond to concerns regarding cyber security?


  2. Hi Ashley,
    I enjoyed reading your post. Thank you for sharing those programs. Its definitely something I want to look into, and share with others. I think we don’t spend enough time trying to protect children, and simply rely on firewalls and virus protection to do that.


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