First and foremost, we want our students and staff to use technology safely. Here are a few points to help you protect yourself (and your students) as you use digital resources...
Most types of media (texts, websites, audio-visual materials, etc) are copyrighted. There are “fair use” provisions in copyright law for educators that permit us to use certain media (or segments of certain media) in the classroom for instructional purposes. Learn more about copyright and WCPSS here.
Read this poster for the “down and dirty” basics of what you and your students can and can’t do. In general, if you use copyrighted materials (or portions of) in your classroom, be sure it’s for direct face-to-face instruction. Posting copyrighted materials (texts, music, video, etc) to the Internet usually isn’t a wise move, since it is not a controlled environment. Be sure that videos you show on campus are part of instruction. For example, showing a film after school to a group of students simply for fun would be copyright violation.
Remember that copyright law is in place in our country to protect the people who create these media/texts. How would you feel if someone used something you created without your permission? It’s important that students understand the importance of copyright in today’s digital world, too. When in doubt, consult with the school Media Specialist or Technology Facilitator for guidance.
Protecting Students (and Yourself!)
Cyber safety is a big concern in today’s world. While the Internet is a wonderful means of communication, using it in a school requires careful actions. Keep confidential information confidential! Encourage students to stay safe and think before posting something publicly on the internet - whether at school - or at home!
Never post a student’s full name online - use simply his/her first name. Do not save sensitive or confidential information to "the cloud" (like Google Drive).
If you would like to post images of students on the Internet, the student must have a Photo Release form on file with the school. Note that all students received one of these in fall 2015 - and were asked to return it. Photo Release status is also listed in a student’s data in PowerSchool, if the form was returned.
According to board policy, students and teachers may only interact through email using official WCPSS email addresses. In other words, if a student emails you from a personal address (such as gmail.com), you should not reply to the email. Instead, ask the student to contact you using their WCPSS email address. This is for your protection, as well as the student’s. If a court ever orders all emails between a student and teacher to be released - and you have communicated with the student through a personal email address - ALL of the email from your personal account will be made public - not just communication with the student.
Social Networking & Texting
As a general rule, you should not permit students (or parents) to join social networks you’re a part of (such as Facebook) until after they have graduated from the WCPSS. Try using alternative educational services, such as Edmodo. Read the memo about social networking here. It’s also not wise to converse with students via cell phone texting. Instead, try a group-texting service such as Remind - this keeps numbers private.
According to board policy, all users of WCPSS digital equipment should take responsibility for its well-being. The school system may hold you responsible for repair/replacement costs in certain situations (such as negligence). ALWAYS lock up your devices when not in use (especially overnight). Count student devices before students leave your classroom to insure devices don’t walk away unexpectedly.
Acceptable Use - Students & Teachers
All employees sign an agreement that explains our system’s Acceptable Use Policy. Remember to abide by the guidelines. Don’t give your password to others or permit other staff/students to use a computer under your login.
Students are required to get a parent signature on a consent form to be able to use computers, tablets, and any other form of technology. The Data Manager enters this information into PowerSchool. Keep a roster of students unable to use technology handy. WCPSS has stated, “Parents will have the opportunity to choose between granting all technology access or granting no technology access. Students who have had their individual technology access denied are still able to participate in teacher or administrator led activities that contain Internet content (such as viewing a video as a class) and take part in standardized computer tests (like EOCs). Students who have their technology access denied are not protected from viewing Internet content in use by other students. You can read the AUP to learn more.
Know that ANYTHING done on a school digital device can be reviewed by WCPSS personnel. Assume that anything you type, draw, read, view, and/or create can be seen by network administrators. WCPSS email is public record - so it’s best to use your WCPSS email for professional usage only.
The following info explains what can and can't be stored/shared in Google Drive, photo permissions, and privacy issues. This email explains the ins and outs that will help protect YOU, the SCHOOL, and the STUDENT when using technology. As always, consult with Media Center staff if you have any questions or concerns.
Ability for Students to Use Computers & Tech Devices
Students return a Tech Consent form when they register with WCPSS. The parent must opt-in for the student to be able to use computer, iPad, or BYOD device while at school. A student will not be able to login to a computer if the permission has not been granted. The info is entered into PowerSchool by our data manager (though not available to view by teachers). A list is generated of students who do NOT have permission and saved on the Shared drive at some point after school starts. Students still may take EOC/NC Final Exams standardized tests on computers, even if parental permission was denied.
Taking Student Photos / Video
A privacy release (name/photo) form is also signed by the parent when a student enrolls in WCPSS. The form grants/denies permission to post first and last name publicly and the ability for the school to photo/video record a student and post to the public. Again, a list will be available on the shared drive after school starts indicating students whose parents denied permission for these things. If you photograph or video record a student and only print and display the photo or show the video only in your classroom, you're a-ok and have no worries about permissions. If the photo/video leaves your room (sent through email; video conference with a remote speaker; post to Twitter, etc), insure that the student has permission on file. Students should not photo/record other students who have permissions denied - but in this scenario, the student would be at fault, not the teacher or the school itself.
Remember social media guidelines (you received a memo about it when school started). In general, you do not want to interact with students via social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Twitter is ok (and accessible from campus) to post things to - but you should not interact with students on it (they can follow you, but that's about it). Be sure to use your WCPSS email address to create your Twitter account – not a personal account.
Communicating with Students via Email
Your WCPSS email is the only form of email you should use when conducting WCPSS business (with parents, students, community). NEVER use a personal email account. You may respond to students emailing you from THEIR OWN WCPSS email account, but you're not supposed to interact with students emailing you from a personal account. This is for everyone's protection - if an issue ever arises, courts can gain full access to EVERY email EVER sent from private accounts (on both the teacher side and student side). It's the same situation for using personal devices at school - for instance, if you take photos of students on your personal cell phone - and an issue arises - courts can gain full access to EVERYTHING you've ever done on your cell phone (texts, photos, apps - everything). It’s best to use a school-owned device to photo/video students.
Google Apps / Google Drive
WCPSS Data Security Chief Eric Hoth recently created the following list of what you can and can't store in Google Drive. Google is considered to be a "cloud storage service." There are other cloud-based services you may be using. These tips would apply to any cloud storage service.
Google Apps for Education was deployed and configured as an instructional tool. WCPSS staff choosing to use Google must use the WCPSS instance to conduct WCPSS business. While Google Apps for Education offers better privacy protection than standard Google Apps, it is still not considered a secure storage location.
WCPSS Confidential Data
WCPSS confidential data includes, but is not limited to, grade data that will become part of the student’s permanent record, student account information (e.g. passwords), health information, IEP/PEP/504 information, and discipline information. WCPSS CONFIDENTIAL data is not to be stored in WCPSS Google Apps for Education.
Classroom data is material that is typically returned to students once it has been evaluated by the teacher. This includes handouts, but is not limited to, classwork, quizzes, and graded homework. Classroom data can be stored in WCPSS Google Apps for Education.
Use Case Scenarios
It is not possible to illustrate every possible example of data use. The following are just a few of the most common. If there is ever any question, always err on the side of protecting student privacy.
A teacher types a class list into a Google Doc with student first and last names.
This is acceptable.
A teacher creates a Google Sheet with student first names and their scores from a recent math test.
This is acceptable. Individual test scores do not become part of the student’s permanent record.
Students turn in their assignments using Google Classroom using their first and last names.
This is acceptable.
A teacher creates a Google Sheet with student first names and their end of course (EOC) scores.
This is not acceptable. EOC scores become part of the student’s permanent record.
A Special Education teacher creates a pull-out schedule in Google Sheets with student first names.
This is not acceptable. Student IEP/PEP/504 information is confidential. This information can be securely stored on the school server network shared directory.
Our school receives regular inspections for fire safety. When using technology, watch out for power cables. A multi-outlet power strip (often found on AV carts) must be plugged directly into a wall outlet. “Daisy chaining” (plugging one power strip into another) is not permitted and will result in a violation. Don’t block air vents found on most all technology equipment. Never cover an LCD projector’s lens with an image blocker (like a scrap of paper) - this could easily start a fire!
Equipment Checkout and Return
All technology equipment is issued from the Media Center. You will be expected to return all materials to the Media Center at the end of the year. Be careful to keep up with all cords and cables that are issued with devices. Do not move desktop computers or printers at any time without consulting with the Media Center first.
Computer Updates / User Rights
WCPSS computer users have limited rights on desktop computers. You may not be able to access certain settings. You will also not be able to install most software. See the Media Center staff if you encounter problems. Leave computers powered on at the end of the day - WCPSS Tech Services often sends updates during overnight hours. You DO have rights to install legal software on laptop computers. Students are never permitted to install software.
So Many Logins!
Start a personal list of usernames and logins for different services. In today’s world, there are so many needed it’s hard to keep up with them all! Keep your list some place safe at all times and out of reach of others.