In the early 90’s, the primary source of information was limited to print materials with a level of trust that the information had gone through a review process to be valid and credible. Safety concerns typically revolved around not talking to strangers, looking before you crossed a street, and not sharing personal information with people you didn’t know. Then came the internet. Initially, the content on the web was static and there was concern about purchasing anything online for fear that your credit card numbers would be stolen. As time went on and technology improved, you no longer needed to be a computer programmer to read and write to the web. Blogs, wikis, social media, video conferences, apps, extensions, and so much more soon became the norm. Whether it be communicating, creating, or collaborating, the internet has opened a world of possibilities. Although inherently good, the internet has brought new safety concerns to the forefront. Anyone can post to the web raising concerns about the validity and credibility of information. The ease of which we can download software, access web apps, install add-ons and extensions to GSuite apps and Chrome is convenient, but also potentially harmful. How often do we click through buttons in order to gain access to a resource or tool without ever reading the fine print? Do we know what we have agreed to? Do we know what access we have granted them to our information? Is the site secure? Is our information secure? What data is being collected? If so, what is being done with our data? Does the resource comply with the U.S. Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act and Rule (“COPPA”)
Our students have access to so many great resources to engage them in their learning as well as to enhance their learning, but it is imperative that we look at the security and privacy policies beforehand. The privacy policies of three productivity tools that I often use with students are below.
TinkerCad is a free online resource that allows students to design 3D structures. Their privacy statement is consistent with the requirements of the U.S. Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act and Rule (“COPPA”) and the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”), where applicable. When students under 13 create an account, they are asked to provide a parent/guardian’s email address. The parent/guardian will receive an email and be asked to approve/verify the account via a credit card or a signed consent form. At any point that TinkerCad becomes aware of activity that is inconsistent with COPPA, the data will be deleted and/or a parent consent form would be required.
BookCreator is a user-friendly tool that allows you to create interactive ebooks. It is a software that has been fully certified by Internet Keep Safe (iKeepSafe) and is compliant with COPPA and FERPA. By default, all student books are private and only teachers can choose to share a book beyond the classroom. Data is not sold or used for advertisements. It is stored in Google Cloud, which offers a high level of security
Screencastify is free screen recorder that allows you to record, edit and share videos. It is a software that has been fully certified by Internet Keep Safe (iKeepSafe) and is compliant with COPPA, FERPA and SOPIPA. Screencastify collects the minimum amount of personal information required to operate their business. They collect email addresses, basic app usage data, and any information the user chooses to share. If at any time you want to check on the data being collected, you can email the company and have it removed. All videos are owned by the creator, not Screencastify.