Student data privacy and security are top priorities for edtech leaders. When asked to rate the importance of these topics, 68 percent of respondents said they were more critical than the prior year, according to an annual survey of K-12 chief technology officers from the Consortium for School Networking.
While IT leaders in education have their hands full trying to protect the student information stored and accessed in the software and data systems used by their schools, the actions of other employees throughout the district can support—or undermine—these efforts.
Here are five practical steps that every school or district employee should take to keep student data from being compromised.
1. Check with your IT department before using apps or software.
If you want to use an application that collects any student data, make sure it has been approved by your school or district technology team. If they haven’t already, they will want to review the application’s data privacy policies before approving the app for use. If these data privacy policies don’t pass muster, your IT team might be able to suggest another application you can use to accomplish the same purpose.
2. Don’t keep or share student data any more than you have to.
You should only hold on to student data for as long as it takes to complete the task at hand; once you no longer need this information, you should delete it. (And make sure you empty your trash and delete the contents of your “Downloads” folder regularly, too.) Also, don’t leave any student information lying around where someone might have access to it, and don’t discuss student records with others unless they have a legitimate educational interest—meaning it’s information they need to do their job.