3. Don’t share personally identifiable information about students in email.
Email isn’t a secure method of transmitting sensitive information because you have no control over where the message might end up or who can access it. If you have to send personally identifiable information about a student to someone, use a secure file transfer site instead.
4. Don’t use actual student data for training purposes.
During training workshops, you might have to use student data, such as when you’re demonstrating how a certain program functions. In these cases, don’t use actual student data unless you have the permission of your district. And even then, you should only use real data if it’s essential to the training goal in question. Otherwise, use “dummy” data. When creating handouts or presentations, black out or blur any live data.
5. Keep your devices secure.
Make sure all laptops, smartphones, or tablets that you use to access student data are password-protected, and keep them locked or turned off when they’re not in use. When you’re done using an application that contains student information, always log out. Never keep passwords written down where somebody might see them. And consider using tracking technology, such as iCloud’s “Find My Mac” application, to locate and possibly retrieve any device that is lost or stolen.
For more information about safeguarding student data, here are some additional resources:
- Educator’s Guide to Student Data Privacy: Published by FERPA SHERPA, this guide is intended to help teachers use technology in the classroom while protecting student data.
- Protecting Student Privacy: This student data privacy resource was created by the U.S. Department of Education.
- Parent’s Guide to Student Data Privacy: Also put out by FERPA SHERPA, this guide helps parents understand various laws around student data privacy.
[Disclaimer: The information in this article is intended for general information purposes only and is based on the cited resources and field experience. The information presented is not legal advice, is not intended as such, and is subject to change without notice. Please consult with an attorney before making any determinations regarding compliance with local, state, and federal law.]
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