As teachers, we all recognize the immense potential that Web 2.0 tools provide in the classroom. Students are able to demonstrate their learning in powerful ways, whether it be through a post on KidBlog, a multimedia poster using Glogster or create an animation using Pow Toon. Web 2.0 also offer opportunities for students to collaborate and share with their classmates, from any place and any device. It was in response to the power of the these tools that the Web 2.0 Guidelines were developed. The Web 2.0 Guidelines were designed to ensure that student information and data was protected and that a Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) be completed prior to using a tool with students.
The PIA process is completely focused on assessing the impact on student privacy, the pedagogical benefits of the selected tool is left to the teacher. It is also important to remember that with thousands of Web 2.0 tools out there, it is impossible to provide professional development and support for all these tools. We work to connect teachers with other teachers who may be using a similar tool, but it is important that you discuss the tool you hope to use with your Principal and School Tech to ensure you don’t have a frustrating experience. Wrapped in all of this is the importance of Digital Citizenship, all schools have a digital citizenship plan and it is always a good idea to consider how the use of this tool will fit into this larger plan.
So how do you know when a PIA is needed or not? Quite simply, whenever student data is going to be collected. If you are having students sign up for an account with their name or email address, a PIA is required. However, if you are looking to set up a class blog under your name and email address a PIA is likely not needed as no student data is being collected. The question in the second instance is usually surrounding student work and/or photos. If student work and/or photos are going to be shared, it is important that consent is received from the student’s parent or guardian before publishing.
Ultimately the PIA process is designed to allow teachers the ability to use Web 2.0 tools to design meaningful instructional tasks while also protecting student data and privacy. If you have any questions about the process or would like to discuss a specific tool, we encourage you to contact us or join our growing network at: