Five tips for improved student data security
As educators, we are privy to a lot of private data that helps us understand our students needs. What they know, what they don’t know, and any special services they are in need of in order for them to be successful in school. Having open access to this information is serious business and there are a handful of laws that exist to keep things in check and ensure everyone is handling student data correctly and securing it safely.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which was passed in 1974, states that we need to use reasonable industry best practices to secure student data. In 1974 that might have been as simple as locking your door when you left the classroom. In today’s connected classroom however, securing student data is a whole different ball of wax. Here are five things you should be doing in order to better secure your student’s data as well as your own personal data.
- Lock Your Computer: This is something we don’t think about very often, but everytime you leave the room or leave your computer unattended you should be locking your computer. Locking it prevents anyone from accessing it without the password. That leads us to step number two.
- Create Strong Passwords: Passwords are considered strong when they are long, unique, and not taped to the computer monitor or hidden underneath the keyboard or on a post-it note. It’s also not recommended that educators use their web browsers to remember passwords either. Our earlier article on Password Managers will help you in this department.
- Beware of Emails: You should never click on a link or an attachment from an email unless you are certain it is safe. Email is still the number one way that malware is installed on computers so be careful. Always check the actual email address in the “from” section rather than quickly glancing at the first/last name of the sender. If you receive an email from a friend but it looks fishy, you should message them via another source before you click on anything.
- Store Your Files Safely: You shouldn’t save anything that contains or could potentially contain a students personally identifiable information to your computer’s hard drive. If a laptop gets stolen or lost, that information could easily be compromised. Instead, store student data on a network drive that your school has set up with firewall protections and other securities. Even Google Drive is a safer option than storing something on your desktop.
- Delete Unnecessary Data: If you are holding onto data from previous semesters or school years, you should look into securely deleting it. It’s good practice to look at old files and ask “why do I still need this?” The same goes for physical files. You should shred physical files before recycling them or throwing them away so you don’t end up with IEPs strewn across the neighborhood after a windstorm. Yes, this actually happened.
And there you have it, five steps you can take action on today to ensure you are securing student data properly. You can also consult your school’s technology team and administrators about proper procedures and/or protocols that may already be in place.
Want to learn about more awesome tools to start coding in your classroom?
Five tips for improved student data security
New and Noteworthy
Since we have the opportunity to interact with the EdTech community a lot here at Kyte, we frequently find ourselves meeting people and discovering companies that have something super cool to offer. Much like ROOT Robots, which we talked about in last month’s Newsletter. This was just the case while attending the iNacol Conference in San Antonio last October. While there, we had the opportunity to meet the founders of an awesome, new ed-tech company called Bloxels.
Students create their very own video games with Bloxels!
Coding and computer science are all the rage in schools these days, and this is as it should be. With the ever increasing demand for quality programmers, the world is continually seeking the next creative genius who will come along and create technology that enhances our lives. But what generates that spark of interest for a student that inspires them to embrace something new and challenging for the very first time? For a lot of kids, it’s video games–and going beyond just playing them becomes a whole lot easier with Bloxels.
What are Bloxels?
Bloxels seamlessly combine the physical world with the digital. The people from Bloxels state, “Bloxels enables anyone to build, capture, design, play, and share their very own video games. Designed with blocks, a universal element of childhood play, Bloxels cultivate imagination while encouraging discovery and experimentation.”
With Bloxels, students can bring their own video game ideas into a vibrant and engaging reality by building out structures, hazards, and even characters with the physical blocks and grid board included in each set. These physical creations are then magically converted into full-blown digital worlds through an easy-to-use app. With the app, you can build and animate original characters, develop villains, add in power-ups, and a whole lot more. Each phase of the creation process is incredibly intuitive and a ton of fun to set up.
See what we mean by checking out this vid.
You can get these bad boys for yourself or your classroom right here. An individual set will only run you $49, and a classroom set costs between $450 and $800 depending on how many you need.