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Digital Privacy

This tweet provoked a really interesting and helpful debate about digital privacy.

I have been acutely aware of the many school Twitter feeds publishing names and images of pupils together. And this left me uneasy. I have experience of using blogs and blogging with classes since 2007. My class even won a competition way back in 2010.

Currently at my school all classes are using ClassDojo and the Class Story very effectively. I pull a snapshot from each Class Story to share on Twitter @BearsdenPrimary and the school website , ensuring that this matches parental consent and that images and names never appear together. The digital leaders in my school are beginning to take more responsibility with the updating of the website and Twittter.

In summary, the discussion highlighted some really good examples of good practice and stimulated some deeper reflections of what we need to next in my school to include pupil voice in discussions around digital privacy.

  • @kirktonPS never include visuals of pupils and they always focus on the learning
  • other schools use image and no name, or name and no image
  • everyone agreed that too many schools included names and images together
  • the most important point raised was that about pupil voice. We ask parental consent but do we ask the pupils? (I’d say I honestly do this about 50% of the time, just now) Despite being evangelical about children’s rights and political literacy, I realised I had shamefully given this matter very little thought, in my eagerness to raise and boost the profile of the school, improve communication and share achievement and learning.
  • consider audience and purpose when and where posting (this is a strength for me)

Action points for the new term…

  1. raise the issue with the pupil voice groups and also with teachers to make them aware of pupil consent
  2. create a digital charter. We have begun to use the Yammer social network in Scotland through our Glow intranet (Microsoft 365). I have just been made an admin. Along with other teachers I have had some really interesting chats about how to frame this learning environment for pupils. including, learning contracts linked to appropriate use and behaviour, a digital charter linked to UNCRC and focused on what children expect from digital rights, and a third model based on the 5 iRights which are distilled amd adapted from the original UNCRC.
  3. increase scope for our digital leaders to shape the discussion about the use of these tools and how their iRights are articulated.
  4. Lastly, I realised I gave rights little consideration photographing and publishing pictures/videos of my own children (age 3&6). I share it with them and mostly we enjoy making it together, but do they really understand who the audience or what Facebook is?

The photo credit, btw, is from 2008. A school who went too far in protecting, or rather masking, identities!

I would love to know what you think about this and what you do in your school.


By Athole McLauchlan

Dad / primary teacher / literacy / technologies / outdoor learning / M.Ed student / #MIEExpert / #AppleTeacher / #ScotEdChat / #hatecelery /#rubbishatcartwheels

2 replies on “Digital Privacy”

Hi Athole,
I am glad you blogged this, much better than leaving it to flow down the twitter torrent.

I’ve not been in class for 8 or so years now (returning soon!), but did a lot of blogging from 2004. Twitter didn’t exist and was blocked when it arrived. We didn’t use it in school. Smart phones were a twinkle in Steve Job’s eye.

Then we made sure all parents had signed a release to allow pupils. We tried to mostly use group shots. I talked to the pupils about posting images of their fellows only if they were happy with the picture. Pupils did most of the blogging and photo taking.

In NLC where I currently work, it is council policy that on social media pupils in photos are not named.

I suspect that this picture will change. A few years ago twitter was blocked across most of Scotland, it is now almost expected. I imagine that first names will be though of as OK at some point.

The real danger might be folk going from a situation where they have no access to social media to one where it is the norm with no learning/training curve in-between.

There are some truly horrible things happening on social media which we may skip by in our excitement to tweet-tweet-tweet.

Thanks John. I wonder if this is the space that something like Yammer can fill? To be able to learn the ropes in a more controlled environment but with a wide mix of ages and personalities.
We have comprehensive release forms in EDC but from the parents and not the pupils. We also have pupils being able to send photos into school via email and ClassDojo messenger.
I think that the audience and purpose element is all important too. I think as teachers we like to be ‘down with the kids!’ and they prefer to be one step ahead… I’ll never forgot a pupil moaning to be before a Nintendo Wii session with ‘is this going to be EDUCATIONAL Mr M?’
I read this recently about using Snapchat.
And, to be honest, I just can’t be bothered adding another social media app to my phone. I can’t keep up with all of them as it is!

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