Hāpara privacy tips – how to safeguard user privacy during distance learning

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      Rob Clarke

      At Learning Architects, we believe Hāpara to be one of the most powerful tools for both teachers and students when learning remotely. However – and you may already be aware of this – there is potential for a breach of user privacy if your community is using Hāpara Highlights for distance learning.

      Hāpara Highlights – how to protect/respect user privacy in the home

      Undoubtedly Hāpara Highlights is a hugely useful feature of the program as it gives teachers the ability to view what is on the screen of student Chromebooks in near real-time and helps to guide student browsing. Normally this would be restricted to screens within the school domain and only during school hours (as per Hāpara recommendations).

      Understandably, however, you might have opened Highlights up to be accessible beyond these recommended limits so that your teachers can support student work during school hours, while they work at home. While this makes complete sense, it’s important to be aware that it does open up an issue around the privacy of students and their families.

      When teachers are able to view student screens using Highlights, there is the possibility that someone else in the home may be using the Chromebook for something they would not want a teacher to see (internet banking is one example).

      How to protect your students, families and your staff from being compromised

      To overcome this potential issue,  we recommend you take these two actions:

      1. Communicate clearly to parents and students that teachers have the ability to ‘see’ the Chromebook’s screen during school hours. You might suggest that these Chromebooks are only used for school work. Of course you won’t be able to dictate this for BYOD Chromebooks, but you can reasonably ask this of school-owned ones.
      2. Make sure your staff members know about this possibility – part of this issue is protecting teachers from ‘seeing’ something that would compromise them. Ask them to reinforce your message to students and parents in their own class newsletters.

      While it’s impossible to control what happens outside your school gates, we do encourage you to take these two steps to help mitigate any potential risks.

      Resources and support are available via:

      Here’s an example of how Somerfield School in Christchurch is using Hāpara Workspaces to share resources with students.

      In the meantime, please remember to put out those privacy communications to your student community and help safeguard your users’ privacy as we move into the next phase of distance teaching and learning

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