Confessions of a Digital Leader: Thinking About Privacy and Passwords

The other day we were looking at several different blogging platforms to be utilized with our students and teachers. The goto idea seems to be to find what is free and teacher-controllable. The problem with free is that it is often void of the ability to export data and this is such a critical feature to have…especially when we consider that each person should have ownership of their own.

These are conversations that we will have with every platform that we roll out with our students and teachers. It is unacceptable for students to not have access to their own work, even after they leave our district. It’s equally as unacceptable for teachers to turn over ownership for the sake of free and it happens more often than we are often aware. It’s interesting to be in a position to make these decisions but even more interesting to have these conversations with others as they learn that data and privacy matters greatly.

Passwords!! (The most forgotten thing during the school year)

In my previous district, I used to despise the password reset process. After talking with several specialist from all over the country, the despise of password management is a huge commonality. A few thoughts uttered from around the web (with anonymity of course)…

  • “If we don’t reset their passwords, how will teachers get into what they need?”
  • “I want to limit password resets to less than ____ because I’m tired of teachers forgetting them”
  • “I have teachers that forget their passwords over and over again…all year”
  • “We have them make all passwords the same so that they won’t forget”
  • “I spend hours and hours doing nothing but resetting passwords”

Long sigh…

I have two digital learning specialist in my department and their main focus will be on helping teachers to integrate technology into their lessons. We literally do not have hours and hours a day to reset passwords which means that we must have a way for teachers to handle this small task themselves. Yes, I know that as small as the task is…It will still be incredibly difficult for many…at least, for now. We have to empower them to click the “forgot password” button. WE just have to.

When it comes to passwords, it seems that schools tend to take the “operationally easy” route in creating, distributing and syncing. (Think…all kids sharing a password) As someone who has had her online presence “hacked”…I cringe at not teaching password safety, protection and retrieval. Which age is this appropriate?

Of course, I won’t get into how we do it for obvious reasons but I will say that regardless of how we initially begin the account creation process, our teachers do have the power to retrieve their own without waiting on someone to manage a list.

Ironically, we didn’t really know that…until today which means that as of now, we will be free of the “Google Form” generated password retrieval/reset list.

On another note, I am so guilty of forgetting my passwords and completely rely on the ability to quickly retrieve it…without being shamed for it. Think about that for a minute.


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