With the possibility of schools in America remaining shut for the rest of 2020, we’ve put together some guidance to support teachers to safeguard their students’ online education while they learn from home.
The guide includes easy-to-follow safeguarding advice in compliance with The Department of Education. This takes the form of 5 actionable steps, including the use of our favorite secure video sharing tool, SafeShare.
SafeShare is an invaluable safeguarding tool for students.
Why is Safeguarding Important?
The growing focus on e-learning – not to mention the COVID-19 pandemic – has meant that more young people have to access online content and this undoubtedly presents a few security risks.
Because teachers are unable to supervise students while distance learning, one of the biggest priorities is to employ safeguarding precautions through the use of appropriate technology and awareness.
Furthermore, remote learning has revealed new safety concerns that teachers need to consider carefully, including the invasion of personal privacy when engaging students in video lessons; the suitability of online teaching platforms; data protection; mental health and well-being; and communication between teachers and students.
5 Steps to Safeguard Your Students
With the above safety concerns in mind, here are 5 steps to ensure your remote learning lessons actively protect your students:
1. IT Safety and Data Protection
Before planning your lesson, make sure your school and/or your personal laptop operate secure data protection practices. This includes:
- The correct management of data to comply with data protection laws.
- The use of a firewall and antivirus software.
- Ongoing suitability assessments of educational software, websites, and content.
- The use of recognized internet service providers.
- Secure, encrypted, and password-protected WiFi networks.
2. Conduct a Safety Audit
Identify all of the potential risks involved in conducting your remote learning lesson, evaluate the control measures, and make decisions about how to implement them.
Exposing a student to inappropriate content when sharing an educational video, such as a suggested video on YouTube.
Control measures –
These would include providing parental control advice to parents and the use of appropriate safeguarding tools.
Communicate the risks to parents, send out detailed instructions along with a consent form, and use SafeShare to ensure the video is safe for students to view.
For more information on how to conduct a safety audit and safeguard students, check out this handy list.
3. Obtain Parental Consent
Before you host a remote learning lesson, it’s important that you make the parents aware of the event, as well as the risks and benefits involved, and obtain their consent before transmitting any data regarding their children, whether that’s their image, likeness, speech, typed or written content.
4. Use Safeguarding Tools, Such As SafeShare
Make sure you have vetted online teaching resources used for remote lessons. Using reputable safeguarding tools, such as SafeShare, will strengthen student safety.
SafeShare is a browser-based tool that allows teachers to create secure and distraction-free videos for students.
What is SafeShare?
SafeShare is an online tool that enables teachers to create secure and distraction-free videos to share with students. The browser-based software extracts educational content from YouTube and Vimeo and removes all unnecessary interference, such as adverts and suggested videos. Teachers can also crop videos to exclude anything unsuitable and to reduce them to the desired length.
Once a SafeView has been created, teachers can share it with their students as a link or QR code, which can be pasted anywhere. For example, teachers can share them through email; in the chatbox during a livestream lesson; via educational platforms, including Google Classroom and Pear Deck; or on social networks.
Using SafeShare means that teachers don’t have to download any video downloader software, such as VDownloader, to their laptops or computers in order to safely share YouTube videos. What’s more, it’s quick and simple to use.
Why is it important?
The necessity of using smart devices such as iPads to teach remotely has presented educators and school administrators with the growing challenge of moving teaching methods to digital platforms. The use of visual content has replaced more traditional text-based learning and many teachers now integrate videos into their lessons.
YouTube is an incredible resource and crammed full of free educational content, which teachers rightly take advantage of. Nevertheless, there are multiple issues with watching and sharing content directly through YouTube, including safety concerns; restrictions placed by a school’s IT department; inappropriate material; and multiple distractions in the form of adverts and related videos. Consequently, teachers need a safer method of watching and sharing YouTube content, without worrying about damaging the learning environment.
SafeShare for Schools
Individual teachers can create a free account on SafeShare, which allows them to save 20 SafeViews (videos) and 2 playlists to share with students.
SafeShare also offers a Premium Plan for individuals and Organizational Plans for schools and districts. These include unlimited SafeViews, playlists, contacts, and circles (e.g groups of students and colleagues).
SafeShare offers organizational plans for schools and districts.
5. Maintain Professional Practice When Communicating With Students
Remote learning sometimes makes it necessary for teachers to contact students on a one-to-one basis at home. For example, to give feedback on classwork.
When Communicating With Students, Teachers Should Do The Following:
- For one-to-one communication, conduct a risk assessment and get your school to approve it.
- Contact your students through parents or guardians, if possible – unless this poses a safety risk.
- Communicate through school channels and email accounts rather than personal ones.
- Avoid sharing personal information.
- Communicate with students during school hours, if possible.
For More Information on Safeguarding Students
For more thorough safeguarding information, we recommend that teachers consult their schools and read through this report addressing the protection of student privacy while using online educational services.Follow this link for up-to-date advice from FERPA regarding COVID-19 in 2020.