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Student Privacy in the Era of Remote Learning

Written by Moira Doman
December 15, 2020

Being fully remote, in order to ask my first grade students “What I wish my teacher knew…” I had to assign this as an assignment on SeeSaw, an online portfolio and assignment platform for students and their parents. The problem is, whenever students post something their parent can view it. Since my students still do not know how to send an email to me, this was one of the only ways I could think of to have them successfully complete this task.

Their responses led me to wonder about the lack of privacy students currently have during remote learning. Yes, they are able to attend class from the “privacy” of their own home. But, everything is online and tracked. Meetings are recorded. Assignments are submitted virtually for parents and admin to see. This definitely has many benefits, but what if a student is feeling afraid to be in their own home? What if they are in some sort of abusive situation? Besides the glimpse of their living room or bedroom, I will never know. Everything is filtered.

So what were the responses?

Mainly my students wanted me to know cute things like their favorite toy or how they love my class. One mentioned I do not call on him enough during math. These responses were typical for their age, but I just wonder if they would be different if their parents were not watching. I will never know.