Beyond Concern: K-12 Faculty and Staff's Perspectives on Privacy Topics and Cybersafety

Beyond Concern: K-12 Faculty and Staff's Perspectives on Privacy Topics and Cybersafety

Shellie Hipsky (Robert Morris University, USA) and Wiam Younes (Carnegie Mellon University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7113-1.ch040
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In a time when discussions about information privacy dominate the media, research on Cybersafety education reveals that K-12 teachers and staff are concerned about information privacy in schools and they seek to learn more about the protection of their students' and own personal information online. Privacy topics are typically introduced to the K-12 constituents under one or two categories; namely, Internet safety and/or cybersafety. This study 1) assessed the level of cybersafety training that the K-12 teachers in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania receive in school and 2) evaluated the privacy topics that teachers and staff find important and beneficial to their work and personal lives.
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This paper reports key findings of an exploratory study which assessed the gaps between the level of cybersafety and privacy education provided currently for teachers and staff in schools and the required training for schools to comply with federal privacy laws. In addition, the study provides and explores gaps found between cybersafety and privacy topics presented in schools and the topics faculty and staff perceive as important to learn.

Digital Citizenship

Often, literature about Internet privacy and security in K-12 educational environment is presented under digital citizenship and digital privacy. In digital privacy literature, the focus is on the potential invasion and misuse of information of individuals and groups. The discussion over digital privacy covers larger topics about a government's collection of data about groups or individuals for protection and about businesses collection of data for marketing purposes (Cady & McGregor, 2002). Digital citizenship in education focuses on students’ use of digital content in a digital world and preventing cyberbullying (Ivester, 2011). Literature on digital citizenship addresses the online behavior of students and provides teachers with resources and activities to integrate technology in classroom (Ribble & Bailey, 2011). However, literature on teachers’ online behavior as Internet users and digital citizens, staff development based on federal- and state-security, and privacy regulatory requirements is scarce.

Research Questions

Therefore, this report aimed to address this gap. This study approached the training requirements for faculty and staff at schools on a federal privacy and security compliance level and the expectations of National Educational Technology Standards for teachers and administrators. In addition, the study examined teachers as cyber citizens interested in learning how to protect their students and own personal information online. Thus, this paper aimed to answer two research questions:

  • 1.

    What level of cybersafety education is currently provided for K-12 faculty and staff?

  • 2.

    What topics should schools provide faculty and staff to meet federal law compliance requirements on privacy?

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