Commissioner launches privacy awareness lesson plans for grades 6-12

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Michael McEvoy
Michael McEvoy
Michael McEvoy

Victoria: When students and teachers head back to school, their backpacks will include more than the usual paper, pencils and pens. They will also be filled with the latest electronic devices.

“Students today rely on smartphones, iPads, laptops and other devices at school and at home,” said Michael McEvoy, British Columbia’s information and privacy commissioner. “That’s why privacy education is absolutely critical in today’s schools.”

A 2015 survey of 4,034 K-12 teachers and school administrators, conducted by the Canadian Teachers’ Federation and MediaSmarts, revealed that teachers feel it is “very important” to teach digital literacy skills at school. Seven of 10 teachers said they were “very” or “somewhat” confident in their ability to teach these skills. Most are already using networked devices in their classrooms to deliver content to students.

As they prepare for the year ahead, the OIPC has some new tools for teachers: four privacy awareness lesson plans. The plans were created in collaboration with Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial privacy protection authorities and MediaSmarts, a Canadian not-for-profit charitable organization that champions digital and media literacy.

Three of the plans were designed for grades 6 to 9. The fourth plan targets high school students in grades 9 to 12. The lesson plans incorporate videos, class discussions and exercises to introduce students to privacy principles.

“It’s our hope to support teachers by offering these modules for use in their classroom,” said McEvoy. “By doing so, they will be letting students know that privacy is a fundamental value, and that their personal information is valuable.”