Friday, September 11, 2015

Periscope and FERPA

Periscope and FERPA

When using any technology in the classroom make sure to think about CIPA, COPPA and FERPA laws. I'm sure you've heard someone mention Periscope and are asking "what is it?" This blog attempts to take a look at Periscope from a educators perspective, especially during September as we focus on Digital Citizenship with our students.

Why as educators we need to know about Periscope
Just this week in Hueytown, Alabama a teen is in juvenile detention after making threats on the social media app Periscope to shoot up the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport. Authorities said the 15-year-old posted a video insinuating that he had been recruited by ISIS and would attack the airport. He also showed a cache of weapons that he said he would use to carry out the attack. Followers began calling Bessemer police about the video, and homeland security investigators tracked down the boy at his Hueytown home. "We went to the house, interviewed him, found that the weapons that were displayed were actually called Airsoft guns, which are not real guns but they’re replicas and they’re very realistic in their appearance," Hueytown Police Chief  Chuck Hagler said.

What is Periscope?
Periscope is owned by Twitter and allows you to video-record and broadcast to anywhere in the world. It is like Skype, except you are streaming video to the masses instead of just one person. One million plus users are on Periscope, all ages and personalities. Periscope is a FREE and easy to use app watching and lets you watch and create live broadcasts anytime and anywhere. Viewers can also interact with you through messaging or ‘liking’ with hearts. The videos as of now, only last for 24 hours to review after the live broadcast.

Gary Anderson in his Blog lists great ways to use Periscope in the classroom to connect to other educators all over the world and open doors for students in the classroom with the use of the Periscope app. Periscope can be used to show how to do something, to virtually visit a cultural institution or landmark, arrange a virtual visit with an expert, perform live and get help with homework.

As educators it is our responsibility to monitor what are students are experiencing with technology in the classroom.  Although Periscope’s rules clearly prohibit most kinds of bad behavior, some things can slip through fairly easily.

CIPA, COPPA, FERPA -  These are the laws and policies that help to protect our students online that many teacher’s are not aware of. Below is an overview of each law along with some resources to better understand them.

Child Internet Protection Act: The school is required by CIPA to have technology measures and policies in place that protect students from harmful materials including those that are obscene and pornographic. Any harmful content contained from inappropriate sites will be blocked.

Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act: COPPA applies to commercial companies and limits their ability to collect personal information from children under 13. By default, Google advertising is turned off for Apps for Education users. No personal student information is collected for commercial purposes. This permission form allows the school to act as an agent for parents in the collection of information within the school context. The school’s use of student information is solely for education purposes.

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act: FERPA protects the privacy of student education records and gives parents the right to review student records. Under FERPA, schools may disclose directory information (name, phone, address, grade level, etc…) but parents may request that the school not disclose this information. The school will not publish confidential education records (grades, student ID #, etc) for public viewing on the Internet. The school may publish student work and photos for public viewing but will not publish student last names or other personally identifiable information.

Parents may request that photos, names and general directory information about their children not be published. Parents have the right at any time to investigate the contents of their child’s email or web tools.

Due to these laws, but also wanting our students to create using web tools and apps, CISD has an Acceptable Use Policy for students and staff, sort of a Webtool Permission Slip. This permission slip helps parents be informed as well.

Megan Pruitt is passionate about helping other social media managers stay ahead of current trends in new and emerging media and write about the marketing uses of Periscope in her blog.

She defines some of the lingo used on Periscope:
Scoper – A person who is on the Periscope platform
Scope – Each time you live-broadcast a session, you are creating a scope. Think of a scope as an individual broadcast session.
Hearts – One way Scopers show their love is by tapping on the screen and giving a broadcaster hearts. Periscope will tally up the amount of hearts each user has, and the color of the hearts will correspond with the color assigned to your account.
Replay – Currently, Periscope gives the option for Scopers to have their broadcast recorded so other scopes can replay the broadcast.
Follow – Scopers follow each other. It is no different than liking a page on Facebook, connecting with a user’s profile on LinkedIn, or following a user on Twitter.

You can sign up with Periscope in two ways. First, you can use Periscope in conjunction with your Twitter account, and second, you can even create a Periscope account by using your cell phone number.

Knowledge is Freedom: CIPA, COPPA, and FERPA Explained Succinctly
CIPA, COPPA & FERPA: Requirements Reexamined
World’s Simplest Online Safety Policy
Work Cited:
“Children’s Internet Protection Act |” 2002. 1 Dec. 2013 <>
“Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998.” 1 Dec. 2013 <>
“FERPA for Students – U.S. Department of Education.” 2010. 1 Dec. 2013 <>

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