Schools use digital education tools, including apps and web‐based learning tools, to improve teaching and learning both inside and outside the classroom. These tools can deliver curriculum in new and innovative ways, facilitate research, and let students engage with their peers – not only in the classroom, but with other students in their school, elsewhere in Australia, or around world.
While apps and web‐based learning tools present many valuable opportunities for the Victorian education system, these new technologies can also pose risks to privacy. Government schools are required by the Information Privacy Principles (IPPs) in the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 (Vic) (PDP Act) to maintain the privacy of children when using tools that collect, hold, manage, use, disclose or transfer personal information about those children.
The discussions held between Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner (OVIC), schools, and the Department of Education and Training (DET) that are outlined in this examination report highlight the importance of good privacy governance and the need for a pragmatic and thorough approach to privacy risk management. The Department has recognised that it has an important role to support schools in assessing the privacy risks of digital tools.
The Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner has published this report to provide the community, including students, parents, and carers with a better understanding of how digital tools are used in Victorian government schools and the steps that we can all take to ensure that we protect children’s privacy.