So far throughout my blog, we have discussed the benefits and negatives of some of the apps in the program. Now, on my final blog post, I will describe and talk about the privacy of G.A.F.E. and how it may affect how you use Google Apps for Education in your classroom.
As Google is an American ‘company’ and the Patriot Act is enacted in the USA, all of the information is stored in the United States of America – and that is a problem for Canadian Citizens. The Patriot Act was enacted in 2001 and allows the United States of America to access all information to analyze and watch over information. This ultimately means that when districts or educational facilities use G.A.F.E. they are handing over information to the USA (even though we are in Canada).
The fix to that privacy problem that people may think to use to solve this is to create nicknames for students – so they don’t actually know who it is. But, we cannot. G.A.F.E. does not allow the use of Alias Names.
Adding on, G.A.F.E. does also not delete information. They only archive it so you cannot see it (but it is still stored). This means that everything you write and everything you do on G.A.F.E. is stored forever and could ultimately be sold at any point.
G.A.F.E. is a great tool, but there is little privacy for students who use G.A.F.E. in classroom situations. This has led Coquitlam to back out of G.A.F.E. because they don’t delete information and switch to other platforms. Other platforms include Microsoft 365, Word Press, Blogs, etc.
Now to use G.A.F.E. in SD61 you need a consent form (I will attach below).
I still believe that G.A.F.E. is a very useful tool that can be used in classrooms but you must be aware that information is not as private as you may think and you need parental consent to use in your class.