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Network and Classroom Management Thread, Media Studies and Student Mobile Phones in Technical; This year many courses are adding media studies within the content. I am getting a flood of pupils coming with ...
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    jsnetman's Avatar
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    Media Studies and Student Mobile Phones

    This year many courses are adding media studies within the content. I am getting a flood of pupils coming with mobile phones asking for the pictures and videos to be downloaded via the techies bluetooth adaptor. Problem is on some occasions very risky content is on the phones. One instance of this was a male pupil with pics of his naked girlfriend. Here the teachers and senior management are promoting the use of pupil mobile phones in the pursuit of the media element. I am at loggerheads with the deputy head over this issue.

    What are your thoughts.

    Any relevant data privacy laws you can point me to, to back up my case.

    Thanks
    Last edited by jsnetman; 12th November 2008 at 08:18 AM.

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    Would your AUP not cover this? If you have something in place which covers laptops (and anything else that gets connected to your network)you could argue that this covers pupils phones. Could this cover you for exposure to inapropriate content? It would be similar to if you found something on their network drive. Another thing to mention (I'm sure someone else can vefiry this) that if you find anything that is considered child pornography then you have to report it directly to the police. Maybe informing SMT of this would change their mind.

    I would provide a method for transferring of information for other members of staff to be able to do it and let them do it. You are obviously concerned with the content that is brought up when you are accessing their phone. I would refuse to do it as I would not like to be in that situation.

    Seek advise from the union, but I would have thought that after the occasion of naked photos being found that SMT would back you if you felt uncomfortable transferring work.

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    jsnetman's Avatar
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    I have been to the deputy head this morning, and in all fairness he is a forward looking person regarding IT. However he is firmly in favour of pupils using personal equipment in the persuit of the media content. Yes we do have an AUP which upon logon displays an I agree button, if disagree it logs them off. It would be impossible to get this onto personal mobile phones.

    We are investigating cheap bluetooth adaptors from Tesco at around £5 a go for the kids to use in class. Deep down though I am sure the use of personal equipment should be discouraged, especially when the departments concerned already have school bought equipment to do the job.
    Last edited by jsnetman; 12th November 2008 at 08:53 AM.

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    Sorry, I dont think I put my point accross well. What I meant was, you need something in place so if in the event of you finding something inapropriate, you are covered to do something about it. Parents will jump up and down if you withhold a childs mobile phone, but if you have a policy in place which states that they will be treated the same as any other device provided by the school they cant argue the case. It is up to the child (and parent)to aggree to this when they use the system you have set up.

    I would still refuse to do it myself. But as you are saying they are looking to providing children access to do it themselves, it may take you out of the loop. If you already have equipment to do this, I'm not sure why SMT are pushing this, but then again I dont understand most of their decisions

    I'm sure GD will be able to advise better. But I'm sure with all the content that pupils store on their phones, it would leave you in a vulnrable position if you have to transfer work for them. What you need is to find out what the legal position is for you if/when you find inapropriate content.

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    JJonas's Avatar
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    Im not sure that providing students with blue tooth adaptors so they can connect their phones to the network is the right way to go. Isnt this a case of out of sight out of mind?
    If they had free access they could transfer anything to your school network and of course a mobile phones internet connection is not subject to the same level of filtering as your school connection.

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    jsnetman's Avatar
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    See your point but they have access to the network from USB memory devices so I don't see bluetooth being any different really. They are unable to transfer or run exe's and other file types though.

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    1 - Set up a special machine that can be used for this and that it can be used by all users, but no drive other than their home area is mapped in, no MIS installed etc ...

    2 - The user logs in, the connection is made (must use a passphrase/number for security) and the individual files that are required are pushed from the phone to the connected machine. This gets around the issue of you looking through inappropriate files. Some phone will allow you to push to a discoverable bluetooth enabled computer and *then* put in a password, but some phones won't and some computers do not like this either. That is why I suggest the pairing.

    3 - make sure the pairing is deleted from the phone before the user finishes and then delete it from the computer too.

    4 - make sure the cached profile is deleted on log off.

    And there you go ... a solution for dealing with sending files from a phone to a computer over bluetooth. As an additional catch all you can get the user to sign to say that they understand that they should only send work related files to bluetooth enabled devices when in school either as part of the AUP or the first time they want to do it. This then also covers the bluetoothing of files from phone to phone that happens in some instances of bullying. If you can tie it into eSafety too all the better.

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    jsnetman's Avatar
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    Hmmm I was expecting more support for No Don't Allow It!!! But even the LEA are not backing me. They advise the use of school equipment only but are not saying it is a requirement.

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    flyinghaggis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jsnetman View Post
    I am getting a flood of pupils coming with mobile phones asking for the pictures and videos to be downloaded via the techies bluetooth adaptor. Problem is on some occasions very risky content is on the phones. One instance of this was a male pupil with pics of his naked girlfriend.
    Agreed, it puts us techies on very dubious legal ground when we're witness to pics/vids like the above on pupils personal devices.

    For that very reason we (as a school policy) don't allow pupils to connect phones/PDAs/laptops/etc to the school network and we insist that USB sticks only contain schoolwork. If pupils are on a trip and need to take photos our library lends out digital cameras as required. Most mobile phones have rubbish camera's on them anyway!

    Quote Originally Posted by jsnetman View Post
    Hmmm I was expecting more support for No Don't Allow It!!! But even the LEA are not backing me. They advise the use of school equipment only but are not saying it is a requirement.
    I'll back you up on that one for sure. DONT ALLOW IT! It's a disaster waiting to happen when pupils start bringing in their own phones/laptops full of all kinds of dubious material with pics/vids of what they're up to at the weekend and copy it across onto the school network!
    Last edited by flyinghaggis; 12th November 2008 at 03:21 PM.

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    I think the problem is not how to allow pupils to transfer images via bluetooth, but more along the lines of how it is done. I personally would want a policy in place which covers the person transferring the data(if it is a member of staff). Pupils should already be using different ways of transferring work(email, USB etc) and it really comes down to how you monitor the content on the server. Different ways of transferring it doesn't matter, however if it falls to the technician to transfer work(besides the increased workload) it could put you in a vunlrable position.

    I believe we are there to provide the facilities for teaching and learning and it is up to the teachers and pupils to use these appropriately.

    However, as it has been pointed out, mobile phones can contain all sorts of inappropriate content, and my last school had them banned. I dont see why you need to be the one to transfer the files, why not have the kid do it at home and bring the files in on a USB stick? Or follow the advice of GD to allow kids to transfer it. Either way you *should* remove your contact with inappropraite content.

    And I agree with flyinghaggis, without proper thought it is a disaster waiting to happen. Often teachers/SMT only see the problem they have and not the bigger picture, I think this is where IT Support is there to advise them on the alternative methods. If they are determind to go ahead with this, get everything written down with your concerns and suggestions so that you are covered in case things go wrong.

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    Butuz's Avatar
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    At the moment here the use of mobile phones etc is not allowed at all, let alone plugging them into our PC's.

    If you happen to be browsing a kids phone or copying photos and you inadvertantly view/copy a photo of that pupil naked for example, you could end up in serious trouble. Don't forget LEA/Schools suspend first and then investigate - are you happy to be suspended whilst the issue is investigated? What if someone leaks it to the papers - you've seen what can happen when papers go mad, jobs lost, careers ruined even if not guilty.

    It's a really dodgy area, and it's all very well people saying oh you'll be ok if you've got an AUP - but I wouldn't put myself or my staff in that position.

    If your deputy head is willing to put you in that position then maybe suggest that _they_ transfer all pupil images on _their_ pc...

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