Projectors placed in the classroom create fantastic gateways to digital learning. Â Teachers and pupils alike are able to utilise software, the internet and other forms of media through a large shared image. Â Coupled with an interactive whiteboard the learning possibilities increase again. Â If a projector fails in my school teachers panic, and I think it is fair to say teaching and learning often suffers.
However, this same resource can also create it’s own dangers.
A schools managementÂ informationÂ system contains everything the school needs to know about their pupils. It contains their name, address, email, phone, attendance, behaviour, exam results, special educational needs status, everything. Not only that, it will also contain the personal details of parents and carers, staff, and former pupils. Their databases can be massive.
But whatÂ happensÂ when the two collide?
I often talk to my staff about ensuring that our management information system software is not shown on a projector. Displaying a pupils personal details, or a groups achievement marks to a class full of students is a data security breach punishable by law I tell them. Â Even completing a register on the projector, could expose moreÂ informationÂ to the class than a simple list of names.
Before breakfast I was searching the web as I often do for news stories on social media in regard to schools, technology and data security when I came acrossÂ this articleÂ from the daily mirror. Â It gives the term data projector a whole different meaning!
The story highlights that not only can a data projector simply show personal and sensitive data on screen, it can give a good indication of a password too, at the very least it will give you the length.Â The pupil in the mirror article clearly made a mistake, his actions were illegal under the computer misuse act. Posting details on Facebook was inexcusable, but the teacher can’t go without blame either. Log in and traverse your MIS on your classroom projector and you might as well go back to sticking your password on the side of your monitor!
I’ve talked about password security before; it’s a really important part of data security, but people must also be aware of what they are projecting once they are logged in.
Image from CirofonoÂ and licenced under creative commons