Friday, August 28, 2015

Ask About Videotaping in the Classroom

Via my student data privacy network of colleagues (via Student Privacy Matters), I have learned that there are teachers doing edTPA teacher certification training who are videotaping their work with students.  Some of the issues noted from my colleagues like Leonie Haimson:

Molly, a NYC parent, tweeted and emailed me this AM about the many videos exploding all over YouTube that were originally submitted through the edTPA teacher certification process showing students being taught by teachers in training. One in particular shows a student who the teacher is trying to train him not to hum during reading. 

The video link provided has been taken down at YouTube.

From reader, Josh Hayes, at this blog in Feb. 2014:

It's worth pointing out that new grads, starting this year, wishing to obtain certification as a teacher in WA state, must submit a great big package called the "edTPA", or "Teacher Performance Assessment", and pass it, much like experienced teachers passing national boards. 

From edTPA:
Secure appropriate permission from the parents/guardians of your students and from adults who appear in the video recording.

Teachers cannot:

Display the video publicly (i.e., personal websites, YouTube, Facebook) without expressed permission for this purpose from all those featured in the video.

Sample Release form.

Continuing with Haimson's e-mail: 

I assume that the usual parent consent forms for edTPA do NOT include posting on YouTube and that an additional consent form would be required.

Absolutely true and that's why, if you don't see a permission form for this activity, in your parent take-home packet, you should ask your child's teacher(s).  I will ask the district what kinds of permission slips will be in the take-home packet. 

Kylie is including an objection to this in the Opt-Out letter she plans to submit to her school at the start of the year.  

Consider a blanket opt-out letter (I can try to craft one) about activities you do not want your child participating in without your knowledge and permission.

Fred Klonsky, a retired Chicago public school teacher who blogs posted: “Why edTPA is a really bad idea. Stop the Pearson takeover of Illinois student teacher certification” on August 22. 

Somewhat buried in his post, is the following:

“The videos submitted by student teachers contain student images, and although parental permission is required, they are already showing up on You Tube. Pearson also reserves the right to use submitted videos for their own purposes. edTPA JEOPARDIZES STUDENT PRIVACY”

When I commented on this on facebook, a friend & IL parent/school activist Kylie Spahn posted the following:

“Just did a search on You Tube - "EdTPA". A lot of videos popped up with all sorts of kids. I don't want my children on You Tube. Also - not just video but class assignments too. They are submitted to Pearson never to be returned to the kids or parents.”

I just went to youtube myself and found many videos shot in classrooms, full of children and teenaged students,  and this one of a teacher working individually for 20 minutes with a special ed student who looks about six or seven!  

Again, the video was taken down from YouTube.

The best way to prevent this is two-fold.  One, let edTPA know you don't want this for your child.  (I'll give you a way to contact them soon.)  Two, let SPS know you don't want this for your child.


Anonymous said...

Let the legislature know that handing teacher certification over to Pearson was a terrible idea! It's only been the last few years that this has been the case; colleges used to make that decision. Peason doesn't need to own any more of the educational process than it does, and as a National Board candidate I'm really disappointed in their behavior this way (on top of everything else). I don't want any of my work or footage that I've promised my students is *almost* confidential (per what I was told by National Board Reps at meetings) showing up on youtube, and I don't want Pearson using any of my lesson plans that I paid to send to them in any of their curriculum.

I've been saying Pearson deserves an anti-trust suit for years. I can't be part as they can revoke board certification at any time if they feel like it, but I hope that it eventually will come to a head.

Glad I left Seattle

CascadiaMom said...

I opted out my daughter from participating in her teacher's videotaping efforts to pass the National Boards last year and it caused a huge headache. My daughter had to almost leave the room during some lessons and the teacher seemed annoyed that we had done this, as though we were not supportive of her quest for board certification. I feel very vindicated that my concerns were valid. The consent we were asked to sign basically said that the video would be sent off and there were no guarantees about what would happen to the video - no promise to destroy within a certain time, etc. Thanks for highlighting this important issue and for giving me the courage to continue to protect my child's privacy.

Anonymous said...

True story: Last year my relative - in the ed field on the East Coast - called me to say he had accessed a training video for a classroom engagement technique and he had received quite a shock because front and center was my daughter. 45 minutes of my daughter from back when she was in first grade five years ago.

The teacher at the time was taking his national board certification and had done correct outreach by being certain no child was taped without parental permission - which our family had given, because neither the school name nor pupil names were to be put into the tape. In addition we wanted to support the teacher in his advanced studies.

Still, it was a shock to know that the tape 5 years later is widely available, and in a context - professional learning for teachers all over the U.S. - different than we had thought. We had thought it would only be available to our teacher's certification program staff.

No harm was done. But I see the day - facial recognition software - combined with circumstances - child exploitation, custody battles, etc. - that is fast approaching, if not already here, in which there could be rare but serious problems with such distribution.

The lesson, as always, is that if child privacy is important within a family, be very careful about signing forms as well as being sure your school and classroom are fastidious about permission around capturing images of your child.

Seattle mom

Anonymous said...

Oh please. Videographic information is a tremendously valuable tool for teachers, and btw, students. I'm not in favor of big-edu having access to videos, but teachers should want to make use of this in order to improve practice. Wouldn't it be great to know your ratio of positive comments to negative or neutral ones? Additionally, research shows that video modeling is extremely effective for students, learning all sorts of stuff - particularly social, behavioral, and adaptive skills. Eg. Students watch videos of themselves, and learn from that. Or they model a skill, so others may learn, or to solidify a skill. I favor the use of it classrooms without parental permission. Publishing the videos is a different matter of course. Why do people think there's some sort of right to privacy in a school? There isn't. People should be happy that schools are actually using something that works.


Melissa Westbrook said...

edTPA says that no video should be put out to the public. Period.

Reader, no one is saying no videotaping. But parents have the right to say no. I note that in many of these videos the students are called on by name which also seems to violate edTPA's policy.

Anonymous said...

A right to privacy exists because they are children, and not public employees.


Patrick said...

Reader, why would you think there's no right to privacy? School is mandatory, the state can't force you to wave your right to privacy for a mandatory activity.

Anonymous said...

More disturbing, last year I saw standardized testing training videos on YouTube showing score reports with children's names. These particular videos were from charter schools. I have no idea if the parents signed permission for their children's test results to be broadcast online. I am guessing not, but perhaps they did give permission, who knows.
Privacy Please

Josh Hayes said...

Since I was quoted in the original post, I'll add that the program I attended for my certification (the "Alternative Routes to Certification", or ARC program, at SPU) was very very thorough in emphasizing the importance of student confidentiality. I would be astounded to find that ANY video from an SPU student had been leaked onto any public forum.

That said, ALL that video was provided to Pearson, and once they have it, so far as I know (and I could be wrong about this; I have not read the minutiae of the legal agreements involved between Pearson and the schools sending students to complete the edTPA), they can do whatever the heck they want with it so long as it has some educational purpose.

We were instructed to avoid taping classes with more than one or two students opting out. If those students DID opt out, it would be best to film a) on days they were not there, or b) portions of the class period where they were not in the camera field of view. If students did wander across the camera field, and the footage was otherwise so awesome that an intern would really want to use it, there was tech available to blur the face and voice of the student, if it came to that. I had 100% opt-in for only one of my four sections, and so that's the one I used.

I still have that video on my laptop. Obviously, I don't share it with anyone, but I do still have it, in the absence of instructions to destroy it once I passed the TPA. Does anyone out there know if I'm supposed to destroy it?

Anonymous said...

I have been waiting for this to come up! As a teacher who did National Boards, I just want to encourage people who are opting their kids out to *also* write a letter to Pearson and/or letter to the editor and/or blog post arguing that Pearson should change its policy and keep classroom videos private.

I *hated* having to send videos of my class (and myself) to a corporate entity I don't trust, which informed us that they retained all rights to the videos and might use them in some form in the future. I don't want videos of my students out on the internet, nor do I want videos of myself out there. But I really didn't have a choice - to continue teaching WA requires you to do ProTeach or National Boards, and only the latter gives you a stipend - like most teachers, I really couldn't pass up that yearly stipend.

So I understand why people opt out, and I support them in doing so - but please know that it does make things harder for teachers (they're required to film their room, so opt-outs often means asking teacher friends on their prep period if the student can work in their classrooms during taping). If you feel strongly about this, I'd encourage you to try to draw attention to this issue and get Pearson to change - it's another area where students and teachers are both being screwed by the Corp.

-NB Teach

Melissa Westbrook said...

You are correct, Josh, Pearson owns the videos. And "educational purpose" certainly can have many meanings. But even Pearson would be unlikely to put out videos with children in them if they didn't know for certain that the parents had given permission for their kids to be in the videotape.

Also, I have a call into Pearson on this topic, Josh. I'll ask them that question.

Anonymous said...

How about we send our kids in with fake mustaches and those plastic nose eyeglasses for taping days? That way we can help preserve their privacy, while still supporting teacher certification efforts.


Melissa Westbrook said...

HF, I think that's a great idea.

Josh Hayes said...

Come on, HF, help a teacher out: send your kid with a BOX FULL of those things. I think it'd make filming days a lot of fun. (Sure I think that: I don't have to do it for another five years!)

dw said...

NB Teach said: So I understand why people opt out, and I support them in doing so - but please know that it does make things harder for teachers (they're required to film their room, so opt-outs often means asking teacher friends on their prep period if the student can work in their classrooms during taping). If you feel strongly about this, I'd encourage you to try to draw attention to this issue and get Pearson to change - it's another area where students and teachers are both being screwed by the Corp.

What would happen if an opt-out movement took root? Like is happening with CC testing now.

If all (or even most) of your students opted out of this ridiculous invasion of their privacy, how would you be expected to fulfill the requirements? Some kind of alternative would need to be explored.

I think this would be a great thing for someone to push, though it would likely take some effort.

Lynn said...

What? Students are removed from their classrooms during an instructional period becuase their parents won't allow them to be videotaped? That's not right.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I tweeted a young teacher (not in SPS) who has several edTPA videotapes of her teachings. She uses kids names and faces. She said she has the parents' permission and that's fine. I let her know that she is violating the edTPA policy and has no right to post any video of any child in a public place. They are still there. Unbelieveable.

Anonymous said...

Melissa, did you try to "report" the videos (if on YouTube)? Maybe that could be a way of helping get the word out to violators and making YouTube even more aware of the issue. I bet a list of videos violating student confidentiality could generate a lot of YouTube "reports" on the right site (not sure here is the best place for the dust-up, but that's your call).

Have you considered contacting the school principal? Not the way any teacher wants to start the school year, even if innocently/arrogantly convinced they are in the right.

If you do any of these please let us know the results.


Melissa Westbrook said...

I could report it to YouTube but other privacy activists say that YouTube doesn't like to police people on others' policies, just their own. So it's really on edTPA to do it.

I am likely to try to tell edTPA before any principal. I was surprised at this teacher's answer.