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Privacy and Security Concerns in a Virtual Classroom

The shift to a virtual and hybrid learning environment during the rise of COVID-19 and the Delta variant has created numerous challenges for schools and educators. Major challenges include privacy and security concerns, limited access to modern technology and most importantly, unreliable connectivity. Some schools and educators have had the resources to investigate and implement tools to help make the virtual classroom experience more effective, efficient, and secure as we become more familiar with virtual technology.

However, for many underserved communities, it’s difficult adapting to the virtual and hybrid learning environment. Schools across the U.S. had to quickly move to a virtual setting. Many communities may not have had the EdTech experience, funds, or the time to thoroughly research and evaluate different technologies for schools and educators to promote privacy and security for their students. If anything, the virtual experience has highlighted the security issues around the technology utilized.

One of the concerns around privacy and security come to surface focuses on weak web protection framework whereby cyber criminals can gain access to the entire school network, leaving student and teacher data vulnerable. Another concern around security are breaches directly in the online classroom, greatly threatening the safety of both students and educators. Many have faced the dreadful experience of a hacker making their way into a virtual platform, disrupting the class and creating an unsafe environment. This creates a tremendous amount of stress on educators who want to provide a safe learning experience.

The school’s IT team, which in some instances is only one person, faces heavy pressure to help create a safe, private and secure learning environment for students and teachers. Smaller schools with fewer resources may have a more difficult time managing the IT needs of students and staff due to lack of manpower. It is not uncommon for an IT person at these schools to share a larger role within the school such as a teacher, counselor or even an administrator. They must juggle the priorities of their major role while also pulling double duty to help coworkers and students with their technological issues. This can lead to technological emergencies not being responded to in a quick enough manner, or longstanding technological issues not being resolved.

Many tech and telecom companies are working to help provide reliable, secure, and cost-effective connectivity solutions to educational institutions in underserved communities. Bluebird Network, a communications infrastructure provider operating two data centers and a carrier-grade fiber network, is trusted to empower educational systems – as well as medical and financial organizations – at all levels throughout the Midwest. With an understanding of the urgent need for reliable internet connections, Bluebird Network provides high quality connectivity and the bandwidth required to support the best education practices through technology.

Ranking as the second largest internet provider to public schools in the State of Missouri, Bluebird is consistent in providing secure and reliable internet connectivity for students and teachers, whether they are in person or virtual. Our edge technology and unsurpassed customer support provides the tools needed for the sophisticated network requirements of education institutions.

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