What benefit does GAFE offer to teaching and learning?

There are a number of key benefits to teaching and learning with GAFE:

  • students have a personal “digital locker” to store and access files of any kind securely
  • online tools are accessible anywhere, anytime or any web-enabled device
  • students can work collaboratively on a variety of file types simutaneously
  • students always have their documents and files, without needing USB sticks or other storage devices
  • productivity tools are constantly updated with new features, without needing to do updates or handle licences

How is GAFE different than a personal Google Account?

GAFE allows school districts to set up and manage the accounts and tools that staff and students use. In our SD61 GAFE platform,we control the specific tools students have access to. We also control who students can share their documents or emails with. We can also include filters, which flag questionable, inappropriate or worrisome content. There are no ads, and no scanning of content by Google. Also, GAFE users have unlimited online storage.

Additionally, the district has access to a tool called Google Vault, which provides backup and archiving of student work. This means that even if a student erases a file or email, we can still access it.

Who can get a SD61 GAFE account?

At this point in time, all staff and students have the ability to request a GAFE account. For student accounts, the teacher is required to send home an information letter that accompanies a consent form that both the parent and the student to sign and return to the school. The school will collect the consent forms and will keep them on file. After consent is collected, the student GAFE accounts can be created and distributed by the teacher to the student.

What about Privacy? Does this comply with BC Privacy legislation?

Since the information shared within the SD61 GAFE platform exists outside of Canada (specifically in the US), consent is required from parents and students to create accounts and use the tool for educational purposes. In setting up the SD61 GAFE platform, the school district has created a Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) which has been shared with both the BC Officer of the Privacy Commissioner (OIPC) and the BC Ministry of Education.

Who can access my information? Is Google going to sell my information?

According to the GAFE terms of service, SD61 maintains full ownership of the data. Google will not share or sell any of our information. Google will access data only under specific circumstances, such as the need for technical support, or an enforceable governmental request. You can read more about this on this page.

What information can I share within a SD61 GAFE account?

Both staff and students must remember that the purpose of the GAFE tools are for “educational use”; to better meet the needs of students who are learning in a digital age. Therefore any and all steps must be taken to ensure that any confidential and/or sensitive identifiable information is not shared in any emails, files and documents created or uploaded into the GAFE system. A specific list of the acceptable and unacceptable uses of the SD61 GAFE can be found here.

What is personally identifiable information according to FIPPA?

Under the FIPPA, “personal information” is defined as “recorded information about an identifiable individual other than contact information.”

What happens to when a parent does not provide consent for their child for GAFE?

We are confident of the privacy and security of the service, with the educational value of the GAFE platform, along with information on how to use the GAFE platform as a staff and student teachers will make adjustment. Students and teachers will accommodate non consenting families with alternative learning options.

Can we use fictitious names for student GAFE accounts?

The district feels that students need to feel accountable for their online and offline interactions, on GAFE or otherwise. Therefore, fictitious names could offer ambiguity to student actions.

What about Microsoft Office? Is this a replacement?

All of the computers currently in our schools will continue to have Microsoft Office installed. Desktop computer enrolled in the Evergreen Program will still have Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc. GAFE is compatible with Microsoft Office files – in fact, you can upload and edit a Word document within GAFE. You can also quickly transfer a file from Microsoft Office to GAFE, and vice versa.

What about other hardware in our school? (desktops, laptops, iPad, etc)

GAFE is a great tool for iPads because it makes them immediately more user friendly. With a SD61 GAFE accounts, teachers and students can now grab any iPad in a school and use it to access their GAFE account. They can quickly and easily capture multimedia on the iPad, and share it to their GAFE accounts using the app Google Drive.

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