At Discovery College, child protection and safeguarding is our priority. Many of the potential privacy issues noted in the media recently surrounding the use of Zoom in schools come from using the free version of the software, from not properly securing access to meetings and/or from not updating to the current version. The English Schools Foundation has acquired Zoom Professional for Education which allows strict security. The increased security features of this professional version reduce the chance of “Zoom bombing”, where a third party accesses a Zoom meeting without authorisation, and protect the privacy of our students.
Some of the premium features we use to reduce risk for our students include registration for class, waiting rooms (where the teacher has to allow participants into the class) and disabling sign-in with Facebook.
In the following week we will be further strengthening Zoom security by restricting access to only users with Discovery College email accounts. This is already in place for the secondary section, and we will be rolling out to primary in the near future.
We will be sending out further information next week to primary parents and students about what this will mean for them.
Discovery College chose to use the Zoom platform over competitor platforms and we believe it is currently the best product for use in our current model of online learning. All products we have investigated are in a similar position as Zoom in that they have experienced a surge in use, especially in education, due to the Covid-19 situation and have had to scale up their operations, functions and security to meet this demand and need. Other products being discussed in the media and elsewhere consist mainly of business solutions which were designed for staff meetings at large companies, and are not necessarily as suitable for use by teachers in a virtual classroom setting. Zoom allows teachers significant control over a session and includes important features not found on competing platforms. With the right security features, which we are confident we have in place, Zoom provides an effective and safe platform for our community.