Submit a Manuscript to the Journal

Computers in the Schools

For a Special Issue on

Digital security in educational contexts: digital competence and challenges for good practice

Manuscript deadline
30 December 2023

Cover image - Computers in the Schools

Special Issue Editor(s)

Francisco David Guillén-Gámez, Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Malaga (Spain)
[email protected]

Łukasz Tomczyk, Institute of Education, Jagiellonian University (Poland)
[email protected]

Julio Ruiz-Palmero, Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Malaga (Spain)
[email protected]

Cornelia Connolly, School of Education, University of Galway, Ireland
[email protected]

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Digital security in educational contexts: digital competence and challenges for good practice

Digital competence should be considered key in ensuring safe and critical use of technologies for work and leisure (Torres-Hernández & Gallego-Arrufat, 2022), or in this case, in educational environments (Tomczyk, 2019). Addressing this issue requires reflection on the benefits and risks that the use of the internet brings to the 21st century society. Faced with the possible risks that a teacher or student may encounter on the network; the adoption of security best practices is important. (Alvarez-Flores, 2021). Both teachers and students should have adequate digital competence to make good use of digital educational technology in a critical manner. Ferrari & Punie (2013) through the DIGCOMP model (European Framework of Digital Competences for Citizens) identify the key factors of digital competence in terms of the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to be digitally competent. This encompasses five areas: information, communication, content creation, security, and problem solving. Here security implies knowing how to protect technological devices, knowing how to protect personal data and privacy, and knowing how to protect health and well-being (Vuorikari et al., 2016).

Use is made of digital supports and technological devices such as laptops, smartphones or digital tablets very frequently both by teachers (Sulasmi, 2022) and by students (Sáez et al., 2019). Therefore, it is necessary for educational institutions to promote the use of security barriers to deal with any type of virus or malicious attacks (Opeyemi et al., 2019; Anastasiades & Vitalaki, 2011). This fact, as Tomczyk (2020) states, requires knowing the risks and challenges faced by the educational community, including one group that is rarely analyzed in the scientific literature: the families of students (Prados et al., 2021). And for this, it is essential both to know the existing security measures for their application in educational digital environments, as well as the digital skills of the agents involved, for the good, safe, and critical use of digital and educational technology.

As welly, the use of apps and/or virtual learning platforms has grown enormously in recent years. These online services rely on the large amount of data and information that teachers or students provide and share (Tekerek & Tekerek, 2013), though this same user information is coveted by hackers or marketing companies (Lipman, 2015). University facilities, libraries, and study centers are places where large amounts of information are shared through public Wi-Fi connections (James, 2020; Aloul, 2012).   There are also serious risks that can occur within the educational community and that affect the physical and emotional integrity of the student, are cyberbullying, grooming, and sexting. Therefore, as Siemieniecka & Majewska (2022) and Uslu & Durak (2022) state, both educators and the parents of students need to emphasize the risks that this may entail for safety and privacy. Göldağ (2021) has shown that as the students’ level of use of digital devices increases, their level of digital literacy and digital data security awareness also increases. Thus, we need to know more about what use students make of technology and how effective cybersecurity can be achieved.

Digital security is also linked to physical and psychological well-being. Exposure to phenomena such as problematic Internet use, digital piracy, sexting, cyber-aggression and cyber-bullying, identity theft, and financial fraud can lead to a range of harmful consequences not only in the online sphere, but also in the offline space. Therefore, fostering a sense of digital safety is currently one of the overarching challenges for formal and non-formal education systems.

This special issue considers the benefits and potential risks that digital and educational technology and internet access have on students, as well as the behaviours and knowledge of teachers and families in aspects of digital security. More specifically, this special issue is focused on exploring: (1) the digital skills of the educational community in terms of cybersecurity; and (2) the uses that students make of information devices to mitigate the risks of misuse and promote good practices in safe and responsible use. Given this background, we encourage submissions which address the following questions. Submissions should ideally address issues in relation to K-12 education or teacher education for K-12 phases although submissions with wider scope may also be considered,

  • What digital skills do teachers have in terms of understanding of security issues and how can these be effectively developed?
  • What cybersecurity measures should be taken in educational centers, how can student data protected and what ethical, legal and other issues need to be considered?
  • How do families protect their children's data and what measures can and do they take to minimize digital risks?
  • What kind of obstacles do educational institutions face in terms of ensuring effective cybersecurity?
  • What use do students make of digital devices and how do they protect their safety?
  • How can educational curricula be improved to strengthen digital security?
  • What are the possible issues related to digital security in schools from the perspective of ethics, data privacy and data ownership?
  • What are the possible issues related to cybersecurity in schools in relation to mental wellbeing and how can these be addressed?

Submission Instructions

7,000 to 8,000 words inclusive of notes and references

Each article will receive two independent blind reviews.

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