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Who is keeping student data safe in the era of digital learning?

The Hechinger Report – Tara García Mathewson

“When Baltimore County Public Schools started giving every student a computer for daily use in the classroom, teachers sought out more online learning materials to go with them. That meant more partnerships with third-party vendors, some of whom tracked student performance or required personal information about students to open new accounts. Parents in Baltimore County became concerned. Was their children’s private data going to be safe even outside the district’s hands? Baltimore County has become a leader in student data privacy and security, and is one of only 13 districts in the nation to earn a Trusted Learning Environment seal from CoSN, the membership group representing the nation’s K-12 school technology leaders.”(more)

Big Data Transforms Education Research

Education Next – Michael J. Petrilli

“For decades, education technophiles have envisioned a future wherein gee-whiz devices and engaging digital applications whisk students away from the doldrums of traditional classroom instruction and into a fun world of beeping computers, self-paced lessons, and cloud-based collaboration. That may yet come to pass—and at some outlier schools, is already here—but don’t be surprised if the true transformative power of education technology is most evident when it comes to something old-fashioned: basic education research. The declining cost and easy availability of substantial computing power may enable us finally to unlock the black box of the classroom, giving scholars and teachers much more insight into what is and isn’t working.”(more)

Giving Data Meaning: Students Should Have A Say In What Analytics Tell You About Them

Ed Surge – Leif Nelson and Timothy D. Harfield

“When students interact with digital learning environments, they leave behind trails of data. The desire to understand and improve learning has led many educators to consider the value and utility of this information. But what can these data traces actually tell us about the students who left them, and how do we translate them into meaningful action?.”(more)

4 best practices for education data

E-School News – Laura Ascione

“Data can be immensely helpful to educators–but anyone who hopes to learn from data must know how to analyze and interpret it. Although the word “data” can raise red flags when it comes to protecting student privacy and sensitive information, it can help students, parents, teachers, and administrators learn from and adjust practices. The catch, though, is that these stakeholder groups need access to the education data and must be able understand what it means.”(more)

Report: Data science and analytics skills critical for today’s workforce

Education Dive – Autumn A. Arnett

“One of the strongest arguments for a liberal arts education is that it exposes students to a variety of coursework that helps develop soft skills and prepare more well-rounded graduates who will then enter the workforce more agile and prepared for the demands of the workplace. However, a push towards specialization, competency-based education and the overall condensing of the higher education experience in the name of promoting four-year graduation for affordability’s sake has compromised some of this development. There has been a shift from seeing higher education as a vehicle to create well-rounded citizens to now a need to create workers, but the two do not have to be mutually-exclusive.”(more)

How can schools protect student data without training teachers in privacy basics?

The Hechinger Report – Chris Berdik

“Since 2013, state legislatures have considered about 400 student data privacy bills, and passed more than 70 into law, according to Data Quality Campaign, a nonprofit that tracks education data policy and use. Yet Colorado appears to be the only state whose law, adopted in 2016, requires that districts train all teachers and school administrators in the basics of privacy and information security. (A few states require such training for people who accesses specific, statewide student databases.) A simple Web search reveals a bonanza of free or nearly free education technology applications to tempt resource-strapped teachers. But the data protections of these vendors can’t be taken for granted. In 2016, for instance, an audit of some 1,200 Web-based education software products by the nonprofit Common Sense Education found that nearly half the offerings didn’t automatically encrypt student data.”(more)