RSI Corporate - Licensing

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)

3 school security musts for summer kick off

E-School News – Lisa Myers

“I don’t really need to belabor the point that securing educational institutions is both incredibly challenging and crucially important; it’s a bit like describing the importance of water to a fish. Schools and universities are here for the primary purpose of education, but they often have groups devoted to healthcare, finance, retail, and research, among the other usual administrative departments like human resources and accounting. And with that breadth of service comes an alphabet soup of security compliance regulations that you need to be aware of; like HIPAA, CIPA, COPPA, FERPA and PPRA. And within higher education, there is also the expectation of an openness of information within and throughout the organization. How on earth can colleges and universities be expected both to fiercely guard and freely share information?.”(more)

Making Student Data More Usable: What Innovation Theory Tells Us About Interoperability

Education Next – Thomas Arnett

“As schools adopt blended learning, many are eager to use the floods of student learning data gathered by their various software systems to make better instructional decisions. We are accustomed to the ease with which we can use data from multiple systems in other domains of life—such as when we use GPS apps on our smartphones to search for dinner options, check operating hours and customer ratings, and then get traffic-optimized driving directions. So it isn’t hard to imagine an ideal world in which all student data flows seamlessly and securely between software applications: a concept known as data interoperability.”(more)

Letting Federal Data Drive State and Local Policy Under Secretary DeVos

Education Next – Michael Katz

“The announcement last week that the US Departments of Justice and Education will end Obama-era protections for transgender students proves the Trump administration is serious about transferring control of education from the federal government to the states. But while the appropriate federal role in the policies and practices of local schools is a matter of debate, ensuring transparency through data collection should not be. Since 1968, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), an office of the Department of Education, has collected data from public schools on student and school characteristics to ensure all students have equal access to a quality education. Many have raised questions about the future of this biennial dataset under Secretary DeVos. Despite challenges posed by data collection, however, DeVos should maintain the Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC). Rather than a case of federal overreach, the CRDC allows the federal government to empower state and local education providers to improve their policies and provides parents, policymakers, and advocates the tools to hold schools accountable.”(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)