Student data privacy: The role of policymakers and schools

Federal laws provide important safeguards for protecting data and preserving student privacy

data-privacyAs states move to collect, store, and interpret student data, education leaders should be familiar with important federal laws that safeguard student data and protect student privacy.

Efforts by the U.S. Department of Education officials and the Data Quality Campaign to create clear-cut explanations for how student data will be protected, and how privacy plays an important role, are regular parts of data discussions. A number of federal laws and resources are designed to help protect data privacy, while at the same time ensuring data is used to inform teaching and learning.

On Nov. 19, DQC will release Data for Action 2013, the ninth in a report series detailing state efforts to use and safeguard student data. A primer on student data and privacy may be useful for educators and policymakers in the interim.

(Next page: Myths and facts about student data and privacy)


INFOGRAPHIC: Blended learning taking over schools


Blended learning now in 70 percent of all U.S. school districts

As education technology becomes even more prevalent, and more students and teachers call for personalized learning, blended learning in K-12 schools has boomed within the last decade. Here, you’ll find some startling statistics about blended learning, based on the most recent national reports.

View the infographic below to learn more about how Blended Learning has grown and adapted over the last few years–we’re fascinated by the results!

(The infographic is best viewed in either Chrome or Firefox. Want a larger view? Go to the link:


Can robots teach kids to code?

As technology has evolved, so too has the capability of our robotics, reports. At least that’s what former Google executive Vikas Gupta was banking on when he left the search engine to launch Play-i, a well-funded startup that uses toy robots to teach children to code. As recently reported by technology blog TechCrunch, Gupta’s latest venture — he sold his first company to Google for a reported $70 million in 2010 — has produced prototypes for two robots — Bo and Yana — both of which can be programmed to respond to simple commands via an app installed on your smartphone or tablet device…

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How 3 teachers are shaking up online learning

Not too long ago, Pearson (the ginormous education company – yes it’s a technical term) put out a few really interesting videos about teachers who are shaking up online learning, Edudemic reports. They’re talking about innovation in online learning – and not the innovation that has driven new technologies. They’re talking about the type of innovation that changes how teachers teach, how learners learn, and how information is delivered and processed. Each of the educators in the videos below have a unique approach to educating students in their virtual classrooms. Their video testimonials are inspiring, so check them out…

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Cloud classrooms: The next big thing in education

Following the trend of mass cloud adoption in other industries, educational institutions have started rapidly shifting to mobile learning and more interactive communication through cloud computing, TechBytesEdu reports. Even though there are still many educators who don’t feel very comfortable about adopting new technologies, it is obvious that the cloud is conquering educational institutions all over the world. Certainly, cloud computing has a lot to offer to schools and colleges – from simplifying administration and admission processes to enabling faster information access and easier communication. Here are some of the most important ways in which cloud technology positively affected current education transformation…

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Plug pulled on rural broadband projects in favour of BT

A rural broadband group planning to offer superfast net services in Oxfordshire has been told that the project cannot go ahead, the BBC has learned. A similar project in Dorset was turned down last month. It comes just weeks after a report criticised the government for wasting taxpayers’ money by giving all of its broadband funds to BT. Those involved are angry that BT will monopolise rural broadband rollouts. Both Oxfordshire and Dorset county councils have signed contracts with BT to provide broadband services to rural areas. These contracts mean that alternative schemes are no longer required. Having competition in the broadband market is important, think experts…

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Credit for MOOCs? Not so much

Less than 8 percent of colleges offer massive open online courses (MOOCs) for credit

mooc-creditFor all the consternation surrounding college credits offered for massive open online courses (MOOCs), there doesn’t seem to be a winding line of campus decision makers ready to adopt for-credit MOOCs.

Very few schools feel pressure to offer MOOCs for credit.

A comprehensive survey of U.S. higher education institutions showed that 7.8 percent of colleges and universities have offered the experimental MOOCs for college credit.

The survey, released in October by Primary Research Group, said that none of the institutions that awarded credit for MOOCs were community colleges. Most schools that award MOOC credits were private institutions, according to the survey.

Responses about credit-bearing MOOCs varied from school to school, according to the research.

“The responses suggest that a minority of colleges might be looking to accept MOOC credit in the near future if some kind of reassuring mechanism could be devised to assess knowledge gained through MOOCs and if the colleges feel sufficient pressure from state governments, accreditation bodies, and even the general student public,” the Primary Research Group report said.

Read the rest of this story by visiting eCampus News.


Schools signing up for the Hour of Code

Schools pledge to learn how to code and support computer science education

hour-codeHave you signed up for the Hour of Code? If you haven’t, chances are you know someone who has–more than 11,000 coding and computer science events are planned, involving nearly 1.8 million students in 144 countries.

The Hour of Code is an initiative that asks students, teachers, parents, and schools to introduce students to computer programming during Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek), Dec. 9-15, for just one hour. Activities include introductions that teach students coding basics, an intro to JavaScript, “Robot Vocabulary” and unplugged computer science, how to create your own app, and more.

Students are encouraged to sign up for the Hour of Code, and teachers are encouraged to highlight Hour of Code activities in their classrooms.

(Next page: Take our Hour of Code poll)


Contemporary online PD for educators

Smithsonian debuts Online Education Conferences; offers educators PD, digital badges

educators-PD-online Educators looking for a unique professional development (PD) experience that relates textbook curriculum to real-world events and current issues now have a new, free online opportunity thanks to the Smithsonian.

The Smithsonian Online Education Conference series is an interactive online webinar presented each month by Smithsonian experts, and can be used by educators looking for an innovative PD experience.

The entire series is available for free online so educators can pick the topics they want to implement into instruction at their convenience. The conferences cover a range of cross-curricular topics from astrophotography, to civil rights and the rainforest.

Educators can connect and follow the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #eSNPD

(Next page: Video and topics covered)


Sometimes, paid technology may be better than free

Sometimes, paying for technology might be better than using a free product

technology-paid-freeI am fortunate to speak to educators across the U.S. about student-centered learning and technology integration. It’s thrilling to see a teacher’s eyes light up when I share a powerful, free web tool. After all, what could be better than amazing technology that students love and that costs nothing to use?

The answer to this question, sometimes, is a web tool that comes with a fee. This may seem like a contradiction, but as much as I love free technology, what I hate is using an amazing free website or application, only to see it completely change later and move to an expensive fee-based model.

Educators can connect and follow the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #eSNBestPractices.

(Next page: Why it might be better to choose a fee-based technology)