Blackbaud signs pledge to respect student data privacy

National pledge outlines expectations to safeguard student data and privacy

student-privacyBlackbaud has signed the Student Privacy Pledge created by the Future of Privacy Forum (FPF) and the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA).

FPF and SIIA developed the Pledge to safeguard student privacy in the collection, maintenance and use of personal information.

The Student Privacy Pledge for K-12 school service providers outlines a set of clear and concise expectations that parents and education officials have for safeguarding student data.…Read More

When data, privacy, and communication converge, schools are caught in the middle

Ed-tech stakeholders debate data privacy standards during SXSWedu

data-privacyStudent data holds enormous potential to inform instruction and help students take ownership of their learning, but privacy and security concerns often impede progress when it comes to using data—and developing a common set of practices and standards might help.

During a discussion at SXSWedu, panelists addressed the numerous ways in which data can be applied to teaching and learning, and they identified areas in which parents, educators, school leaders, and policymakers must work together to use valuable data while keeping sensitive information private and secure.

The idea of using educational data has become more important and high-profile in recent years, but privacy concerns have somewhat stalled the process.…Read More

10 data safety principles every school should be following

Are you following this checklist of best practices for safe data collection and use?

data-principlesThe Consortium for School Networking and the Data Quality Campaign have released a new set of 10 principles to help guide schools in protecting the student data they store. The guidelines spell out dos and don’ts of collecting and storing data as well as best practices for sharing and using them appropriately.

For example, the new guidelines suggest limiting access to student data, collecting only what’s necessary, and providing training to anyone coming in contact with it. Suggestions for proper governance is also included.

CoSN and the Data Quality Campaign were joined by 30 national education organizations representing parents, teachers, principals, superintendents, state boards of education, chief technology officers and others in drafting and approving the guidelines—the first of their kind.…Read More

7 data-sharing resources for schools

New resource aims to create a roadmap for complex data partnerships

data-DQCEducators now have access to a playbook created as an effort to help school districts develop data-driven initiatives for student support and achievement.

“Data Drives School-Community Collaboration: Seven Principles for Effective Data Sharing,” a collaboration between the Data Quality Campaign and StriveTogether, also focuses on putting complex data partnerships in place.

“Effective data sharing between schools and communities is crucial to improve decision making at all levels and address the underlying challenges facing children,” said Chris Kingsley, associate director of local policy and advocacy at the Data Quality Campaign.…Read More

Admins target metrics with new analytics dashboard

Tool allows schools to look beyond just test scores; schools select which metrics to track, all in one view

analytics-dashboardPanorama Education, which partners with K-12 schools to collect and analyze feedback from teachers, parents and students, has launched a new Leadership Dashboard designed to provide principals and superintendents with a comprehensive view into the metrics that matter in their school or district.

This new data analytics tool is the first of its kind in the market, and is Panorama’s first big move beyond surveys. The Leadership Dashboard has been beta tested in more than 300 K-12 schools, and will be rolled out to thousands more this spring, including 5 of the 50 largest school districts in the U.S.

Christopher Rau, vice principal at Windsor High School in Windsor, Conn., is one of the school administrators using Panorama’s Leadership Dashboard and school-level reports.…Read More

Student Privacy Pledge racks up signatures

More and more ed-tech companies have signed on to honor responsible privacy practices

privacy-pledgeThe Student Privacy Pledge, a list of 12 commitments that school service providers have made to affirm K-12 student information is kept private and secure, has grown to include 108 signatures from ed-tech companies, according to the Future of Privacy Forum (FPF) and the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA).

The Pledge was launched in October 2014 with 14 signatory companies, grew to 75 by early January, and has now reached a milestone – surpassing 100 signatories. The recent increase was fueled in part by President Obama’s strong support of the Pledge, announced on January 12th as part of a suite of policy proposals designed to further student privacy.

Unlike proposed legislative or regulatory actions, which may not go into effect for some period of time, the Pledge is binding and enforceable as soon as each company signs it. Signatory companies are listed online at…Read More

Will big data jobs go unfilled?

Data experts convene to create profile of the “big data specialist” position, which is predicted to be in high demand if data skills remain untaught

big-dataStudents at both the K-12 and university levels should learn how to handle and interpret big data, but to do this, educators at both levels must be comfortable using and teaching about big data.

Big data is quickly becoming one of the most important fields, and workers who are able to handle, analyze, and interpret data will be in high demand in the workforce. And this need is critical in education, from students who must know how to use data as part of learning, to educators who should be able to interpret student data.

“At the university level, [professors] see this huge need for people who have the training to work with big data, so they’re creating training programs, certifications, graduate programs, and even whole new departments,” said Ruth Krumhansl, director of the Education Development Center’s Oceans of Data Institute (ODI). “What they’re saying is that this is a whole new field requiring knowledge from many different disciplines.”…Read More

5 ways to make progress with student data

Data and education experts tackled this contentious issue at a national leadership summit

student-dataTransparency is one of the first, and most important, steps in ensuring that conversations about student data use–and keeping that data secure and private–remain open and productive.

Collecting and using student data is a hotly-debated topic in today’s school, and a panel of education experts and stakeholders outlined a handful of steps that can help school leaders, educators, and parents better understand exactly how student data privacy and security are handled.

During the State Educational Technology Directors Association’s (SETDA) Leadership Summit in Arlington, Va., five actions emerged as the most important when it comes to delicate and necessary conversations about student data.…Read More

5 data protection policies for the new school year

Keeping sensitive data and student information secure is a top priority

data-securityStudent data is a hot topic these days, and as the new school year kicks off, educators and school leaders are examining their data storage and data security practices to ensure that sensitive student information remains private and secured.

Most school information security approaches are multi-layered and come together from different angles to offer protection from a variety of threats.

Schools deal with sensitive and private student information—information that is necessary to connect students with the right resources and opportunities. As the new school year begins, a quick data security refresher can help educators use, and protect, sensitive student information.…Read More

6 questions to ask about data

Data–including big data and learning analytics–has incredible potential for teaching and learning

data-analyticsThe term “big data” is everywhere and, in a nutshell, is the term used today to describe large collections of data that companies use to personalize their products and services.

But what does this concept mean for K-12 education? Well, for starters, increased knowledge of individual students can lead to personalized teaching and learning. This is called learning analytics, which involves using big data for educational purposes, as defined by the New Media Consortium K-12 Horizon Report. The report is produced in collaboration with the Consortium for School Newtworking (CoSN), which recently released a report that examines, in-depth, learning analytics’ potential.

School districts already use data, but learning analytics would enable educators to use this data to a greater extent, examining what the report calls “student-level data” and using that information to determine how students are learning, what might help them learn better, and what teacher practices are or are not having an impact on this learning.…Read More