Promethean Announces iKeepSafe Student Data Privacy Certification in the U.S. for ClassFlow Software

 Promethean®, a leading global education technology company, today at TCEA 2021 announced its ClassFlow platform had received iKeepSafe certification renewal. The certifications for FERPA, COPPA, and California (Student Privacy – CSPC) mean that ClassFlow has been assessed by iKeepSafe and meets iKeepSafe’s rigorous standards. iKeepSafe assesses and certifies for compliance with U.S. federal and state privacy laws, helping to eliminate privacy concerns during remote, hybrid, or in-person teaching.

Promethean’s ClassFlow enhances remote learning as a cloud-based lesson delivery service with advanced collaboration tools for student engagement. ClassFlow keeps remote, hybrid, and in-person students interested in interactive lessons, activities, quizzes, and thousands of immersive resources, lessons, and activities from educators worldwide. It also helps teachers deliver dynamic lessons to students’ devices and brings interactive classroom displays to life for effective hybrid learning. As ClassFlow is cloud-based, it can be accessed anytime and anywhere.

iKeepSafe privacy certifications ensure that edtech products are compliant and demonstrate responsible privacy, safety, and security practices. ClassFlow received the following certifications:…Read More

The Social Institute Unveils Curriculum for 4th Graders on SEL

 The Social Institute today announced that it has expanded its pioneering social-emotional learning curriculum to meet the needs of fourth grade students, available beginning in January of 2021. The developmentally appropriate lessons come after requests from schools, and will focus on The Social Institute’s Seven Social Standards, which serve as a set of guiding principles for social media and tech use. Examples of standards include: Protect Your Privacy Like You’re Famous, Strike A Balance, and Find Your Influencers.

Surveys reveal the average age kids get cell phones is ten years old, and exposure to mobile devices begins at a much younger age. Further, most parents report technology use has become more prevalent in the last year as schools and families turned to technology to assist with remote learning activities during COVID-19.

“Ten-year-old students today have more information in the palm of their hands than any previous generation,” said Micah Adams, Head of Content at The Social Institute. “Combine that with the fact that they now use technology as a primary means to connect with one another, and it’s clear that we need to be empowering and equipping this age group with the skills they need to succeed in today’s digital world. Nobody gets behind the wheel of a car without first learning the rules of the road and then discussing and practicing potential scenarios with adults. Why should this be any different?”…Read More

Research Shows the Need for More Support to Protect Privacy and Advance Digital Equity

The Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) today released a new report — with accompanying survey findings — that reflect the urgent need to provide improved student privacy support to teachers, parents, and students. Almost half of teachers report they have received no substantive training on data privacy, and only four in 10 parents say their schools discussed their data protection practices. Despite that, parents and teachers report favorable opinions of the continued use of education technology even after the pandemic ends.

The report, titled “Protecting Students’ Privacy and Advancing Digital Equity,” is based on significant data collection and outlines steps education leaders and policymakers should take. These include prioritizing privacy-focused teacher training and proactively communicating with parents about how schools are protecting their children’s data. Additionally, leaders can reduce inequity through closing the digital divide while protecting privacy, and scale up the good practices of special educators, a standout from their peers, to protect all students. The recommendations were shaped by surveys and focus groups commissioned by CDT. View the findings here.

“It can be easy to overlook hard-to-see issues like digital safety and student privacy during a time of crisis like COVID-19,” said CDT CEO Alexandra Givens. “But as our research shows, safety and privacy are vital concerns, and the vast majority of teachers and parents support more online learning even after the pandemic. It’s critical that policymakers, schools, teachers, and parents work together to protect students.”…Read More

Encrypt Email and Attachments

Today, and in the coming days, data privacy will become even more important as the need to collaborate and share data securely increases. For many, data protection is not a choice, it is a legal and operational requirement.

To better support organizations hit especially hard by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Virtru is offering the following through June 30, 2020:

  • K-12 Education institutions and organizations supporting the defense and intelligence mission may receive unlimited complimentary licenses.
  • Any Healthcare, State and Local Government, or Nonprofit organization may take advantage of up to five complimentary licenses.

For more information visit https://www.virtru.com/covid-19/…Read More

IT leaders, admins still fear network attacks

Balancing access to educational resources with security needs remains a top challenge for school district IT leaders, according to new findings from the Speak Up Research Project for Digital Learning.

Seventy-one percent of district administrators and IT leaders are concerned about the security of their network against malicious attacks or misbehavior, as outlined in the data, which comes from a collaboration between the nonprofit Project Tomorrow and cloud security provider iboss.

The top concern with cloud applications among technology leaders is ensuring data privacy (58 percent).…Read More

What is COPPA?

The Children’s Online Privacy and Protection Act, more commonly known as COPPA, is a law dealing with how websites, apps, and other online operators collect data and personal information from kids under the age of 13.

COPPA has a number of requirements, but some key ones are that tech companies making apps, websites, and online tools for kids under 13 must:

  • provide notice and get parental consent before collecting information from kids;
  • have a “clear and comprehensive” privacy policy;
  • and keep information they collect from kids confidential and secure.
    (Source: Complying with COPPA: Frequently Asked Questions)

For a more detailed, yet still accessible, overview of the law, you can also check out EdWeek’s “COPPA and Schools: The (Other) Federal Student Privacy Law, Explained.” The article gets into the somewhat confusing and contentious issue of whether or not schools can stand in for kids’ parents when giving consent. In short, schools can grant COPPA consent if—here’s the tricky part—the tool is used solely for an educational purpose. As the FTC explains in its COPPA FAQs, the information collected must be “for the use and benefit of the school, and for no other commercial purpose.” And it can often be hard to tell exactly where that line is drawn.…Read More

5 different ways IT directors handle student data privacy

Student data privacy is a hot-button issue. In the last five years, according to Amelia Vance, director of education privacy & policy counsel at the Future of Privacy Forum (FPF), over 600 bills on the topic have been introduced and 125 new laws have passed in about 40 states. “Unfortunately, the vast majority of those laws came with no resources, funding, or support to implement them. I give a lot of credit to the leading district CIOs and CTOs who have stepped up and fulfilled the promise of the laws,” says Vance, who also runs FERPA|Sherpa, the Education Privacy Resource Center that has loads of resources online.

Vance encourages district leaders to start by training every person in your district who has access to information about the importance of privacy and protecting that information. “Most of the issues that arise are because of human error,” she says. “Email attachments that shouldn’t be sent out get sent; web pages go live that shouldn’t; people forget to lock their computer.” Recently, she heard about a district that posted its school safety plans online before the school board meeting; no one noticed they included the private medical information of students and teachers who would need assistance in a school safety emergency.

In 2019, a lot of general privacy laws may pass that will unintentionally apply to schools. Vance suggests keeping an eye on any privacy bills that come up in your state because they may accidentally cover you and give you additional responsibilities. She says you can keep updated by Googling your state + consumer privacy act. You can also bookmark the FPF and FERPA|Sherpa websites, as they’ll be keeping track of the news.…Read More

6 reasons why district-wide tech implementations are the right choice

In any given K-12 district, you’ll find at least some teachers choosing their own edtech products. Why? If their district hasn’t shown tech leadership, there are no shortage of tempting free apps to choose from. Why not fly solo, so to speak?

But that’s contrary to what districts have come to learn over time: that students and their parents benefit most when all teachers in a district are assessing and reporting on students using a common, approved set of tools and schemes.

In some instances, teachers independently using their own technology can work out well. But teachers run multiple risks when finding solutions to use on their own that aren’t integrated into the district’s systems or procedures. Without centralized budgetary or student-privacy management, teacher-sourced software in classrooms is getting some teachers and their districts into trouble.…Read More

Report: 4 security recommendations to keep student data safe

Educators have relied on data to make informed decisions for as long as it’s been available (the foundations of standardized testing got its start in the 19th century).

For much of that time, the main worry was whether or not that data was being accurately interpreted. Technology, of course, has radically improved how we collect and analyze data, but has thrown a new wrench into its use — mainly regarding ethics, privacy, and safety.

Chief among these concerns are breaches into school systems and accidental data leaks, according to a new report on data privacy from the Southern Regional Education Board, a collective that works with K-12 and higher ed policy leaders in 16 southern states. The report, titled Data Privacy and Security, mentions a number of pressing concerns regarding education data and makes several recommendations for how states and education agencies can stay safe and transparent as they collect, govern, and share student data.…Read More

Bloomz announces new features at ISTE 2016

The teacher-parent communication app will be free for schools and introduces student timelines, behavior tracking, and video support

Just in time for ISTE 2016, the teacher-parent communication app Bloomz is announcing a major award and introducing new features, including offering its basic schoolwide product for free.

The American Association of School Librarians (AASL) recently named Bloomz a Best Website for Teaching & Learning in the Social Networking and Communications category. “Members of the Best Websites committee were very impressed by Bloomz,” said AASL President Leslie Preddy. “The site combines the features of several collaboration and social media platforms in order to optimize communication with parents. Bloomz’s ‘one-stop shop’ opens a window into the classroom that today’s parents expect—while protecting student privacy. One committee member said, ‘Honestly, I wish it had existed when I was a classroom teacher!’”

Bloomz also announced four new updates that will be coming to its mobile and web app in time for the upcoming school year:
• Student Timelines: As teachers share pictures of a students’ work, parents will now see a portfolio or timeline of their child’s creations, and watch them evolve over time. The feature is similar to that of a Facebook timeline view for every student over time, across all activities. This feature is scheduled to launch in August.
• Behavior Tracking: This feature helps teachers send home reports of how students behave in class. Taking a cue from the app’s name and to reinforce positive student behavior, “blooming” flowers will be used to provide parents a pictorial representation of their child’s behavior throughout the school year. Behavior tracking will also be available in August.
• Video support: This feature has been the most requested by Bloomz users. Now, teachers will be able to record moments from the classroom and share them directly on Bloomz, where parents can watch and enjoy them. Video support will be available starting in September.
• Free for schools: Bloomz is also making its current basic schoolwide communication product (currently in beta until the new school year), free for schools moving forward.…Read More

Top 5 IT and technology trends for 2016

Libraries, connectivity, and more are big issues for IT professionals

tech-trends

Chief technology officers and IT professionals in the K-12 field have a lot on their collective plates these days, what with the continued proliferation of technology in their schools, new governmental programs and compliance requirements, and the push to effectively integrate their technology in the classroom. Here are five key trends that CTOs will be watching and reacting to in 2016:

The modernized E-rate program. Since it was established 18 years ago, the E-rate program has focused on connecting schools and libraries to the internet. Now, the FCC’s Second E-rate Modernization Order (adopted December 2014) will address the connectivity gap — particularly in rural areas — maximize high-speed connectivity purchasing options, extend the program’s budget through 2019, and increase the E-rate funding cap to $3.9 billion. Keith R. Krueger, CEO at CoSN – the Consortium for School Networking, said the fact that the modernized E-rate hones in on broadband and more robust networks is a net positive for K-12 IT departments and their CTOs. “Many networks for learning were designed under scarcity, and by managing bandwidth and telling people what they can’t do,” Krueger explained. “Now, we may be able to flip the conversation and look at what it takes to enable the learning that we truly envision.”…Read More