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Central Source - Student Privacy in 21st Century

 

The on-line tools available today present many privacy challenges for schools

Student PrivacyIn today's classrooms the unbridled access to the Internet and explosion of online Educational Applications provides a wealth of learning opportunities for students and tools for teachers. At the same time this explosion of resources has presented the daunting challenge to schools to ensure the privacy of student data at all times. All online applications that students interact with collect, to varying degrees, student data. Regardless of whether the application is a district contracted application or a free classroom tool used by one teacher, the school has an obligation to vett the application for student data privacy concerns.

Recently there has been a rush of published news stories on this subject. The recent New York Times article, Privacy Pitfalls as Education Apps Spread Haphazardly illustrates well the potential privacy concerns.

There are a number of resources available to schools to help them navigate these new uncharted waters;

CoSN's Protecting Privacy in Connected Learning  
Data Quality Campaign's Who Uses Student Data  
US DOE Privacy and Technical Center's Model Terms of Service   
Student Data Principals

Student PrivacyAlthough all of these resources provide guidance for schools, none provide actual solutions. Until the K-12 EdTech industry evolves to the point where all vendors acknowledge the inherent privacy risks, and agree to conform to standards, the burden remains on the local schools to vett all applications for privacy issues. To do so, schools need to develop internal processes, policies and procedures as well as internal and external communication strategies around privacy issues. This can be a very daunting task for Charter Schools.

Central Source has expert Student Privacy staff that can assist schools address these very serious issues. Schools who are proactive at developing internal procedures and policies are much less likely to find themselves dealing with an embarrassing, and potentially high profile, student data leakage and privacy issue.

If you are interested in a Student Privacy Audit and policy/procedure development services please contact Central Source.