A National Look at Student Data Privacy Legislation

As the legislative session wraps up, student data privacy bills are headed to the books in 20 states.

State policymakers introduced 110 bills on student data privacy in 36 states this session, with 30 of them passing both houses and 24 being signed into law, according to an analysis by the Data Quality Campaign. Four companion bills were not signed into law because they did the same thing that their counterparts did in the other house, and two bills in California are still on the governor’s desk for review.

These bills tackled biometric, social and personal information, and they generally fall into two types of approaches: governance and prohibitive. Some bills included a mix of both types, but the ones that focused more on data governance tended to make it into law, said Rachel Anderson, associate for policy analysis and research at the Data Quality Campaign.

“A lot of the bills that are going to have the greatest impact in states are those that are looking very carefully at the value of data and really looking at what the state can be doing with the data to help students,” Anderson said.

Quite a few states built off of each other’s language, and the Idaho, Colorado and West Virginia bills are based on Oklahoma’s HB 1989 that passed last year, Anderson said. Colorado’s new law, HB 1294, requires the state’s Department of Education to publish both an index of the types of data they use and privacy policies that lay out who has access to the data and what students’ and parents’ data rights are. It also requires the creation of data retention and destruction policies and guidance for school districts and staff about data use.

In West Virginia, HB 4316 mandates that the state’s Department of Education publish a data inventory, privacy policies and procedures, and a data security plan, among other things. The bill also establishes a data governance manager position appointed by the state superintendent that will be responsible for the department’s privacy policy.

This flurry of legislative action stems from a number of incidents and activities in the last year that have driven the public to associate data with bad things, said Thomas Murray, state and district digital learning director at the Alliance for Excellent Education, who testified before Congress on student data privacy in June. These incidents include a high-profile Target breach, the National Security Agency “spying” incident, and increased awareness of school and state collection of student data for accountability purposes. As a result, parents and legislators have been looking for answers about what happens with their children’s data.

With more schools and states contracting with online education companies, legislators saw a need to lay out practices and procedures for these contracts, particularly with the news that Google mined student email for advertising purposes until earlier this year. Twelve new state laws spell out what those third-party contracts need to include, established procedures for security breach notification and data deletion, and prohibited companies from advertising to and selling data from students.

“The good thing that we’ve seen is that the bills haven’t been overarching to the point of limiting classroom instruction,” said Murray, a former classroom teacher, principal and technology director.

While schools need the services that these education technology companies provide, they also need to ensure that the student data stored on them is protected. In light of these new laws, Murray recommends that technology directors and other administrators do the following:

  1. Review third-party contracts carefully to identify how student data will be kept secure and what happens to student data when the contract ends.
  2. Educate teachers so they understand how to keep sensitive data secure and within the guidelines of privacy legislation including the federal FERPA law.

When administrators communicate what’s happening with data clearly and effectively, parents and the public are more likely to be on board, Murray said. Transparency is important, and it helps to allay the fears of parents and make sure they know what’s going on. And data transparency is what most of these bills are all about.

While many bills went through state legislatures this year, Anderson cautioned that student data privacy will pop up in the next legislative session as lawmakers take a closer look at issues such as biometric data. Many of the 14 states with new laws that address biometrics will have to deal with it again in the future as they consider ways that special education programs use biometric data with students.

“Privacy is not a one-time activity,” Anderson said. “This is going to be an ongoing conversation for states, and an important one.”

“Privacy is not a one-time activity,” Anderson said. “This is going to be an ongoing conversation for states, and an important one.”

Look at a Google Map of Student Data Privacy Legislation 2014 with Descriptions and Bill Links

Read the article by Tanya Roscorla on the Center for Digital Education at http://www.centerdigitaled.com/news/A-National-Look-at-Student-Data-Privacy-Legislation.html

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E-learning more about education, less about tech

Using high-tech gadgets simply as means of delivering learning content not enough, experts say

Thomas Reeves, a professor emeritus of Learning, Design and Technology at the University of Georgia, speaks Wednesday during the e-Learning Korea 2014 conference at Coex in southern Seoul. (e-Learning Korea 2014)

With the flow of high-tech gadgets into education, many thought that e-readers are on track to replace paper textbooks completely.

This appeared to be the thinking behind the comments of U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan when he said, “Over the next few years, textbooks should be obsolete,” and South Korea’s recent policy to expand the use of digital textbooks.

But Thomas Reeves, a professor emeritus of Learning, Design, and Technology at the University of Georgia, said that focusing primarily on the technological aspect of digitized learning will not be enough to enhance the quality of education.

“Technologies, media are vehicles for instructional methods. Instructional methods are what account for learning,” he said. “It has zero impact, per se, by itself.” Reeves said during his keynote speech at e-Learning Korea 2014. During the two-day conference at Coex in southern Seoul, scholars from around the world shared their views on recent trends in e-learning such as Massive Open Online Courses and Flipped Learning.

Much of the focus of existing research on e-learning today emphasizes “things” like how to utilize smart devices, Reeves said. Technology is important, but not the most crucial aspect of digital learning, he said.

Reeves likened the various means of education to taking aspirin: No matter what way you deliver the drug, it is the acid compound that relieves the pain. As long as the course materials and teaching methods are kept the same, there are no significant differences in the outcome.

Although the actual focus should be on the pedagogy, Reeves said some people continue to assume that technology will be enough to improve education.

Reeves said rather than focusing on “things,” like how to use gadgets to teach content, e-learning research should be more about “problems” impairing the learning process. They include ineffective teaching, poor learner motivation, failure to engage learners and a lack of preparation for the real world.

In his book “A Guide to Authentic E-learning,” he said that designers of an e-learning environment should focus on being careful not to make their courses so that the learner has to find one right answer to the tasks, and the educator simply delivers re-packaged knowledge and assesses how much the student knows.

Instead the ideal model would have robust objectives, content providing multiple perspectives, experimental instructional designs, and authentic tasks. The technology should provide authentic simulations with problems related to the real world, and the role of an educator should be a mentor and a facilitator rather than trainer in both teaching and assessment.

In spite of the shortcomings, e-learning has the potential to take education to the next level. In addition to delivering learning content to more people faster and cheaper, technology allows students from all over the world to collaborate online with each other, said Reeves.

“They learn about other cultures, they learn how to communicate with other cultures. To me that’s one of the most important outcomes of 21st century education,” he said.

Read the entire article by Yoon Min-sik on the Korea Herald at http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20140918000767

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Wanted: Long-Term Thinking about Technology and Education

Educators need to think long-term about the role of technology in learning

The rampant spread of technology-mediated learning has set off fits of hype and hand-wringing—yet the U.S.’s traditional centers of higher education have mostly failed to confront the pace of change and the implications for students. There is probably no way anyone can keep up with this transformation: the technology is simply evolving too rapidly. Nevertheless, we keep trying. Will these developments truly serve our goals for advanced education? We need to know urgently.

But reacting too quickly could be as bad as adapting too slowly. As soon as the newest experiment in higher-learning technology is announced, would-be experts race to declare its success or failure. Even if their snap guesses prove correct in the near term, any alleged breakthrough will likely be sent to the scrapyard before long to make way for the next educational techno-marvel. Given what we know about the progress of technology, we need to ask which advances will persist longer than a few months.

Higher learning has three fundamental objectives: knowledge dissemination, intellectual development and “experiential growth”—mental maturation, in other words. As the field of educational technology grows, these functions must all be addressed.

The first item—dissemination of knowledge—has traditionally been the province of classrooms and lecture halls. Nowadays even the most venerated names in education are touting what they call MOOCs. These “massive open online courses” are the online equivalent of brick-and-mortar lecture halls, only with better functionality (such as the ability to pause and rewind), free tuition and unlimited seating.

The second priority is students’ intellectual development. People often assume, mistakenly, that this area is beyond the scope of technological improvement. They see no substitute for the one-on-one student-teacher bond exemplified by the high-touch methods of the so-called Oxbridge tutorial system. But can even a very good mentor offset the shortcomings of most present-day institutions, where instruction is delivered course by course, with no core curriculum?

The third and final task remains the big challenge for educational technology: personal development via experiential learning. For students, this is the lifelong process of becoming a more cultured, accomplished and compassionate human being. Traditional universities try to help students along through hands-on work in laboratories and apprenticeships, and they encourage undergraduates to take summer internships and spend semesters abroad. Nevertheless, students mostly remain anchored to their campuses. Even now technology should make it possible for a student to use the world as her or his campus.

Given the technological transformation taking place on all sides, universities need to think seriously about their medium-term strategic plans. What will universities look like in 2025? The changes will be consequential—so consequential, in fact, that stalling could jeopardize the future of higher education.

Read the entire article by Ben Nelson in Scientific American at http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/wanted-long-term-thinking-about-technology-and-education/

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$1000 Scholarships for Amazon Rainforest PD Workshop

Educator Academy in the Amazon Rainforest + Machu Picchu

The July 1-11, 2015 Educator Academy in the Amazon Rainforest of Peru is a cross-curricular professional development workshop for K-12 formal and informal educators to learn and use:

  • 21st Century Instruction:  5E Lesson Design ~ Inquiry-Based Exploration ~ STEM
  • Inquiry Protocols & Resources:  Project Learning Tree ~ Cornell Lab of Ornithology ~ & More!
  • Global and Cultural Perspectives:  Service Learning ~ Sustainability ~ Global Education

Join Al Stenstrup, Project Learning Tree (PLT); Lilly Briggs (Cornell Lab of Ornithology), Christa Dillabaugh, Amazon Rainforest Workshops; and Dr. David Pearson, Wildlife Travellers’ Guide to Peru; and work side-by-side with scientists Dr. Steve Madigosky, Widener University; and Randy Morgan, Curator/Entomologist, Cincinnati Zoo as you:

  • Participate in citizen science projects and inquiry based field studies on a 1/4-mile Rainforest Canopy Walkway in one of the most biologically diverse environments on the planet.
  • Spend a day in an Amazon village as you explore the complexities of sustainability and the role of education in creating a sustainable future for Amazon children.
  • Work with fellow educators to explore strategies for using the Amazon as a vehicle for incorporating STEM education, inquiry-based learning, and sustainability science education into your classroom.

PLT Certification, BirdSleuth resources and 50 ASU PD Hours included. Academic Credit and Machu Picchu Extension optional.  $1000 scholarship deadline March 1, 2015.  Program cost is $1240 + air for scholarship recipients. Space is limited! Register early to secure your spot!

Get the details and download a syllabus and scholarship application at: http://www.amazonworkshops.com/educator-academy.html
Contact christa at amazonworkshops.com or 1-800-431-2624 for more information.

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Updates to the Smarter Balanced Technology Pages

To prepare schools and districts across the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium for successful implementation of the Smarter Balanced assessment system, a variety of updates have been made to the Technology page of the Smarter Balanced website. The Technology page on SmarterBalanced.org has received a significant refresh. Perhaps most notably, the Technology Strategy Framework and Testing Device Requirements and accompanying Executive Summary have been updated to reflect the most current technology requirements for administration of the assessments. This report presents a framework for collective technology planning among the schools and districts of Consortium member states and emphasizes the critical need for technology to be used and integrated into instructional activities that support student learning. The Smarter Balanced Assessment System minimum requirements can be used as context and milestones for integrated technology used for teaching and learning.

Smarter Balanced has also developed a new page to provide schools and technology coordinators with a comprehensive list of Test-Taking Devices and Approved Secure Browsers. On both technology pages, you should check out the right navigation sidebar. There are highlighted resources developed by SETDA, CoSN, and ETS to help schools and districts prepare for their upcoming online assessments.

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Ask your Superintendent to sign the #FutureReady Pledge?

The U.S. Department of Education just released the Future Ready District Pledge, a roadmap to help districts achieve success in the transition to personalized digital learning.

The pledge establishes a framework for achieving the goals laid out in President Obama’s ConnectEd Initiative. These goals include:
• Upgrading broadband and high-speed wireless connectivity
• Providing access to educational devices and software
• Training teachers to use technology effectively to improve student learning
District leaders that sign the Future Ready District Pledge will receive implementation guidance, access to online resources, and other support needed to transition to effective digital learning and achieve tangible outcomes for the students they serve.

Before the full launch of the Future Ready District Pledge at White House on October 7th, we are hoping to have at least 1,000 signatories with representation from all 50 states. In order to reach our goal, here are a few ways you can help:
1. Read and sign the pledge!
2. Challenge other superintendents in your network to sign the Future Ready District Pledge by encouraging them to visit: http://tech.ed.gov/FutureReadyPledge
3. Share the Future Ready District Pledge via social media. You can use the messages (below) or write your own.
Thank you for your support and for sharing the Future Ready District Pledge.

#FutureReady sample tweets:

Let’s make our district #FutureReady. Visit tech.ed.gov/FutureReadyPledge to read & sign the @OfficeofEdTech #FutureReady pledge!

Want #FutureReady schools? Read & sign the #FutureReady pledge today tech.ed.gov/FutureReadyPledge @OfficeEdTech

What is a Future Ready School?  Find out at tech.ed.gov/FutureReadyPledge and sign on today #FutureReady @OfficeOfEdTech

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Free MOOC-Ed Courses from the Friday Institute: Registration Open

Registration is now open for these free MOOC-Eds, and CEUs can be earned by taking the course.  The Learning Differences MOOC-Ed is primarily designed for teachers in their first three years of practice to help them understand how to approach and meet the needs of their students.  It brings together job-embedded opportunities for educators with participation by many experts in the field.  The other MOOC-Ed courses, Disciplinary Literacy for Deeper Learning and Fraction Foundations, are aligned to the Common Core State Standards that focus on those individual topics.   Course descriptions and starting dates are given below.

Fraction Foundations   Begins September 22

This eight-week course will help you teach fractions concepts and skills more effectively by increasing your understanding of students’ thinking and implementing research-based approaches in the classroom. Designed for elementary teachers, math coaches and teacher educators, this course will address rigorous curriculum standards for fractions, whether from the Common Core State Standards or from other up-to-date standards.

Disciplinary Literacy for Deeper Learning   Begins September 29

This six-week course will explore what it means to read, write, speak, and listen for learning and creating knowledge within a discipline. Designed specifically for teacher educators and 6-12th grade teachers in English and Language Arts, Science, History or Social Studies, and Mathematics, this course is open to all educators in K-12 and postsecondary levels interested in learning more about disciplinary literacy for deeper learning. Additionally, this course provides an optional PLC Facilitation Guide to assist teams as they work through the MOOC-Ed together.

Learning Differences    Begins October 6

This six-week long course will explore the habits of mind and problem-solving tools that a teacher should have in order to address all students’ learning differences. The course encourages teachers to understand their own learning differences and includes strategies for learning differences in executive function, working memory, and motivation.  Instructional coaches, media coordinators, and teacher leaders will have the opportunity to participate in an additional two units focused on strategies for coaching and supporting other teachers in their work with learning differences.

Not sure what to expect from a MOOC-Ed course? Check out this one-minute video:   mooc-ed.org/what-is-mooc-ed

More information is available on our new website at www.mooc-ed.org.

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