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Remote Learning in Action: Vetting Digital Resources

vetting digital resources
(Image credit: Ivy Nelson/Belton School District #124)

Remote Learning in Action is a new series of articles from attendees and speakers of Tech & Learning's events. Click here to learn more about these events and to apply to attend.

Where: Belton School District #124, Belton, Missouri

Who: Ivy Nelson, Education Technology Manager

Part of my job is vetting digital resources teachers would like to use with our curriculum and all of the "free resources" that companies are sending to teachers right now is proving to be a big job! Some are not COPPA compliant, and that could put teacher and student data at risk. I have vetted some of the "free" resources for school closures for our district and have a spreadsheet with links and more for teachers to refer to. 

We are using Zoom and Google Hangouts for virtual meetings for professional development with teachers and for teachers to use for video conferences with students. For example, we showed teachers how to create a screencast using QuickTime on their MacBooks.

For vetting resources the big things we look at are:

- COPPA Compliance

Is it allowed openly for students under 13, or is parent permission required? If parent permission is required, our district will not allow it as part of the curriculum. Teachers can, however, suggest it as a supplement if parents want to sign up their child. 

- FERPA Compliance

Protecting student data (best is to just NOT collect any PII from students)

- Data stored outside of US

If the company houses any data outside of the US, that's an automatic no from us.

For virtual PD, we try to be as succinct as possible. We have led some so far in Zoom meetings where teachers can interact and ask questions. 

We surveyed teachers on topics they would like and will use our team of tech integration specialists, instructional coaches, and Library media specialists, as well as other teacher tech leaders to host the Zoom PD sessions. We will record these sessions and house them in a district teacher PD course we have built in Canvas.