EDITOR’S NOTE: DATA DOUBTS

EDITOR’S NOTE: DATA DOUBTS

Suffice it to say that the editors here at Tech & Learning are pretty bullish on, well, technology and education. You won’t find any hand-wringing scare stories about dangerous devices in the classroom, lurking bogeymen on social media, or some sundry new tool that will subvert students from a “real” classroom experience; not that these aren’t reasonable issues with which to engage, it’s just that we believe the right approach is not to demonize.

One topic that does furrow our collective brow is that of student data privacy. A report released last month by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) lays out those worries in stark terms. The group surveyed over 1,000 stakeholders across the country, including students, parents, teachers, and school administrators. They also reviewed 152 school district edtech privacy policies in a yearlong effort to determine whether and how tech companies protect students’ privacy and their data. Their conclusion: “In short, technology providers are spying on students—and school districts, which often provide inadequate privacy policies or no privacy policy at all, are unwittingly helping them do it.”

I encourage you to download the report in our current issue online at techlearning.com or directly from the EFF (http://bit.ly/2oOH9fe). In the meantime, dig into the article on page 28, which was originally published just before the survey was released. Written by Gennie Gebhart, one of the EFF researchers, she interviews an anonymous district IT director, who expresses his or her own personal concerns: “We’re putting all our eggs in one basket that we’re not in control of,” he says, “We don’t know where this student data is going.”

Paranoid or prophetic? Be sure that these won’t be the last words on this topic at Tech & Learning.

—Kevin Hogan
Content Director
khogan@nbmedia.com

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