July 14, 2016

7/13: Student Privacy, Equity, and Digital Literacy News


Student Privacy, Equity, and Digital Literacy Newsletter

Week Five: July 13, 2016

The Youth and Media team at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society and the Data & Society Research Institute are proud to bring you this Student Privacy, Equity, and Digital Literacy newsletter on a bi-weekly basis. If you have suggestions or reflections, please send them our way—thanks for reading!


Student Data Privacy

EdTech’s Obligation to Ensure Student Data privacy
ExcelinEd released a report called “Building a Trusted Environment for Education Technology Products” charging the EdTech community with the task of ensuring student data privacy. Stressing the need to find balance between safeguarding student data and reaping the benefits of the use of student data, the report provided specific recommendations for EdTech vendors, including:

·      To embrace the principles of privacy by design;

·      To assess use cases and student data needs in order to minimize the need to use personally identifiable information;

·      To provide users with tools to manage student data;

·      To strengthen student data security practices;

·      To consider signing the Student Data Privacy Pledge; and

·      To include communication of their commitment to the privacy of student data.

ExcelinEd’s report provides a useful guide for EdTech vendors seeking to establish actionable and effective privacy standards within their technology.


Articles & Resources
The Enabling Connected Learning Initiative at Data & Society published an overview of student data privacy. The state of Wyoming introduced a student data privacy and transparency bill that aims to increase student data privacy protections. William McGeeran, advisory board member of the Future Privacy Forum, published Privacy and Data Protection Law. Dalia Topelson Ritvo, Assistant Director of Harvard Law School’s Cyberlaw Clinic, based at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, published Privacy and Student Data: An Overview of Federal Laws Impacting Student Information Collected through Networked Technologies. The DML Parenting for a Digital Future initiative recently published a policy brief that highlights the importance of not allowing fear to block children’s opportunities to benefit from digital technology. Alaska has decided not to require schools to use student performance data for teacher evaluations. The State of Connecticut Commission for Educational Technology released a webcast recording addressing the implications of a new Connecticut Act concerning student data privacy for school districts.

Data & Equity

Educators Using Data to Identify Students Who Are At-Risk of Dropping Out
Colorado teachers are manually looking through data to identify children who appear to be at-risk of dropping out in the future. The data they look out for is attendance, behavior, and grades - a tactic that uses factors shown to be associated with school drop out. Colorado teachers are not the first to leverage student data to intervene with at-risk students. California established an “early warning system” to identify middle school students at risk of dropping out in 2012, using attendance, behavioral, and performance data. In 2010, Tacoma School district in Washington used data analytics to predict students’ risk of dropout and intervene.


Happenings: GLSEN released a report addressing the gap in federal data on factors that contribute to the school-to-prison pipeline for LGBTQ students. Detroit School District - renowned for its crippling debt, lack of resources and high proportion of low income students- has been split into two separate systems. The Education Trust released a series of infographics that show that according to the latest National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) results for Black, Hispanic/Latino, and low-income students, Latino students are half as likely as white students to reach the proficient/advanced level in reading and math. Forest Lake Area School District in Minnesota compiled data to determine the efficacy of district practices and found disparity between students from low-income households and their peers.


Digital Literacy

New Voluntary K-12 Digital Literacy & Computer Science Standards for Massachusetts K-12 Schools
Late last month, the MA Board of Elementary and Secondary Education unanimously approved a new Digital Literacy and Computer Science (DLCS) Curriculum Framework, which has four tracks: “‘Computing and Society,’ digital tools and collaboration, computing systems[,] and computational thinking.”  Some of the key topics covered include appropriate and inappropriate behavior online, cyberbullying, and reputation development. Some basic takeaways from key intellectual property laws, as well as an awareness of equity issues in the digital word, are also covered. The Standards envision that instruction of these and related concepts will begin as early as kindergarten and continue  into high school, by which point students would be able to “‘cultivate a positive web presence’” and “design and develop a ‘significant digital artifact.’” The Massachusetts Computing Attainment Network (MassCan) will work with districts on implementation. Coming down the Pike: elementary school curricular modules from the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Education Development Center, supported by a multi-year, multi-million dollar grant from the National Science Foundation “that integrate computational thinking in math and science classes.”  

Happenings: Education Week hosted an online chat on July 7 about the Maker Movement in K-12 learning. Education Week also released its new Technology Counts report, which found that “teachers who are least confident in educational technology tend to work in high-poverty and urban schools.” Code for America is accepting fellowship applications through July 15 for fellows to “develop digital tools that help cities and counties deliver key public services across health, economic development, and safety and justice.” The World Youth Report on Youth Civic Engagement, which “explores young people's participation in economic, political and community life, responding to growing interest in, and an increased policy focus on, youth civic engagement in recent years,” will be presented on July 15 at UN Headquarters, New York; event details here. The Capturing Connected Learning in Libraries Project, which “aims to enable libraries to better assess learning outcomes for their connected learning programs and boost their ability to use evaluation data to improve their programs,” has received funding to launch.  More from ISTE 2016: Dell announced the new “Dell Classroom . . . a Chrome-based [software] solution designed to help integrate the various digital devices students and teachers now bring to the classroom.” Sneak preview: in October 2016, Richard Arum will present “Connecting Youth: Lessons from Five Years of Mixed Method DML Research,” which will share “‘findings on positive outcomes associated with connected learning practices as well as opportunities and challenges around connected youth programming.’”