Advancing data sharing and security for learning
The gap continues to widen between investment in education technology and investment in the systems, supports, and social practices we need for successful edtech implementations. This edtech investment gap is starkly evident with how we collect, share, and use student data.
Edtech increasingly blurs the lines between learning in school, home, community, and online environments. Data systems must extend beyond school walls to effectively support this anytime/anywhere learning, adding new layers of complexity. As student data systems become more advanced, concerns about privacy, security, and use are snowballing. Scores of bills on student data privacy have been introduced into state legislatures, the edtech sector is grappling with the issues, companies are attempting to respond, and the Feds are considering action.
Amidst the focus on data privacy, advancing how we use and share data to support learning is getting shortchanged. This is why I was eager to participate in a national task force that StriveTogether convened on effective data protection and use. The report from our task force was released last week. Student Data Privacy Best Practices: Five Ways Community Organizations Can Ensure Effective and Responsible Data Use, includes recommendations for how schools and community organizations can protect student privacy while using data to collaboratively support student learning.
As schools and community partners implement these best practices it is critical that families and students are included as equal partners in data sharing. We need to evolve beyond data systems being something that are done to and about students and their families and instead have systems be implemented with and for students and their families. Applying these 7 Principles to Shift the Pendulum on Testing to data systems is a good place to start.
Collaboration among schools and community organizations is essential, but we need to go further to ensure data systems put students and parents in the driver’s seat for learning.