Education Framework Blog

Focused on the Future of Education in America

2016: The Year of Student Privacy


If we had to use one word to sum up the current state of student privacy, we would have to go with “complexity.” Technology has become more and more entwined in our schools and into students’ lives; pilot programs like iPads will soon become standard at every school and grade level. Elementary school children who used to learn the Three Rs are now learning things like programming, robotics and engineering. Rote memorization has been replaced with gamified learning. And what would be early-adopter technology for this year’s kindergartner, like wearable tech and virtual reality, may be a standard educational tool by time she becomes a sixth grader.

While technology will always move faster than legislation, all levels of government are feverously working to spell out the rules for how we treat student data. As with any legislation, there are many different interest groups with different ideologies and priorities. A simple question like “Who is responsible for student data?” will be answered very differently by state legislators, local school boards, teachers, parents and technology companies; each wants control while shielding themselves from any liability.

And liability is a reality. Right now your student data is at risk with grave consequences. We live in an age where Fortune 500 companies are routinely hacked, exposing the sensitive data of millions of customers for all to see and steal with the click of a mouse. If all the resources of companies like Target, Sony and Home Depot can’t protect their data, what hope does the average overworked, underfunded school district IT department have? Not only do they need to protect from outside threats (or mischievous students); they need to protect the data from their software vendors who may want to collect it for marketing purposes. Short of reading hundreds of ever-changing Terms of Services for every app and software your district uses, you have no idea how your vendors use the data they collect, where they store it, when they delete it, who has final control over it or perhaps even how to access it. 

Because of all this complexity, we believe this is the year student data becomes one of the most important issues facing a school district. The choices schools, legislators and technology companies make over the next 12 months may end up being the foundation for what is considered standard in student privacy.

We created EdProtect to give schools the choice of the highest level of student data privacy possible. Because we’re not just developers; we’re parents. We’re as excited by all the new technology in schools as anyone, and wholeheartedly believe in the power of technology to help our kids learn. But we’re also increasingly concerned about the security of student data. And we’re not alone: 87% of parents surveyed are worried their child’s information can be stolen, with 85% responding that their willingness to support technology in schools must be coupled with efforts to ensure security.

Whether you are ready or not, this is the year your school needs to make a commitment to protecting student data. Learn more about how our tools make ensuring student privacy simple and sign up for a free demonstration today.