Education Framework Blog

Focused on the Future of Education in America

The Foundation of Protecting Student Privacy: Find a Way!

I recently came across a post by George Couros (@gcouros) that really struck a chord. 

It said:  "Somebody, somewhere, is doing the same thing you say you can't do. They are just finding a way."

This statement poignantly speaks the truth...especially when it comes to managing education technology and protecting student data privacy. 

It addresses the issue that times have changed and, so too, must our approach.

The associated article goes on to say that no longer is it acceptable to simply respond with: "This doesn't fit within our infrastructure." (a.k.a "no"), but, instead, to restructure the way that decisions are made for the organization by asking 4 simple questions:

1. What is best for the kids? 

2. How does this improve learning?

3. If we were to do ______________, what is the balance of risk vs. reward?

4. Is this serving the few or the majority?

Now let's consider these questions in terms of protecting student data privacy...

1. Does having a system in place to properly vet the apps and websites upfront help ensure that students, and their data, are safe, secure, private and protected? (i.e. Is this best for kids?) 


2. Does having the right technologies in the hands of students improve learning? 


3. If schools were to implement a procedure for protecting student data privacy, is there a balance of risk vs. reward?  


4. Does this sort of action affect the majority?  


When it comes to protecting student data privacy, it's important to seriously consider questions like these (among others) to determine whether the effort is worth the time and energy. 

And what is comes down to is that - yes! - investing in protecting student data privacy is a worthwhile effort, for the sake of the student and the school.  

And while this seems pretty logical and easy to understand, the reality is that many schools and districts are doing very little to, if nothing, to ensure student data privacy is protected. 

That's why I love this quote so much! It brilliantly addresses what it wrong with the system today. Some education leaders are willing to get to the source of the issue, while others, not-so-much.

The key point here is that in order to succeed, you must try, you must attempt, you must put one foot in front of the other. You must do something! 

And for every person that says it can't be done, someone, somewhere is doing it and proving that there is, in fact, a way. 

Find a way and making a difference!

(Beautifully, brilliantly said, George!)  

You can read his original post here >>

Privacy & Security of Student Data: An Increasing Concern for IT Leaders

A recent article by eSchool News highlights latest COSN survey, stating: 

IT leaders list student data privacy as one of their primary concerns.

According the the fourth annual K-12 IT Leadership Survey Reportbroadband and network capacity top the list of priorities for school technology leaders. But the survey also indicated that they're spending more time and devoting more resources to student data privacy and security than in previous years. 

Major IT findings emerged from the survey and are outlined in the report:

1. Broadband and network capacity is the top priority for IT leaders
2. Privacy and security of student data is an increasing concern for IT leaders
3. Districts are turning to digital learning materials.
4. Ninety-nine percent expect to incorporate digital Open Educational Resources .
5. Nearly 80 percent of IT leaders use online productivity tools 
6. District bans on student devices are shrinking. 
7. The path to IT leadership differs for women and men
8. Racial diversity in IT leadership is lacking
9. IT leaders have advanced education.
10. Demographics are changing

The article indicates that respondents major challenges include budget constraints and lack of resources; the existence of silos that hamper collaboration; and lack of vision and support from senior district leadership.

Preparation: The Key to Protecting Student Data Privacy

"Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best of which you are capable of." - John Wooden

John Wooden, one of the most revered coaches in the history of sports, made a career out of focusing on preparation. 

He said his coaching philosophy revolved around three main ideals:

1. To get his players in the best possible condition. 

2. To get his players to work on their quickness. 

3. To get his players to work together as a team.

"Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do."  - John Wooden

Wooden used this approach as head coach of UCLA to lead his team to 10 NCAA Men's Basketball Championship titles in a 12 year period, including an unprecendented 7 years in a row. 

He was an accomplished 3 time All American athlete and the first person to be inducted to the Basketball Hall of Fame as both a player (1960) and coach (1973). But he is best known for how he approached the game, and for the values he instilled in his players. 

Throughout his extensive career, he built his legacy on a what he called the Pyramid of SuccessHe was an exceptional leader, mentor and friend to many, and was possibly best known for bringing out the greatness in others by pushing them find the greatness within themselves.

Yet despite all his successes, his focus was never about winning or losing; instead, he emphasized the importance of preparation. 

He knew that if his team was in the best possible shape they could be, both mentally and physically, that they would have the advantage when it really mattered. He knew that if they worked on their quickness, that they would be one step ahead allowing them to out-smart, out-wit and out-maneuver the competition. He knew that if they worked together as a team, that they would trust one another, support one another and collectively elevate one another to be better. 

So what does this have to do with protecting student privacy, you might ask? 

Well, it got me to thinking about what the privacy landscape would look like if school and district leaders adopted the mindset of John Wooden. 

Coach Wooden knew the value of thinking through each and every possible scenario before the tip-off whistle ever blew. He understood the importance of preparation and doing the tough work up-front, but also acknowledged the need for leadership and teamwork in order to succeed. He knew that the right commitment with the right team could bring the right results. 

When it comes to protecting student privacy, we need this kind of proactive thinking. No longer should schools be able to treat privacy as an afterthought. Our students deserve better and our schools should do better

Just think where we'd be if every school in the nation applied the John Wooden mindset to protecting student privacy. At the very least, we'd be better prepared.

"If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?" - John Wooden