Education Framework Blog

Focused on the Future of Education in America

Student Privacy: A Parent’s Perspective

As Edtech software developers, we often look at student privacy from the perspective of our users–school districts, teachers, and state boards of education. However, it’s important to remember that every piece of data isn’t just a record or potential liability; it’s the information of a student that needs to be protected at all costs.

While most students are unaware of what’s at stake, parents are increasingly becoming concerned about student privacy issues and demanding solutions. Today we share the perspective of one such parent. Nick Reese is a father of four in Bend, Oregon, and was kind enough to share his thoughts on student privacy. Take it away, Nick:


As a parent in his late 30s, I straddle technology that didn’t exist for my parents when I was in school and will be commonplace by the time my kids are parents themselves. I’m far more comfortable with technology that my parents will ever be; my dad refuses to learn how to program phone numbers into his cell phone, instead continuing to carry a laminated card with important phone numbers in his wallet. And yet, I’m not digital native; my first exposure to the Internet was at university just as the dot-com boom was gaining steam. These days I feel more and more like my father every time I read about things like Tinder, Snapchat, Vines, Oculus Rift, Uber, smartwatches or the next new great thing: thanks, but I’ll stick to what I’m used to.

My kids, on the other hand, are full-on digital native. My fourth and third graders were issued iPads at school and put together Keynote presentations for fun. My first grader makes videos of himself playing video games and puts them on YouTube. My preschooler can’t read but works my iPhone like Steve Jobs, but with a greater affinity for goldfish crackers.

Of course, it’s not just me. Almost every industry is experiencing this same shift. Getting medical care, buying stocks, shopping for groceries, booking a flight, even renting a movie–everything has changed. Some industries are embracing or even leading the shift, while other industries are a bit more like me: supportive, but not leading the way.

The world of education is very much in this second bucket. For every innovation like iPads in the schools or using social media to engage parents there are still methods of doing business my parents would recognize, like endless permission slips, printed newsletters and paper forms. Unfortunately, the way schools handle digital privacy and security is still the product of the old way of thinking. In an era where even security-minded retailers and government agencies find themselves in the news for data breaches while software companies keep concocting new ways to package and sell user information, the way schools handle data privacy is almost laughable if it wasn’t so frightening.

Paper forms with sensitive information and signatures get transported by six-year-olds in backpacks to be stored… somewhere? While textbooks are vetted by boards of education, I have no idea what level of vetting each app gets, who is doing the vetting, what these apps are and what info they are collecting. I know there are laws about this, but who is enforcing them? Who pays when my kid’s social security number winds up all over the Internet? How much do for-profit companies know about my kids, and what do they plan on doing with that information?

These should be simple questions I shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to get answered, or even have to ask. Luckily, companies like Education Framework and others are making it easier to help schools solve these problems while bringing parents into the loop. While I’m sure this is one of those growing pains of technology adoption that will be solved by the time my youngest child graduates, parents now shouldn’t have to let their kids be the test subjects. Parents, schools, software developers, teachers, industry groups and lawmakers need to get together now and make education a leader in privacy and data protection, not a follower.


Thanks, Nick!

At Education Framework, we believe now is the time 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.  

Rep. Lynn Luker of Idaho wants to examine how the state handles student data.

Rep. Lynn Luker wants to examine how the Idaho handles student data.

Last year, former Sen. John Goedde, R-Coeur d’Alene, introduced legislation to ensure secure collection of student data. The bill never received a hearing in either Statehouse chamber... "Governments now collect information in 556 different categories," Rep. Lynn Luker said, up from 400 last year.

Pope Francis Hosts Google Hangout on Education and Technology

Pope Francis Hosts Google Hangout on Education and Technology

The Pope encouraged children "to fly, dream, create" and "to receive the wisdom that the elderly give" in his 20-minute chat in SeptemberHe hosted his second Google+ Hangout from the Vatican on Thursday, giving students around the world the opportunity to speak with him directly.

Rep. Messer of Indiana works with White House on student data privacy bill

"Protecting America’s children from Big Data shouldn’t be a partisan issue," Messer said in a statement.

A 2013 Fordham Law School Center study on Law and Information Policy found that many schools have inadequate student data privacy protections in place ...

5 lessons from a failed 1-to-1 rollout in North Carolina

After Ed-Tech Meltdown, a District Rebounds

5 lessons from a failed 1-to-1 rollout in North Carolina

1. Make sure your district technology administrators can get their hands on proposed 1-to-1 hardware before choosing a vendor.

2. Verify that 1-to-1 vendor technical support services are ready to help at a moments notice, with on-campus support if needed.

3. Include hardware device information in your 1-to-1 vendor contract so that all stakeholders have the same expectations.

4. Verify that 1-to-1 hardware has successfully been deployed in other districts by talking with those district leaders.

5. Employ a steady and measured approach when adopting and deploying 1-to-1 learning environments. Test, Test, Test.

full article on edWeek:

PARCC exam discombobulates school resources

Albuquerque Journal

The Rio Rancho school district is using some creative methods to ensure they have enough room and computers for its students to take the new statewide online test in March.

The plan seems “discombobulated” according to one school board member but it is the “least disruptive way to do this” according to one of the organizers.

Students in grades three through eleven will take the online Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers to test their knowledge in math and English. The test replaces the paper and pencil Standards Based Assessment the state has traditionally required to test student proficiency.

Full story:

5 ways mobile tech is transforming education

1. Tablets change the perception of "computing"
It's no surprize that kids like tablets. Now tablets are becoming the norm in schools, and there is no longer a need to be anchored to a desk in a computer lab.

2. Gamification of education
Games are fun, and kids know it. When classroom lessons are presented as games they incorporate an element of competition that draws kids in, and makes it fun to try to do their best.

3. Immediate feedback from teachers
With applications like Google Docs, teachers can review student work in real-time, while the student is actually writing a paper.  This type of real-time interaction can accelerate the learning process and can reach students while they are thinking critically about the subject matter.

4. Communication
Is communication better or worse? Face-to-face interactions may be reduced in the digital age, but kids who wouldn't typically raise their hand in class, now have a way to interact without drawing attention.

5. Interactive hands-on learning
Conceptual learning is different than practical hands-on learning. Technology brings kids closer to the subject and facilitates interactive learning experiences that were not available just a few years ago.