Academic Business Advisors

We have detected that you are using Internet Explorer 8 or older.
Please upgrade your browser to access our website.
Upgrading your browser will improve your browsing experience.

Upgrade Your Browser.

hat’s what we learned about in the SIIA’s 2014 Education Government Forum. Here is a summary of three of the main issues: privacy, the educator view on the education technology market, and school connectivity as the foundation for digital learning. Missing from this summary is one of the most informative and entertaining sessions on Higher Education  policies impacting technology and digital learning. But, I was moderating that discussion with Amy Laitenan of the New America Foundation, Richard Hershman of the National Association of College Stores, and very active attendees, so I couldn’t take notes. Privacy Privacy could be considered the biggest issue facing education technology at this point. In fact, the Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA) is hosting a free roundtable discussion on the privacy issues Wednesday, March 26 in New York City at 5:00. Privacy concerns in education can be broken down into two general areas: public hysteria and government policies. No one wants children to be at risk. But that doesn’t mean that we should eliminate all use of student data to guide instruction. In the last 4 months alone, there have been over 70 bills introduced in state legislators to safeguard student data. Many of these bills contain language that would make it difficult to conduct any digital initiative in schools. If you are a member of the SIIA, you should contact Mark Schneiderman to see how you can help combat privacy hyperbole. On the other side of the privacy issue is what do schools, districts, and content providers have to do to comply with existing laws like FERPA, PPRA, and COPPA? On the one hand, the government is trying to give children and students the same protections offered in healthcare by HIPAA. But this is a complex issue, and the result to date is that the regulations and guidance fall far short of what is needed to meet the criteria of high levels of both instruction and protection. On their guidelines for compliance and best practice, the Department of Education provides “answers” to frequently asked questions such as, “what does FERPA require if personal information about students is disclosed to a provider?” Each answer starts with “It depends.” These laws are as clear as mud, and penalties for non-compliance include fines, jail, and/or banishment from collecting student data for five years. As near as I can make out, some basic guidelines are that the provider should ensure that The information is under direct control of the school or district The agreement with the school or district spells out the uses for which the data will be used, and then make sure that the information is not used for any other purposes Does...

Read More