Leadership magazine March/April 2017 V46 No. 4 - Page 8

What is student

data

AND HOW DO WE GO ABOUT PROTECTING

OUR STUDENTS ?

A better understanding of student data will help schools and districts better protect our students .
8 Leadership
Throughout my 22 years as a public school technology director , I was fortunate to see the full spectrum of adoption of technology tools into the classroom . Starting back when e-mail was a novelty and we used to offer prizes for the quickest results to test messages sent out to staff , up to now when vastly improved hardware and software apps have opened pathways for educators and students to collaborate , interact and learn more easily than ever .
Effective technology adoption remains a challenge to widespread use of educational technology , but today ’ s major obstacles also include more subtle issues such as rethinking learning environments , providing committed professional development for educators and aligning technology resources to curriculum and district educational goals .
But let ’ s step away from these discussions of logistics and consider another challenge which has existed for many years , but which is only now becoming a visible concern to most educators ; student data , and how we can improve our awareness and protection of it .
In order to interact with today ’ s technology hardware and software , students must be identified by the network , the website , the program or app , and even by the company providing the tools kids are working with . This interaction generates a multitude of different types of data .
Some of this data is collected by educators for obvious purposes such as grading , recording attendance , or noting performance on benchmark assessments . But some of the data is surprisingly personal and holds more information than is safe or productive to release without putting safeguards into place . Only recently have schools recognized the need to monitor and protect this data , and to control who can access it and for what purpose .
This article is meant to help administrators support utilizing technology in the classroom and school offices , while protecting their students ’ privacy .
By Tony Baldwin