Understanding the Student Data Privacy Landscape

“Nothing in life comes free.”

“There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”

While educators, administrators, parents and even students use sayings like these throughout their daily lives, they’re taking on entirely new meanings when it comes to student data privacy.

The influx of learning management systems and student information systems―along with free, online learning tools―has put more attention on the need to understand student data privacy and the use of that data for commercial purposes.

Yesterday’s Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) education division webinar, “Student Data Privacy Landscape,” invited member companies to discuss the questions and concerns needed to inform product and communications strategies. SIIA’s education division is comprised of companies that provide software, digital content and other technologies that address educational needs in the K-20 marketplace.

This year alone there are 41 bills from 21 states―with many more already being drafted―to deal with student data privacy, according to webinar presenter Paige Kowalkski, director of state policy and advocacy at the nonprofit Data Quality Campaign.

During the webinar, Kowalski provided three requisites for states when developing privacy legislation.

blue one smallEnsure parents and educators find value in the data that is being collected and understand the “who, what, where and when” of data collection and use.

green 2 smallCommunicate with stakeholders whenever possible to dispel myths and clarify the value of data to teaching, learning and decision making.

orange 3 smallPromote, enact and continuously review and update privacy, security and confidentiality policies that are proactive and constructive rather than prohibitive.

The keys, said Kowalski, are transparency, governance and accountability.

For any questions about Gaggle’s stance on student data privacy, please contact your account manager, Gaggle’s customer service department at (800) 288-7750, or e-mail support@gaggle.net.