Last month, California legislatures passed a law restricting the ways online information collected on students in schools is exploited by the education technology industry. The law specifically prohibits educational sites, apps and cloud services used by schools from selling or disclosing personal information about students (pre-K to high school), using such information to market to them, and from compiling dossiers. The law was established in response to growing parental concerns that sensitive information about their children could be disclosed, hurting the child’s future prospects. The law makes California the first state to explicitly restrict the use of such data.
Mr. Steyer, leader of the group who led the passage of the bill, says,
You can’t have an education technology revolution without strong privacy protections for students… Parents, teachers and kids can now feel confident that students’ personal information can be use only for educational achievement.”
The new law comes at a time when technology is becoming a staple of the every-day classroom. Most recently, schools across the country are introducing online portals which allow students and teachers to connect and keep up with assignments outside of the classroom and new reading aps which can record and asses the student’s comprehension. Sales of educational technology reached $7.9 billion last year.
While the new technology offers high efficiency and the ability to personalize the experience of students in the classroom, parents are concerned for their children’s privacy and the security of such information. Similar to other debates surrounding technology growth and usage, consumer privacy is the most important aspect of use. Due to the high rate at which these technologies are developed, legislators need to be able to keep up with potential threats to privacy.
Read more here- “With Tech Taking Over in Schools, Worries Rise,” (Natasha Singer, The New York Times)