Connecticut edtech leader highlights state’s networking and data protection moves

EdScoop caught up with Douglas Casey, executive director of the Connecticut Commission for Education Technology during the State Education Technology Directors Association’s recent national leadership summit .

Casey highlighted a number of edtech initiatives underway in Connecticut, including the state’s continued buildout of its research and education network, the first of its kind in the nation to connect every school district and library.

“We’re really trying to look at aligning what we’re doing with what other leaders in the country are doing…around [digital] equity,” he said.

As part of that effort, Casey said the state is rolling out a tool kit to help districts support parents and families “to get kids online outside of school,” he said. “We’re also concentrating on personalized learning.”

To support that, Connecticut is focusing on some high level technology initiatives, including adopting the use of Eduroam, a global Wi-Fi roaming service that helps schools create secure access points for users to log on to school networks anywhere in the world.

“We’re taking this and looking at how communities can use this. It’s community based, but potentially global in scale,” he said.

Connecticut also recently passed its first student data privacy act, he said, to ensure that student data – “and we have a lot of it – is protected and that only the eyes that need to see it have access to it.”

Casey described the many challenges the state’s school districts, making sure a vast array of academic apps protect users’ data.

One step the commission is taking, he said, involves “executing contracts on behalf of our districts at the state level, so that some of the big student information systems that many districts are using, and that hold a lot of sensitive student data, are brokered at the state level.”

Finally, Casey highlighted how Connecticut, like many districts, is looking to find more creative solutions in using E-rate funds.

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