On privacy, school districts need thought, intent and purpose

Like many school districts, South Portland Schools in Maine is paying “close attention” to student data privacy, but with that concern comes a broad approach that touches on various parts of the business.

“We need to be very intentional with the tools that we use and in what our kids share for data,” Andrew Wallace, the director of technology for South Portland Schools, says in a video interview. “We’re, like many people, playing really close attention to student data privacy concerns.”

In South Portland Schools, Wallace says the district is taking a “multi-part approach” that balances activism, advocacy, and education.

“We have a proliferation of apps and technology, and if the perception is that we’re not good stewards of the students’ data, or the students’ privacy, it’s understandable that people might wonder, ‘Why are we doing all this screen time? Why are we doing all this technology?'” Wallace says.

The district is exploring more involvement in groups like the Student Data Privacy Consortium, Wallace says, so that it can have increased access to edtech contracts that respect data privacy. The district is also working on education programs for teachers and students centered on data privacy and how to be more aware of what is appropriate to share online.

Wallace on digital learning and connectivity:

Wallace on lessons for edtech leaders:

Wallace on his top priorities:

These videos were filmed and produced by EdScoop at the 2018 State Educational Technology Directors Association Leadership Summit in Arlington, Virginia.