Is student data really daunting?

Is student data really daunting?

Should we be afraid of student data? More often than not, the conversations around student data revolve around security and privacy concerns. What will happen if there is a data breach? What about security? Are we safekeeping student data adequately? But the reality is that student data is exciting. There is value in data that allows us to help students in ways we otherwise couldn’t.

I am not discounting the concerns surrounding student data privacy, but as Kerry Gallagher points out in her blog “Why is student data both exciting and daunting?” we need to ask ourselves what is the acceptable risk we should be willing to take in order to gain value out of data and protect student privacy.

Kerry Gallagher is a Technology Integration Specialist at a 1:1 iPad school serving 1500 students grades 6-12. She taught middle and high school history in Bring Your Own Device environments for 13 years and writes a blog called Start with a Question.

Kerry discusses a report recently published by the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University titled “Student Privacy: The Next Frontier”. One of the main points made is that the conversation around student privacy needs to be balanced and include all parties involved in student data. Both Kerry and the Berkman study point to the exclusion of student voices in the debate. We often ignore or dismiss students in conversations and we must continue to advocate for the inclusion of student voices in the debate surrounding their privacy. After all, students are the generators of the data points we are fiercely trying to protect, we owe it to them to include them in the conversation and allow them to teach us what data privacy means to them. Students bring different backgrounds and perspectives we can often oversee. If we bring student voice into the debate and acknowledge learner ownership of data, our conversations will turn to discussing pedagogical issues surrounding student use of data and privacy and we will more readily acknowledge the student experience and the expectations they have in their educational outcomes.

You can read Kerry Gallagher’s post here –

AND Kerry will be a panelist at the 2015 National Student Privacy Symposium in September which promises to be a great event (shameless plug). You can register for the symposium here –

Hope to see you all at the Symposium!


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