Preparing students to be successful for the future requires a robust and flexible learning infrastructure capable of supporting new types of engagement and providing ubiquitous access to the technology tools that allow students to create, design, and explore. The essential components of an infrastructure capable of supporting transformational learning experiences include the following:
- Ubiquitous connectivity. Persistent access to high-speed Internet in and out of school
- Powerful learning devices. Access to mobile devices that connect learners and educators to the vast resources of the Internet and facilitate communication and collaboration
- High-quality digital learning content. Digital learning content and tools that can be used to design and deliver engaging and relevant learning experiences
- Responsible Use Policies (RUPs). Guidelines to safeguard students and ensure that the infrastructure is used to support learning
Protections for Student Data and Privacy
The use of student data is crucial for personalized learning and continuous improvement. Acting as the stewards of student data presents educators with several responsibilities. School officials, families, and software developers have to be mindful of how data privacy, confidentiality, and security practices affect students. Schools and districts have an obligation to tell students and families what kind of student data the school or third parties (e.g., online educational service providers) are collecting and how the data can be used. As they plan, schools and other educational institutions should be certain that policies are in place regarding who has access to student data and that students and families understand their rights and responsibilities concerning data collection.
These policies should include not only formal adoption processes for online educational services but also informal adoptions such as the downloading of an application to a mobile device and agreeing to clickwraps. A user encounters a clickwrap when asked to click on a button to accept the provider’s terms of service before using an app or software. With clickwrap agreements, the act of accepting the terms of service enters the developer and the user (in this case, the school or district) into a contractual relationship akin to signing a contract. The U.S. Department of Education offers schools and families examples, training, and other assistance in navigating privacy concerns through the Privacy Technical Assistance Center. This information includes Protecting Student Privacy while Using Online Educational Services: Requirements and Best Practices,Protecting Student Privacy while Using Online Educational Services: Model Terms of Service, and Checklist for Developing School District Privacy Programs.