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Paige Popham

Horizon Report Reflection


1. Safety of Student Data
As students schoolwork becomes more and more dependent on technology, more schools
are choosing to utilize cloud-based servers. Danger to students personal data arises when thirdparty suppliers see a chance to profit from student data obtained in exchange for offering
software at a lower cost. Several privacy breaches of cloud servers over recent years have
stimulated the need for more policies to be put into place to protect students data on public
clouds. However, as the report conveys, ensuring student data is complicated due to several
requirements that must be met in order to address the issue at hand. Government policies must
change in order to keep up with the changing technology available to be used by schools, thirdparty agreements must be updated, and awareness of the issues around the privacy and protection
of students data must be increased (p. 26).
Already, studies have been conducted with the goal of bringing increased awareness
about the issues that schools are facing with the privacy of student data. In a report by Fordham
University, 95% of the surveyed districts utilized cloud services, but only 25% of those districts
informed parents about this use. Of those 95% using cloud-based services, as many as 20% did
not implement policies that address the issue of online services. However, the most incredulous
evidence cited by the report was that less than 7% of the schools using cloud-based services had
contracts that prevented the sale or marketing of student data by the vendors! I think that schools
should be doing much more to ensure the safety of their students data. This evidence compels
me to believe that greater awareness of the issue is definitely needed.
There is a clear need to revise old and create new policies governing these issues. The
benefits of cloud-based services in the classroom are great, but I believe that they do not
outweigh the risks associated with violating the privacy of students personal data. The Horizon
Report mentions that Harvard University and the CoSN are working to devise a professional
development resource that will address the privacy of students data. I believe that as this
resource is refined, teachers and administrators should familiarize themselves with the
information covered in the resource. The report also mentions that teachers are responsible for
teaching students about the safety of personal information and the impact of their digital
footprint online. A few websites were listed to help with this endeavor. I think that instructing
students on how to protect themselves online is as important as teaching them to utilize online
resources for learning.