Feb 242014
 February 24, 2014  Posted by  U.S., Youth & Schools

From the press release:

Common Sense Media, in partnership with The Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands, will convene a half-day School Privacy Zone summit on Monday, February 24, 2014, to discuss effective ways to safeguard student privacy in schools that use education technology for teaching and learning. The summit will take place at the Pew Conference Center in Washington, D.C., from 12 to 4:30 pm.

“At Common Sense Media, we believe that education technology, used wisely, has the potential to transform learning for all children. At the same time, critical to maximizing the benefits of technology in schools is protecting each student’s private information,” said James P. Steyer, founder and CEO of Common Sense Media. “This summit is a rare opportunity to bring together educators who are on the front lines of integrating important technology into our schools and districts nationwide with the companies who are making it and the leading policymakers who create guidelines around how best to use it.”

In addition to U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, a broad array of stakeholders will join the discussion, including Senator Edward J. Markey; Federal Trade Commissioner Julie Brill; Joel Klein, CEO of Amplify and former chancellor of the NYC Department of Education; Cameron Evans, CTO of U.S. Education at Microsoft; Katherine Varker, Associate General Counsel, McGraw-Hill Education; Dr. Terry Grier, superintendent, Houston Independent School District; Professor Joel Reidenberg, visiting professor of IT policy at Princeton University; and others.

The discussion will focus on principles and practices around the types of technology currently used by schools and districts, the kind of student information that is collected, and the benefits and risks to collecting such data along with the role of schools and technology providers in safeguarding it. The summit also will feature a conversation with policymakers on legislative, regulatory, and other efforts to safeguard students’ privacy rights.

As America’s schools move increasingly to rely on online platforms, mobile technologies, and cloud computing to enhance and personalize student learning, large amounts of sensitive data are collected, shared, used, and stored. A recent poll conducted by Benenson Strategy Group for Common Sense Media revealed deep concern among a majority of Americans about how private companies with noneducational interests may access and use this data.

Legislation is being considered in several states, including California, where State Senator Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg has introduced a measure to prohibit K-12 online educational sites, services, and apps from using students’ personal information for non-school purposes. Other states including Virginia, Kentucky, and New York are considering measures to address the concerns of parents, and Senator Edward Markey is among federal lawmakers taking on this issue.

The School Privacy Zone summit will seek to affirm support for connected classrooms that respect and safeguard student privacy, using three fundamental principles outlined by Common Sense Media at the launch of its School Privacy Zone campaign at the end of 2013.

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