Page 16 - THE Journal, October/November 2018
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Pete Just: The first thing is that we have to demystify what we’re talking about when we talk about data. There’s some data that is really marketing kind of data, some data that’s personally identifiable information, learning data and so on. I think it’s very concerning if we’re talking about any type of PII that might be released. That’s some- thing we had deep discussions about early on with Google, and it’s important to read those privacy statements that companies make and try to understand what they mean. Whenever we go into a relationship with a company, we’ve got some check- boxes we have to get checked before we’ll do business with them: What’s happening to that personally identifiable information? How is it protected? It is a concern. I don’t know that I’m worried in terms of Google’s use of data, because I think most of the things they’re trying to figure out is what’s going to make the experience better. But what are the other things that people are looking at and interested in? There’s [also] continuously an effort to help teachers understand what it means when you do click-share agreements.
Melissa Dodd: We have our own data privacy agreement that we require for all of our contracts that we have with ed tech vendors that they need to sign off on. We negotiate that with them, but we have some core principles that are must-haves. We also work with our teachers and our prin- cipals in terms of building their knowledge and understanding around data privacy.
In addition to the biggies, there are the smaller ed tech vendors where it’s so easy for somebody to click, “Sure, I accept,” and not really understand what they’re clicking on. This is definitely something that all districts are focused on and trying to work through. California, similar to other states like Massachusetts, has started a data privacy alliance group and is looking at having a state-wide privacy agreement so that we’re coming together to advocate and ensure data privacy for our students.
Ellen Dorr: Teachers are incredibly re- sourceful, which we all appreciate because
it’s necessary for that role. It’s hard work. So we ask teachers to use an approval process for any new tool they’d like to use. Part of our submission form for this process asks people to answer differ-
ent questions, such as, “Has the vendor signed the Student Privacy Policy?” I think your average teacher may not know about that, but having them fill out that form helps inform them: “Oh, this is something I should be looking for.” Then we look at the legal aspects and what
the product or vendor is doing in terms of protecting student data. There are a couple of [products] recently where we’ve said no, that the privacy policy doesn’t work for us and we can’t use that. But for us it’s really nice if the vendor has signed the Student Privacy Pledge and has that readily available on their website and can show us those things.
Are there any parts of your job you wish you could give up to some- body else?
Daniel Smith: Yesterday, I split my pants from loading devices up into a van. I commonly have to keep an extra pair of shoes at the office because I’m crawling underneath desks and those pointy-toed shoes just really don’t cut it. My team worked with our finance department on configuring a paper-folding machine. I re- mind people every chance I get, it’s not all roses and twinkies over here. I wouldn’t give up those parts for anything. Even when people call my department to do things that aren’t even remotely close to any job description, that wouldn’t even fit into that item, “other duties as assigned,” what’s happening is we are building a relationship. Me going into a classroom, crawling under a desk to help a teacher get something plugged in, that helps keep my ear to the street. I can see how the decisions I’m making are affecting the teachers in the classroom.
Nancy Battaglia: Short answer, no. There are always new technologies on the horizon to investigate, problems to solve
and people to help. I believe in service leadership. Nothing makes me happier than when I’m in a school building and somebody asks me for help and I’m able to solve their problem—even if it means crawling under their desk to plug in or check connections. If I can help some- body out, that makes my day.
Ellen Dorr: I think there’s always more opportunity for us to hear from students: “How is this working for you? What else could we do or how could we make this better together?” I like that idea, espe- cially because sometimes so many of our students are more flexible thinkers than adults are.
Melissa Dodd: Being in technology and having it be accessible, 24/7 in the multiple ways in which people can reach me—wheth- er it’s through social media or a text or a hangout or an email—sometimes it’s like [I wish I could] put it all on silence for a few minutes. But I wouldn’t give that up because I think that’s also so critical. Technology supports everything that happens in the district, so we have to always be accessible to partner and support our community.
Pete Just: There’s a paperwork aspect, and maybe I’d hand that over. Looking over contracts—that can get old. But, really, I like every part of what I do. This is a magical time—a golden age in some regards—for education because of ed
tech. I’m in a very high free-and-reduced- price-lunch school district. We have a lot of poverty here. There is an opportunity that we have before us right now to level some playing fields, to give our students opportunities they’ve never had before. Part of that is access, but also in regard to the options that are there for personaliza- tion—we’ve never been able to personalize in the way we have the opportunity to do today. And that’s a wonderful thing.
Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media’s education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology.

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