Catalyzed by the rapid expansion of remote learning brought about by COVID-19, education technology continues to occupy a large, evolving role in K-12 instruction even as schools make steps toward leaving the pandemic behind. Many technologies adopted to accommodate remote or hybrid learning have been incorporated into districts’ long-term technology platforms, and teachers are seeking ways to apply skills learned in the past year and a half. Parents, teachers, and students, the three key stakeholder groups with the most to gain — and lose — from the way these tools are implemented, are paying attention to the privacy and equity implications of these technologies.
CDT surveyed parents, teachers, and students about their views toward student privacy, security, data use, and equity issues. The surveys, conducted this past summer, follow up on previous CDT research conducted in the summer of 2020 and spring of 2021 as well as recent research on student activity monitoring software. Several key themes emerged from our findings:
- Parents, teachers, and students want to play a greater role in protecting privacy:
- Parents’ concern has risen, but pathways to participation are limited;
- Well-trained teachers will serve as student privacy ambassadors;
- Students want to participate in decisions about their own data.
- Use of technology in disciplinary contexts is growing, but with mixed support.
- Ongoing attention to technology’s equity impacts is necessary.
These findings are explored in-depth in the report below, Navigating the New Normal: Ensuring Equitable and Trustworthy EdTech for the Future. The return to in-person instruction has changed the nature of edtech use and privacy concerns, but these risks have not disappeared. As such, ongoing efforts from policymakers and practitioners are needed to ensure responsible school data and technology practices.