Pictured: Jeremiah Milbauer (University of Chicago '19) and Zoe Wood (Columbia University '16), our hardworking summer Berkterns!
Over the last few months, the Student Privacy Initiative at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society has been immersed in the Digital Literacy Toolkit project, working to build and support trust in connected learning environments by empowering learners, caregivers, and educators with the knowledge and skills to minimize and manage risks online. We’re very excited to be working with a number of partners doing innovative work with educational stakeholders: MIT Scratch, New York Public Library, Press Pass TV, NuVu, National Writing Project, the Engagement Game Lab, the Walnut Hill School, WGBH, and iKeepSafe.
This Toolkit will intervene at the levels of law, policy, and social norms, tackling three sets of issues with cross-layer implications identified by key stakeholders as challenges in connected learning environments: (1) safety concerns; (2) privacy threats; and (3) restrictions on creative expression. To that end, we will be crafting several sets of resources. Currently, we are focused on developing new guidance and resources around key federal student privacy laws and a new K-12 curriculum on safety and privacy.
In August and September, we’re conducting several professional development workshops for K-12 administrators and educators with iKeepSafe in California, coordinating with the Santa Clara and Ventura County Offices of Education. These workshops are designed for participants to:
- explore what student privacy means in the digital age,
- reflect on how best to understand and respond to parent concerns about privacy, and
- develop increased confidence in edtech products chosen for a district’s students and schools.
As part of our work, we’re updating our existing overview of student privacy laws (“Privacy and Children's Data: An Overview of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act”) and creating a new set of companion learning tools to be used with the overview. These tools are a series of hypothetical scenarios about implementing and using ed tech in schools. They’re meant to be used to surface tough questions around ed tech and student privacy, as well as offer guidance on how classroom teachers, curriculum directors, and tech directors might go about coming up with answers to these questions in ways that both address learning environments’ educational needs, while also complying with best practices, COPPA, and FERPA. We’re looking forward to these workshops and getting feedback on these tools, and we hope to make the tools available to the public mid-winter.
We’ve also been in the process of creating a new K-12 curriculum, consisting of short (15-20 minute) modules around various digital safety and privacy issues. Over the next six months, we plan to begin piloting modules with our partners and getting feedback. We’re particularly excited to be working with WGBH and NYPL to create curricula for elementary school students, as well as to see what kinds of animations students at NuVu will produce to accompany the curricula.
Over the next year, we’ll be continuing to create resources and testing them with our partners; if you’re interested in testing out our work, let us know! We’d love to get feedback from more educators. For more information, please contact Berkman Fellow Paulina Haduong at phaduong (at) cyber (dot) law (dot) harvard (dot) edu.