April 5th, 2016

WATCH: Data Privacy

As schools across the country go high-tech, incorporating data-driven educational apps and software into classrooms, fears about the privacy and security of students’ personal information are on the rise.

These concerns may be putting the brakes on school district’s efforts to personalize learning, but not in Miami-Dade County, Fla. The 345,000-student district is a pioneer in digital learning, and has given teachers and students access to a host of online apps and programs.

At iPrep Academy, students work almost entirely online. Computer programs collect tons of information about students’ interests, preferences, even the names of their friends, to customize lessons. Although Superintendent Alberto Carvalho is confident that the safeguards in vendor contracts, along with his data-security team, are protecting digital data, the threats are real. Hackers try to infiltrate the district’s system every day, and not too long ago a cafeteria worker with access to the database stole hundreds of students’ names and social security numbers.

John Tulenko of Education Week visits iPrep Academy to see how teachers are using the technology to personalize classroom instruction and what the district is doing to protect student data.

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