SIIA Releases 2014 Vision K-20 Survey Report

SIIA releases the 2014 Vision K-20 Survey Report, its seventh annual national survey measuring U.S. educational institutions’ self-reported progress toward building a framework that embraces technology and e-learning. The findings were presented at a press event during the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference. The report suggests that K-20 education institutions are striving for more digital educational goals, which are increasingly reached through Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies.

Central findings from this year’s report include:

  • Respondents expect an increase in the use of BYOD technology.
  • Both the current and ideal level of technology integration has shown a directional increase for K-12 and postsecondary institutions, compared to 2013.
  • There is a need for increased technology integration in K-20 education.
  • Educators recognize that there is a large gap between current and ideal levels of implementation, which they aspire to fill.
  • Only 40 percent of K-12 education institutions feel prepared for upcoming online assessments.

The survey, which transitioned to a seven-point benchmarking scale this year, was distributed to nearly 1,000 educators and administrators with the help of many partner organizations – edWeb.com being the most prolific recruiter. SIIA also recognizes its lead partner, MMS Education, for its work on the Vision K-20 Survey analysis and report.

To view the Executive Summary of the 2014 Vision K-20 Survey Report, visit http://siia.net/visionk20/2014_VK20-ES.pdf.

To download the full report, visit http://siia.net/visionk20/2014_VK20.pdf.

For more information on the 2014 Vision K-20 Survey results, contact lharman@siia.net.

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Karen BillingsKaren Billings is Vice President for the Education Division at SIIA. Follow the SIIA Education Team on Twitter at @SIIAEducation

SIIA Releases Student Privacy Policy Guidelines & Recommendations During Testimony before the CA State Assembly

The safeguarding of student privacy and data security remains on the agenda for many state (and federal) policymakers. SIIA took the opportunity of its invited testimony before the California state legislature to release its new “Policy Guidelines for Building a Student Privacy Trust Framework.”

The SIIA guidelines outline principles and considerations to ensure policies are appropriately targeted to enhance student confidentiality while limiting unintended or unnecessary barriers to school operations or digital learning opportunities. SIIA shared many of these before the California State Assembly hearing  (see video starting at 33 minutes) on “Ensuring Student Privacy in the Digital Age,” hosted jointly by the Education and Select Privacy Committees.

Today, new technologies like cloud computing are enhancing school capacity, providing: adaptive and personalized learning, anytime, anywhere data access, enhanced data management functionality, powerful data analytics, and improved security. These tools and techniques allow educators to manage more data in more cost effective and sophisticated ways to inform instruction and enhance school productivity.

While a framework of laws and practices has been highly effective in safeguarding student confidentiality, we recognize the need to continually review policies and improve practices to enhance the trust framework between parents, schools and service providers.

We are pleased that stakeholders are doing just that in response to recent questions and concerns:

SIIA is working to inform legislators across the country as they develop and debate new regulation, but we are concerned some of the policy solutions may be ahead of and over-correct the actualized problems. It is important that new legislative requirements provide sufficient local flexibility, are not overly restrictive or impractical so as to discourage and stifle innovation, and are consistent with existing federal protections to avoid regulatory conflicts and stakeholder confusion.

We touched on several of our newly released policy guidelines at the California hearing:

First, new policies should limit the scope to student personally identifiable information as defined under federal law.

Second, new policies should focus on the need to educate, equip, and empower schools and educators to make informed decisions that safeguard student data and serve student learning. This can be accomplished through transparency by schools and service providers, by instituting local and state governance around data use policies, and by building capacity through investment in professional development, data security technology tools, and student digital literacy. These are important alternatives, or at least complements, to policy prohibitions that may not account for unique local and evolving circumstances.

Third, new policies should provide schools and agencies with the flexibility around the use of student information to meet their goals as determined locally within the existing framework of federal protections. SIIA agrees student personal information should not be used for non-educational purposes such as selling data to insurance companies or targeting insurance advertising. SIIA agrees it should be used only for the educational purposes for which it was entrusted. The challenge is translating these principles into statute in a manner future-proofed for the wave of digital learning transformation at home and at school. Use policies should distinguish between inappropriate commercial use of personal data for non-educational purposes and the appropriate actions of a for-profit (or non-profit) school service provider to use that information for educational uses authorized by its customers and federal law, for educational product evaluation, improvement, and development and to drive adaptive and customized learning at school and home.

Fourth, while SIIA agrees with the general practice to delete data when no longer needed for the purpose for which it was collected is the appropriate general practice, policies must differentiate around data type, use and control. For example, deletion decisions are most often under the direct control of the school (not the service provider), while new models provide for parent-consented and owned personal student accounts (and their data, apps and student-created resources). Further, absolute destruction is not appropriate where aggregated, de-identified and other anonymous data is often needed for ongoing educational purposes such as to power software algorithms or where personal information is needed for accountability systems or future transcript services.

Fifth, new policies governing local contract requirements must allow for flexibility between local schools and their service providers. Any state requirements should provide a template identifying what issues should be addressed rather than prescribing the specific terms for how.

SIIA agrees with the need to safeguard student data privacy and security. Further policy protections must be carefully crafted so that privacy protection floors do not inadvertently and unnecessarily lead to educational ceilings. SIIA instead encourages new policies to be focused on transparency, governance and capacity to empower parents and school officials to make sound and safe use of student information that advance student learning.


Mark SchneidermanMark Schneiderman is Senior Director of Education Policy at SIIA.

SIIA Announces 2014 CODiE Award Winners in Education

SIIA announced winners of the 2014 CODiE™ Awards in education categories during a special awards reception and dinner, held during SIIA’s annual Education Industry Summit. Overall, 31 winners were recognized for their products and services deployed specifically for the education market.

All of the nominated education products and services were first reviewed by a group of tech-savvy educators from across the nation, whose evaluations determined 146 finalists. SIIA members then reviewed these finalists and voted to select 31 CODiE Award winners, listed here by category, company, and product/service:

Best Classroom Management Solution ClassLink, Inc. LaunchPad Suite
Best Education Reference Solution Credo Reference Literati School
Best Student Assessment Solution Edmentum Edmentum’s Study Island
Best Learning Game ExploreLearning.com ExploreLearning Reflex
Best Corporate Learning/Workforce Development Solution Global eTraining GeT Interactive
Best Collaboration Solution for Students Houghton Mifflin Harcourt myWriteSmart
Best Solution for Special Needs Students Inclusive Technology Ltd ChooseIt! Maker 3
Best Professional Learning Solution for Education Insight Education Group myCore
Best PK-12 Personalized Learning Solution itslearning, Inc. itslearning
Best Science/Health Instructional Solution JASON Learning, National Geographic Society JASON Expedition Center
Best Education Cloud-Based Solution JASON Learning, National Geographic Society JASON Expedition Center
Best Instructional Solution in Other Curriculum Areas Learning.com Inquiry
Best K-12 Enterprise Solution Learnosity The Learnosity Publisher Toolkit
Best Campus Academic Management Solutions Pearson EQUELLA
Best Collaborative Social Media Solution for Educators Promethean Inc. (USA) Promethean Planet
Best Reading/English/ELL Instructional Solution ReadWorks ReadWorks
Best Game-Based Curriculum Solution Rullingnet VINCI Curriculum
Best K-12 Course or Learning Management Solution Schoology, Inc. Schoology
Best Cross-Curricular Solution SharpSchool SharpSchool K-12 Website Solution
Best Mathematics Instructional Solution Think Through Learning Think Through Math
Best Postsecondary Personalized Learning Solution Tutor.com Tutor.com for Higher Education
Best Postsecondary Learning Solution uCertify uCertify LABS
Best Educational App for a Mobile Device Vernier Software & Technology – Software Division Graphical Analysis for iPad
Best Project-Centered Learning Solution World Wide Workshop Globaloria
Best Postsecondary Enterprise Solution Blackboard Inc. Blackboard Analytics
Best Social Sciences Instructional Solution SAGE IntroStats Online
Best Use of Video to Support Students Learning Delmar Cengage Learning Health Care Career Exploration Learning Lab
Best Virtual Learning Solution McGraw-Hill Education Onboard for Advanced Placement

Three top winners were also announced during the awards ceremony:

Best K-12 Solution Schoology, Inc. Schoology
Best Postsecondary Solution Blackboard, Inc. Blackboard Analytics
Best Education Solution Schoology, Inc. Schoology

For more information about the CODiE Awards, visit http://www.siia.net/codies/2014/.

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Karen BillingsKaren Billings is Vice President for the Education Division at SIIA. Follow the SIIA Education Team on Twitter at @SIIAEducation

SIIA Announces Innovation Incubator Award Winners

SIIA showcased some of the newest and most innovative products in the education technology market, and recognized the best among them as part of the Innovation Incubator program at the 13th annual Education Industry Summit, the leading conference for the K-12 and postsecondary education technology market, held May 12-14 at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco.

Award Winners:

Runners-Up:

More than 50 applicants were assessed for the Innovation Incubator program on a broad range of criteria. They were judged by both industry leaders and educators in classrooms around the country.  Ten participants and one alternate were selected as finalists for the program and the winners were judged by the ed tech leaders at the Ed Industry Summit.

The Full list of Finalists:

The SIIA Innovation Incubator Program identifies and supports entrepreneurs in their development and distribution of innovative learning technologies. The program began in 2006 and has provided support for dozens of successful products and companies in their efforts to improve education through the use of software, digital content, and related technologies. The program is open to applicants from academic and non-profit institutions, pre-revenue and early-stage companies, as well as established companies with newly developed technologies.

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Karen BillingsKaren Billings is Vice President for the Education Division at SIIA. Follow the SIIA Education Team on Twitter at @SIIAEducation

SIIA Education Industry Summit 2014 to be Streamed Live

SIIA is holding its 11th annual Education Industry Summit (Twitter: #SIIAEd14), the nation’s leading education technology conference. This year’s theme is “Meet @ the Cutting Edge.” Conference sessions will review what’s coming next in the teaching and learning process in a post-PC world, and will prepare education solution providers with the knowledge needed to build the infrastructure, products, and services that schools want or need.

JDL Horizons, using its flagship Internet streaming solution EduVision, will produce and stream three key sessions:

Monday, May 12, 4:00 – 5:30pm PDT – Live presentations by Innovation Incubator Award Finalists will be made to a panel of reviewers, to determine those that are “Most Innovative” and “Most Likely to Succeed.”
Tuesday, May 13, 12:30-1:45pm PDT – Education Technology Awards Luncheon – announcing the winners of the Innovation Incubator Program and the recipients of the Ed Tech Impact Award and Education Lifetime Achievement Award.
Tuesday, May 13, 6:30-9:00pm PDTCODiE Awards- announcing the winner of the CODiE Awards. The CODiE Awards showcase applications, products, and services from developers of educational software, digital content, online learning services, and related technologies across the K-20 sector.

District Administration will deliver these events live to a national audience of hundreds of thousands of education leaders throughout North America and around the world. Streaming will be available at: universitybusiness.com/siia and districtadministration.com/siia

More information can be found on the summit’s web site at: http://www.siia.net/eis/2014/

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Karen BillingsKaren Billings is Vice President for the Education Division at SIIA. Follow the SIIA Education Team on Twitter at @SIIAEducation

SIIA Agrees with Obama Administration’s Call for “Responsible Educational Innovation in the Digital Age”

The Obama Administration today released a report on “Big Data: Seizing Opportunities, Preserving Values.” SIIA welcomed the report’s assessment that big data provides substantial public benefits and will provide more benefits in the future.

The report highlights a number of big data opportunities, including in education:

“Beyond personalizing education, the availability of new types of data profoundly improves researchers’ ability to learn about learning. Data from a student’s experience . . . can be precisely tracked, opening the door to understanding how students move through a learning trajectory with greater fidelity, and at greater scale, than traditional education research is able to achieve. This includes gaining insight into student access of learning activities, measuring optimal practice periods for meeting different learning objectives, creating pathways through material for different learning approaches, and using that in-formation to help students who are struggling in similar ways.”

SIIA agrees with the Obama Administration and others who have found that big data improves education around the world.

SIIA also agrees with the Administration’s report that: “The big data revolution in education also raises serious questions about how best to protect student privacy as technology reaches further into the classroom.” Schools and service providers have a shared responsibility to protect the privacy and security of student information. The effective use of student information to improve learning will require a continued trust framework between all stakeholders – e.g., parents and schools; schools and service providers; and service providers and parents – to safeguard student data privacy and security. One way schools and service providers now achieve this trust is through policies and procedures that limit the collection and uses of student personal information to legitimate educational purposes.

As the Administration report outlines: “The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act provide a federal regulatory framework to protect the privacy of students . . .” SIIA also recognizes the caveat that follows “. . . —but FERPA was written before the Internet, and COPPA was written before smartphones, tablets, apps, the cloud, and big data.”

To that end, SIIA believes that the obligation to safeguard student data privacy and security means that continued review and enhancements are needed in the framework of our policies, practices and technologies. Specifically, SIIA supports the Administration’s recommendation that:

“The federal government should ensure that data collected in schools is used for educational purposes and continue to support investment and innovation that raises the level of performance across our schools. To promote this innovation, it should explore how to modernize the privacy regulatory framework under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act and Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act to ensure two complementary goals: 1) protecting students against their data being shared or used inappropriately, especially when that data is gathered in an educational context, and 2) ensuring that innovation in educational technology, including new approaches and business models, have ample opportunity to flourish.”

As policymakers work with educators, parents and developers to examine evolving needs, it is critical that any new policies intended to create a privacy and security floor do not unintentionally create a digital learning ceiling. As the Administration notes: “Students and their families need robust protection against current and emerging harms, but they also deserve access to the learning advancements enabled by technology that promise to empower all students to reach their full potential.”

Modernizing the privacy regulatory framework need not involve new legislation. The federal government has taken important recent steps in modernizing by updating COPPA and FERPA guidance. Responding to the calls for additional industry self-regulation, our organization has released “Best Practices for the Safeguarding of Student Information Privacy and Security for Providers of School Services.”

Finally, SIIA also agrees that our pathway forward involves not only regulatory protections, but as importantly digital literacy to empower students and families to understand how data can be used and shared to serve them and society, and also what tools and techniques they can use to ensure appropriate use of their personally sensitive data. As the report notes, “Digital literacy—understanding how personal data is collected, shared, and used—should be recognized as an essential skill in K-12 education and be integrated into the standard curriculum.”


Mark SchneidermanMark Schneiderman is Senior Director of Education Policy at SIIA.

SIIA Honors Industry Veterans with Lifetime Achievement Award and Ed Tech Impact Award

The Education Division of the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) announces that it will honor Dr. Leonard Hall, co-founder of education companies SkillsBank Corporation and Impact Education, with its prestigious Education Lifetime Achievement Award. SIIA will also present its Ed Tech Impact Award to Sue Collins, principal at CollinsConsults, during the upcoming Education Industry Summit held in San Francisco May 12-14.

During a special awards ceremony, Dr. Hall will be presented with the award by his son, Adam Hall, president of Nervanix, as SIIA highlights Dr. Hall’s accomplishments and contributions to the education technology industry. When Dr. Hall joined two other colleagues to co-found SkillsBank Corporation, he did so from the foundation of an already remarkable career in Education and Health & Human Services. The SkillsBank series of basic skills software focused on “at-risk learners” and adults wanting to learn unattained skills. The series was introduced first as a beta for Timex Sinclair on cassette tape and piloted for IBM, then entering the infant stages of educational software on desktop computers. By the time it was acquired by The Learning Company in 1997, SkillsBank was among the most widely adopted educational software in the nation’s schools.

In 2000, Dr. Hall came out of retirement to co-found another business with his son, Adam, and wife, Nancy. Impact Education was a distributor of instructional software and offered an array of propriety data analytics that, to a large extent, served as prescient indicators of the big data and integrated platform features that are on the rise today. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt acquired Impact Education in 2010.

In addition, SIIA will present the Ed Tech Impact Award to Collins for her accomplishments and contributions to the education technology industry, as well as to the Education Division of SIIA. Collins began her career 35 years ago as a teacher, and she has held positions in both the public and private sector sides of the education technology industry. She left the classroom to become a district-level administrator and soon transitioned to the state level, where she served as the education technology director for the State of Washington. During the Clinton Administration, she was appointed to the Web-based Education Commission and represented SIIA in testimony before the U.S. Congress.

Collins has held senior-level positions at Apple Computer, Compaq Computer, Jostens Learning, bigchalk.com, and Apex Learning. In her consultancy, She provides strategic solutions to education technology businesses. Collins’ experience on both sides of the education industry has enabled her to understand and expertly navigate public policy as it relates to education and technology. As a consultant in the ed tech space, she continues to provide expert and strategic advice to a variety of companies.  Over the years, she has served on various ed tech industry boards.

Collins was a driving force behind the development of the Vision K20 initiative, from the goals to the brochure to the website to the survey instrument. She has been an active member of SIIA through the years, previously spending eight years on the SIIA Education Board, and as co-chair for part of her tenure. Collins has also been a key contributor on the Ed Board Alumni Group.

For more information or to register for the Education Industry Summit, visit siia.net/eis/2014/incubator.asp or contact Lindsay Harman at lharman@siia.net.

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Karen BillingsKaren Billings is Vice President for the Education Division at SIIA. Follow the SIIA Education Team on Twitter at @SIIAEducation

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