This week – in partnership with the Future of Privacy Forum – I published “There Can Be No Privacy Without Security: Emerging Lessons from the K-12 Cyber Incident Map” on their education privacy resource center, FERPA|Sherpa, as well as on this site. Based on 17 months of data (since January 2016), the post summarizes high-level trends in publicly reported cyber incidents that have victimized U.S. K-12 public schools and districts.

I contend that if there is an Achilles’ heel to a future of robust personalized learning for all K-12 students, it is the uneven attention to the cybersecurity risks facing school information technology assets and data. Among the key findings:

  • Since January 2016, at least 141 U.S. K-12 schools and districts have been the subject of one or more publicly disclosed cyber incidents.
  • A total of 67 incidents were reported during 2016; 74 have been reported so far in the first 5 months of 2017. If this pace continues, it will represent over a 100 percent increase in reported incidents over last year.
  • School staff and students (i.e., ‘school insiders’ and not external actors) were directly responsible for about one in four cyber incidents perpetrated against K-12 schools.
  • Students were responsible for half of the cases that positively reported involving school insiders. Some of those incidents have led to criminal charges against students and/or school expulsions.

You can read more about the findings unveiled in the post in this article published in the THE Journal, and be sure to follow @K12CyberMap on Twitter to stay up to date on updates to and news about EdTech Strategies’ K-12 Cyber Incident Map.

Also this week, Natasha Singer of the New York Times is out with the second piece in her must-read series, Education Disrupted. This article, “The Silicon Valley Billionaires Remaking America’s Schools,” focuses on the culture clash between big tech and public school bureaucracy and values. I’ve seen a fair bit of hand-wringing and name calling (“fear mongering,” “hit job”) about her writing in this series. Personally, I think the pieces invite important dialogue on the dramatic, technology-enabled changes remaking U.S. schools and whether and where new guardrails may be needed to avoid conflicts of interest and the undermining of the democratic underpinnings of public schools.

Plus, the pieces are really well-written. If nothing else, read it for gems of insight like this:

Otherwise, here’s what caught my eye this week – news, tools, and reports about education, public policy, technology, and innovation – including a little bit about why. No endorsements; no sponsored content; no apologies for my eclectic tastes.

Strong opinions may be weakly held.

A Thinking Person’s Guide to EdTech News (2017 Week 23 Edition)

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