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Alternative Education

‘Alternative’ Education: Using Charter Schools to Hide Dropouts and Game the System

School officials nationwide dodge accountability ratings by steering low achievers to alternative programs. In Orlando, Florida, the nation’s tenth-largest district, thousands of students who leave alternative charters run by a for-profit company aren’t counted as dropouts.

This story was co-published with USA Today.

https://www.propublica.org/article/alternative-education-using-charter-schools-hide-dropouts-and-game-system

Accelerated Learning Solutions (ALS), a more than $1.5 million-a-year “management fee,” 2015 financial records show — more than what the school spends on instruction.

alternative schools at times become warehouses where regular schools stow poor performers to avoid being held accountable.

Concerns that schools artificially boosted test scores by dumping low achievers into alternative programs have surfaced in connection with ongoing litigation in Louisiana and Pennsylvania, and echo findings from a legislative report a decade ago in California. The phenomenon is borne out by national data: While the number of students in alternative schools grew moderately over the past 15 years, upticks occurred as new national mandates kicked in on standardized testing and graduation rates.

The role of charter alternative schools like Sunshine — publicly funded but managed by for-profit companies — is likely to grow under the new U.S. Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, an ardent supporter of school choice. In her home state of Michigan, charter schools have been responsible in part for a steep rise in the alternative school population. She recently portrayed Florida as a national model for charters and choice.

No Child Left Behind was supposed to improve educational outcomes for students long overlooked — including those who were black, Hispanic and low-income.

Nationwide, nearly a third of the alternative-school population attends a school that spends at least $500 less per pupil than regular schools do in the same district. Forty percent of school districts with alternative schools provide counseling services only in regular schools. Charter alternative schools — both virtual and bricks-and-mortar — in Ohio, Georgia and Florida have been accused of collecting public money for students who weren’t in classes.

Orlando schools are not unique in using alternative programs to remove struggling students from traditional classrooms. As far back as 2007, a legislative report in California warned that the state’s accountability system allowed traditional schools to shirk responsibility for low-performing students by referring them to alternative schools. The state is currently reviewing its standards for alternative schools.

Companies running schools in this niche often save costs by relying on computer programs that reduce the need for credentialed teachers. The market can be lucrative: As enrollment grew, ALS’ management fees from the schools it operates in Orange County more than doubled from $2.5 million in the 2012 school year to $5.4 million in 2015. The company says the fees pay for back-office services, such as human resources, as well as school-based support for areas such as curriculum, reading, math, security, and professional development.

The company’s affiliate — the controversial Nashville-based Community Education Partners, or CEP — contracted with school districts to serve students with behavior problems. The company, founded by a lawyer and Republican Party operative named Randle Richardson, ran schools for students who had committed disciplinary violations in cities such as Atlanta, Philadelphia, Houston and Orlando for more than a decade. Critics called CEP’s schools prison-like and dangerous, and charged that their academics were sub-par.

 

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more on charter schools in this blog
http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=charter+schools

education secretary

A Former Education Secretary’s Advice For Betsy DeVos

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more on NCLB
http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=no+child+left

10 Big Hurdles to Identifying and Educating the Nation’s Smartest Kids

10 Big Hurdles to Identifying and Educating the Nation’s Smartest Kids

1. Just 8.8 percent of U.S. students are classified as “high achievers” in mathematics, according to the most recent international assessments. That’s well below the average of 12.6 percent for affluent nations.

2. No Child Left Behind, the 2001 federal law, incentivizes “just getting kids over a bar,” Finn says. “In the public policies affecting our schools — state and federal — there’s almost no incentive to boost a smart kid up the scale or take someone who’s ‘proficient’ and push them to ‘advanced.’ ” [We’ve written before about proficiency and the tendency, under high-stakes testing, for schools to focus resources on kids who are “on the bubble.”]

7. One promising practice from overseas is screening all kids at third or fourth grade — after they’ve had a few years of school — and directing special resources to the top scorers. Here in the U.S., all third-graders are tested, but the high scorers don’t get anything. Meanwhile, screening for gifted programs usually happens in kindergarten, which creates a heavy bias toward those who come from more affluent homes.

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more on gifted education in this IMS blog

http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=gifted

testing in schools

It is on its way out. But not exactly. Can it get more confusing as it is… Apparently, it can…

Obama Administration Calls for Limits on Testing in Schools

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/25/us/obama-administration-calls-for-limits-on-testing-in-schools.html

Obama Announces End Of ‘No Child Left Behind’ Era: Education Is More Than Tests

http://www.addictinginfo.org/2015/10/24/obama-announces-end-of-no-child-left-behind-era-education-is-more-than-tests/

why did this administration had to continue the insanity called NCLB from the previous one [for two presidential mandates]?

Reforming No Child Left Behind

https://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/education/k-12/reforming-no-child-left-behind

One Step Closer to Life After No Child Left Behind

http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2015/07/one-step-closer-to-life-after-no-child-left-behind/398801/

The new law—the Every Child Achieves Act—would give much of that decision-making power back to states. Instead of the feds, state-level officials would determine how to assess academic performance, what counts as a struggling school, and which mechanisms to use to hold educators accountable for achievement. No more top-down reforms. No more mandatory interventions. No more Washington, D.C., bureaucrats stepping on the toes of local policymakers and educators who are much more in tune with their communities’ needs.

Right? Of course not. There’s plenty of important nuance here, and the legislative tug-of-war is just getting started.

Eight problems with Common Core Standards  August 21, 2012

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/eight-problems-with-common-core-standards/2012/08/21/821b300a-e4e7-11e1-8f62-58260e3940a0_blog.html

 

test and US education

No Child Left Behind and other programs that emphasized standardized tests increased this problem, according to Maggiano. The more the school system relies on standardized testing, he says, the more difficult it is for teachers to foster critical thinking and other useful skills.

Award-winning Virginia teacher: ‘I can no longer cooperate’ with testing regime

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/05/26/award-winning-virginia-teacher-i-can-no-longer-cooperate-with-testing-regime/

Fukuyama Identity Politics

Francis Fukuyama: Identity politics

The demand for dignity and the nation state’s future

http://www.erstestiftung.org/en/francis-fukuyama-identity-politics/

7 March 2019 in Vienna. Francis Fukuyama

since 1989 or 1991, we had been living in a growing liberal international order.

The number of democracies in this period went from about 35 in 1970, and peaked at something like a 115 to a 120, depending on how you measure a democracy. By the early 2000s, the global output of the world economy quadrupled.

the rise of a couple of very self-confident and newly assertive authoritarian powers: Russia and China. But from my standpoint, the most disturbing thing was this emergence of populism within established democracies and in fact, within the two most established democracies: Britain and the US.

The first definition is an economic one: a populist is a leader, who promotes economic policies or social policies that are popular on the short run but disastrous on the long run.

The second definition is more of a political style than anything else: a populist leader tries to be charismatic and says: I have a direct connection with you, the people. And that is actually quite important because it makes a populist, I think, ipso facto anti-institutional.
A democracy is not just popular elections, it is also the protection of minority rights, it is also having a moderate government that really reflects the true will of the people. And populists tend to authoritarian politics because they do not like institutions getting in the way

The third definition is that a populist, when they say “I support the people”, often times do not mean the whole people. They mean a certain kind of person, usually defined by race or ethnicity. Often times in terms of traditional cultural values or as a traditional sense of national identity. And that does not correspond to the actual population that might live in that country.

Now we have a populist coalition in Italy, and Latin America elected its first Northern European style populist in Jair Bolsonaro. Most Latin American populists are like Southern European populists: they are left wing, they are not ethnically exclusive, they are more economic populists. But Latin America has decided to join the crowd, and so they elected a leader that is, you know, racially prejudiced, that has a fundamentalist Christian understanding of what Brasil should be about.

if you are a lower-skilled, less educated worker in a rich country, you are liable to lose out to a similarly skilled worker in a poor country.

Right from the beginning, the rap against democracy is that it produces weak government. Democracies cannot make decisions. there is a big desire on the part of a lot of ordinary people to have a strong man, a leader who can just cut through all this blather, make decisions and get things done.

The third reason is cultural, and that is the one that has to do with identity.
the word identity and Identity Politics was really not used commonly until the 1950s. A psychologist, Erik Erikson
the inner self is the one that is valuable, and the whole outside society has to change, and that is what is happening right now. Men are going through a cultural retraining, they are learning that actually their rules are not the right ones, and we need a different set of rules in relations between men and women that respect the dignity of the whole person in those kinds of relationships.

European Muslims, did not feel comfortable with their parents’ form of religiosity, they thought that it was too old fashioned and traditional, but they also did not feel well-integrated into the society, in which they were living.

“Strangers in Their Own Land” by sociologist Arlie Hochschild

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more on Fukuyama in this IMS blog
http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=fukuyama

Educators in VR

Info on all presentations: https://account.altvr.com/channels/1182698623012438188

Charlie Fink: Setting the Table for the Next Decade in XR

Translating Training Requirements into Immersive Experience

Virtual Reality Technologies for Learning Designers

Virtual Reality Technologies for Learning Designers Margherita Berti

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Technology Acceptance and Learning Process Victoria Bolotina part 1

Technology Acceptance and Learning Process Victoria Bolotina part 2

Assessment of Learning Activities in VR Evelien Ydo part 2

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VR: So Much More Than a Field Trip Shannon Putman, Graduate Assistant/PhD Student, University of Louisville SPED special education https://account.altvr.com/events/1406092840622096803

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VR and Health Professionals Rob Theriault

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Transform Your History Lessons with AR and VR Michael Fricano II

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Transform Your History Lessons with AR and VR Michael Fricano II, Technology Integration Specialist https://www.arvreduhub.com/transform-history

Qlone App for 3D scanning

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2020 Educators in VR International Summit

The 2020 Educators in VR International Summit is February 17-22. It features over 170 speakers in 150+ events across multiple social and educational platforms including AltspaceVRENGAGErumiiMozilla Hubs, and Somnium Space.

The event requires no registration, and is virtual only, free, and open to the public. Platform access is required, so please install one of the above platforms to attend the International Summit. You may attend in 2D on a desktop or laptop computer with a headphone and microphone (USB gaming headphone recommended), or with a virtual device such as the Oculus Go, Quest, and Rift, Vive, and other mobile and tethered devices. Please note the specifications and requirements of each platform.

The majority of our events are on AltspaceVR. AltspaceVR is available for Samsung GearSteam Store for HTC ViveWindows Mixed Reality, and the Oculus Store for RiftGo and Quest users. Download and install the 2D version for use on your Windows desktop computer.

Charlie Fink, author, columnist for Forbes magazine, and Adjunct Faculty member of Chapman University, will be presenting “Setting the Table for the Next Decade in XR,” discussing the future of this innovative and immersive technology, at the 2020 Educators in VR International Summit. He will be speaking in AltspaceVR on Tuesday, February 18 at 1:00 PM EST /

International Summit

Setting the Table for the Next Decade in XR 1PM, Tues, Feb 18 https://account.altvr.com/events/1406089727517393133

Finding a New Literacy for a New Reality 5PM, Tues, Feb 18

https://account.altvr.com/events/1406093036194103494 schedule for new literacy

Finding a New Literacy for a New Reality

Dr. Sarah Jones, Deputy Dean, De Montfort University

This workshop with Dr. Sarah Jones will focus on developing a relevant and new literacy for virtual reality, including the core competencies and skills needed to develop and understand how to become an engaged user of the technology in a meaningful way. The workshop will develop into research for a forthcoming book on Uncovering a Literacy for VR due to be published in 2020.

Sarah is listed as one of the top 15 global influencers within virtual reality. After nearly a decade in television news, Sarah began working in universities focusing on future media, future technology and future education. Sarah holds a PhD in Immersive Storytelling and has published extensively on virtual and augmented reality, whilst continuing to make and create immersive experiences. She has advised the UK Government on Immersive Technologies and delivers keynotes and speaks at conferences across the world on imagining future technology. Sarah is committed to diversifying the media and technology industries and regularly champions initiatives to support this agenda.

Inter-cognitive and Intra-cognitive Communication in Virtual Reality

Inter-cognitive and Intra-cognitive Communication in Virtual Reality

Michael Vallance, Professor, Future University Hakodate

Currently there are limited ways to connect 3D VR environments to physical objects in the real-world whilst simultaneously conducting communication and collaboration between remote users. Within the context of a solar power plant, the performance metrics of the site are invaluable for environmental engineers who are remotely located. Often two or more remotely located engineers need to communicate and collaborate on solving a problem. If a solar panel component is damaged, the repair often needs to be undertaken on-site thereby incurring additional expenses. This triage of communication is known as inter-cognitive communication and intra-cognitive communication: inter-cognitive communication where information transfer occurs between two cognitive entities with different cognitive capabilities (e.g., between a human and an artificially cognitive system); intra-cognitive communication where information transfer occurs between two cognitive entities with equivalent cognitive capabilities (e.g., between two humans) [Baranyi and Csapo, 2010]. Currently, non-VR solutions offer a comprehensive analysis of solar plant data. A regular PC with a monitor currently have advantages over 3D VR. For example, sensors can be monitored using dedicated software such as EPEVER or via a web browser; as exemplified by the comprehensive service provided by Elseta. But when multiple users are able to collaborate remotely within a three-dimensional virtual simulation, the opportunities for communication, training and academic education will be profound.

Michael Vallance Ed.D. is a researcher in the Department of Media Architecture, Future University Hakodate, Japan. He has been involved in educational technology design, implementation, research and consultancy for over twenty years, working closely with Higher Education Institutes, schools and media companies in UK, Singapore, Malaysia and Japan. His 3D virtual world design and tele-robotics research has been recognized and funded by the UK Prime Minister’s Initiative (PMI2) and the Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (JAIST). He has been awarded by the United States Army for his research in collaborating the programming of robots in a 3D Virtual World.

Create Strategic Snapchat & Instagram AR Campaigns

Create Strategic Snapchat & Instagram AR Campaigns

Dominique Wu, CEO/Founder, Hummingbirdsday

Augmented Reality Lens is popular among young people thanks to Snapchat’s invention. Business is losing money without fully using of social media targeting young people (14-25). In my presentation, Dominique Wu will show how businesses can generate more leads through Spark AR (Facebook AR/Instagram AR) & Snapchat AR Lens, and how to create a strategic Snapchat & Instagram AR campaigns.

Domnique Wu is an XR social media strategist and expert in UX/UI design.She has her own YouTube and Apple Podcast show called “XReality: Digital Transformation,” covering the technology and techniques of incorporating XR and AR into social media, marketing, and integration into enterprise solutions.

Mixed Reality in Classrooms Near You

Mixed Reality in Classrooms Near You

Mark Christian, EVP, Strategy and Corporate Development, GIGXR

Mixed Reality devices like the HoloLens are transforming education now. Mark Christian will discuss how the technology is not about edge use cases or POCs, but real usable products that are at Universities transforming the way we teach and learn. Christian will talk about the products of GIGXR, the story of how they were developed and what the research is saying about their efficacy. It is time to move to adoption of XR technology in education. Learn how one team has made this a reality.

As CEO of forward-thinking virtual reality and software companies, Mark Christian employs asymmetric approaches to rapid, global market adoption, hiring, diversity and revenue. He prides himself on unconventional approaches to building technology companies.

Designing Educational Content in VR

Designing Educational Content in VR

Avinash Gyawali, VR Developer, Weaver Studio

Virtual Reality is an effective medium to impart education to the student only if it is done right.The way VR is considered gimmick or not is by the way the software application are designed/developed by the developers not the hardware limitation.I will be giving insight about the VR development for educational content specifically designed for students of lower secondary school.I will also provide insights about the development of game in unity3D game engine.

Game Developer and VR developer with over 3 years of experience in Game Development.Developer of Zombie Shooter, winner of various national awards in the gaming and entertainment category, Avinash Gyawali is the developer of EDVR, an immersive voice controlled VR experience specially designed for children of age 10-18 years.

8:00 AM PST Research Virtual Reality Technologies for Learning Designers Margherita Berti ASVR

Virtual Reality Technologies for Learning Designers

Margherita Berti

Virtual Reality (VR) is a computer-generated experience that simulates presence in real or imagined environments (Kerrebrock, Brengman, & Willems, 2017). VR promotes contextualized learning, authentic experiences, critical thinking, and problem-solving opportunities. Despite the great potential and popularity of this technology, the latest two installations of the Educause Horizon Report (2018, 2019) have argued that VR remains “elusive” in terms of mainstream adoption. The reasons are varied, including the expense and the lack of empirical evidence for its effectiveness in education. More importantly, examples of successful VR implementations for those instructors who lack technical skills are still scarce. Margherita Berti will discuss a range of easy-to-use educational VR tools and examples of VR-based activity examples and the learning theories and instructional design principles utilized for their development.

Margherita Berti is a doctoral candidate in Second Language Acquisition and Teaching (SLAT) and Educational Technology at the University of Arizona. Her research specialization resides at the intersection of virtual reality, the teaching of culture, and curriculum and content development for foreign language education.

Wed 11:00 AM PST Special Event Gamifying the Biblioverse with Metaverse Amanda Fox VR Design / Biblioverse / Training & Embodiment ASVR

Gamifying the Biblioverse with Metaverse

Amanda Fox, Creative Director of STEAMPunks/MetaInk Publishing, MetaInk Publishing

There is a barrier between an author and readers of his/her books. The author’s journey ends, and the reader’s begins. But what if as an author/trainer, you could use gamification and augmented reality(AR) to interact and coach your readers as part of their learning journey? Attend this session with Amanda Fox to learn how the book Teachingland leverages augmented reality tools such as Metaverse to connect with readers beyond the text.

Amanda Fox, Creative Director of STEAMPunksEdu, and author of Teachingland: A Teacher’s Survival Guide to the Classroom Apolcalypse and Zom-Be A Design Thinker. Check her out on the Virtual Reality Podcast, or connect with her on twitter @AmandaFoxSTEM.

Wed 10:00 AM PST Research Didactic Activity of the Use of VR and Virtual Worlds to Teach Design Fundamentals Christian Jonathan Angel Rueda VR Design / Biblioverse / Training & Embodiment ASVR

Didactic Activity of the Use of VR and Virtual Worlds to Teach Design Fundamentals

Christian Jonathan Angel Rueda, research professor, Autonomous University of Queretaro (Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro)

Christian Jonathan Angel Rueda specializaes in didactic activity of the use of virtual reality/virtual worlds to learn the fundamentals of design. He shares the development of a course including recreating in the three-dimensional environment using the fundamentals learned in class, a demonstration of all the works developed throughout the semester using the knowledge of design foundation to show them creatively, and a final project class scenario that connected with the scenes of the students who showed their work throughout the semester.

Christian Jonathan Angel Rueda is a research professor at the Autonomous University of Queretaro in Mexico. With a PhD in educational technology, Christian has published several papers on the intersection of education, pedagogy, and three-dimensional immersive digital environments. He is also an edtech, virtual reality, and social media consultant at Eco Onis.

Thu 11:00 AM PST vCoaching Closing the Gap Between eLearning and XR Richard Van Tilborg XR eLearning / Laughter Medicine ASVR

Closing the Gap Between eLearning and XR

Richard Van Tilborg, founder, CoVince

How we can bridge the gap between eLearning and XR. Richard Van Tilborg discusses combining brain insights enabled with new technologies. Training and education cases realised with the CoVince platform: journeys which start on you mobile and continue in VR. The possibilities to earn from your creations and have a central distribution place for learning and data.

Richard Van Tilborg works with the CoVince platform, a VR platform offering training and educational programs for central distribution of learning and data. He is an author and speaker focusing on computers and education in virtual reality-based tasks for delivering feedback.

 

Thu 12:00 PM PST Research Assessment of Learning Activities in VR Evelien Ydo Technology Acceptance / Learning Assessment / Vaping Prevention ASVR
Thu 6:00 PM PST Down to Basics Copyright and Plagiarism Protections in VR Jonathan Bailey ASVR

 

Thu 8:00 PM PST Diversity Cyberbullying in VR John Williams, Brennan Hatton, Lorelle VanFossen ASVR

bullying victims Spain

“Let’s hope you kill yourself” – How Spain is failing bullying victims

Experts say that the authorities are doing little to help the growing number of young people who are dropping out of school and, in some cases, taking their own lives, because of abuse

https://elpais.com/elpais/2019/07/08/inenglish/1562600636_068148.html

 the crux of the matter, the reason why families and institutions are constantly clashing over school bullying
Madrid regional authorities claim that cases of school harassment are going down, but that is because it rejects most complaints: in the 2015-2016 academic school year, there were 573 complaints, of which only 179 were accepted.
In 2015, an 11-year-old boy named Diego killed himself and left a suicide note behind: “I can’t stand going to school anymore, and there’s no other way to stop going.” The child had been attending a religious school in Villaverde, in the Madrid region. The courts twice dismissed an investigation into his death, ruling out harassment of any kind.
“We are flooded with complaints, but school bullying is not listed in the criminal code. So other crimes have to be proven: physical injuries, crimes against moral integrity…,” says a spokesperson at the Madrid Juvenile Prosecution Service. In 2017 this department received 192 complaints and dismissed 81 because the individuals involved were under 14 and could not be held criminally liable.

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more on bullying in this IMS blog
http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=bully

change in the K12 sector

Twelve Years Later: What’s Really Changed in the K-12 Sector? (Part 1)

By Dave Stevenson     Apr 3, 2019

https://www.edsurge.com/news/2019-04-03-twelve-years-later-what-s-really-changed-in-the-k-12-sector-part-1

In fall 2007, Larry Berger, CEO of Wireless Generation (now Amplify) was invited to submit a paper to an “Entrepreneurship in Education”

As education entrepreneurs know, growth in K-12 comes hard. Sometimes very hard. We were living Marc Andreessen’s startup mantra: “You only ever experience two emotions: euphoria and terror.”

The edtech boom of the past two decades promised efficacy and new instructional models. Many teachers instead experience it as “clutter.” But poorly integrated standards, curriculum, assessment, and intervention materials have always been a problem.

When it comes to instruction, the work consists of four segments: core curriculum, supplemental (intervention, test prep, little books) curriculum, assessment, and technology (hardware, infrastructure and connectivity). Each of these workstreams are run by separate teams, using independent funding streams, only rarely coordinating. Schools rely—as they always have—on the hero in the classroom, who has to somehow synthesize everything for a roomful of children, every single day.

Twelve Years Later: How the K-12 Industry and Investment Landscape Has Shifted (Part 2)

By Dave Stevenson     Apr 5, 2019

https://www.edsurge.com/news/2019-04-05-twelve-years-later-how-the-k-12-industry-and-investment-landscape-has-shifted-part-2

Twelve years ago, Amplify CEO Larry Berger and I wrote about the “pareto distribution” of companies in the K-12 sector.

The “oligopoly” was the natural outcome of a highly decentralized system and fragmented demand. To serve 15,000-plus districts and more than 100,000 school buildings, a company needed huge sales and service teams; to afford them, the company needed a bookbag full of products across content areas, grade ranges, and use cases. The structure of demand created the “Big Three”—McGraw-Hill, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Pearson.

Meanwhile, the number of small players—further right on the pareto distribution—has grown dramatically. Online distribution and freemium business models have enabled companies like Flocabulary, Newsela, Nearpod, and others

few alternative models to consider:
companies like Remind, ClassDojo, and Edmodo, who all adopted a “West Coast” approach: collect active users now, with plans to monetize later.

The second includes the “platform” players—Schoology, itslearning, Canvas, and other LMS-like platforms. They have set out to do something differently, only possible by means of technology—to be the search, storage and distribution platform for instructional content.  Google Classroom has instead emerged as the de facto standard platform, fueled by the runaway adoption of Chromebooks.

The third includes “policy responsive” players—companies like Panorama, Ellevation or Wireless Generation. hese companies help school systems meet a new policy requirement—social-emotional learning, English Language Learning, and reading assessment, respectively.

capital investment K12 US education

But we’re not “decluttering” our classrooms or in our schools. What would it take for the private and public sectors to work shoulder-to-shoulder?
a catch-22: so long as buying is fragmented, it’s hard to justify the integrated product investment; so long as products are fragmented, it’s hard for a district to create an integrated instructional model.

Students Data Privacy

What Happens to Student Data Privacy When Chinese Firms Acquire U.S. Edtech Companies?

By Jenny Abamu     Apr 24, 2018

https://www.edsurge.com/news/2018-04-24-what-happens-to-student-data-privacy-when-chinese-firms-acquire-u-s-edtech-companies

Between the creation of a social rating system and street cameras with facial recognition capabilities, technology reports coming out of China have raised serious concerns for privacy advocates. These concerns are only heightened as Chinese investors turn their attention to the United States education technology space acquiring companies with millions of public school users.

A particularly notable deal this year centers on Edmodo, a cross between a social networking platform and a learning management system for schools that boasts having upwards of 90 million users. Net Dragon, a Chinese gaming company that is building a significant education division, bought Edmodo for a combination of cash and equity valued at $137.5 million earlier this month.

Edmodo began shifting to an advertising model last year, after years of struggling to generate revenue. This has left critics wondering why the Chinese firm chose to acquire Edmodo at such a price, some have gone as far as to call the move a data grab.

as data becomes a tool that governments such as Russia and China could use to influence voting systems or induce citizens into espionage, more legislators are turning their attention to the acquisitions of early-stage technology startups.

NetDragon officials, however, say they have no interest in these types of activities. Their main goal in acquiring United States edtech companies lies in building profitability, says Pep So, NetDragon’s Director of Corporate Development.

In 2015, the firm acquired the education technology platform, Promethean, a company that creates interactive displays for schools. NetDragon executives say that the Edmodo acquisition rounds out their education product portfolio—meaning the company will have tools for supporting multiple aspects of learning including; preparation, instructional delivery, homework, assignment grading, communication with parents students and teachers and a content marketplace.

NetDragon’s monetization plan for Edmodo focuses on building out content that gets sold via its platform. Similar to tools like TeachersPayTeachers, So hopes to see users putting up content on the platform’s marketplace, some free and others for a fee (including some virtual reality content), so that the community can buy, sell and review available educational tools.

As far as data privacy is concerned, So notes that NetDragon is still learning what it can and cannot do. He noted that the company will comply with Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), a federal regulation created in order to protect the privacy of children online, but says that the rules and regulations surrounding the law are confusing for all actors involved.

Historically, Chinese companies have faced trust and branding issues when moving into the United States market, and the reverse is also true for U.S. companies seeking to expand overseas. Companies have also struggled to learn the rules, regulations and operational procedures in place in other countries.

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Iran and Huawei top agenda as Pompeo meets Merkel for 45 minutes in Berlin

https://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/pompeo-merkel-iran-huawei-agenda-110409835.html

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Merkel to Ratchet up Huawei Restrictions in Concession to Hawks

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-11-13/merkel-to-ratchet-up-huawei-restrictions-in-concession-to-hawks

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more on data privacy in this IMS blog:
http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=data+privacy

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