Before partnering with LearnPlatform, the district employed a rating system when reviewing the privacy commitments of specific edtech products, however, the system lacked clear distinctions between actual privacy policies and interpretations of the providers’ privacy statements. The team wanted to reduce the amount of subjectivity involved.
Additionally, with the passage of the Illinois Student Online Personal Protection Act (SOPPA), the team knew they would have to act fast to be in compliance with the new law – the system they had in place simply wouldn’t cut it. SOPPA, which went into effect on July 1, 2021, required Illinois districts to provide guarantees that student data collected by edtech providers is protected and used for beneficial purposes only. Once the law officially passed, the Oak Park and River Forest team quickly began to consider how the new law would impact the edtech tools used in classrooms throughout the district and what they would need to do for compliance.
The district team wanted to be responsible stewards of student data and, as such, wanted to set up processes that would ensure they only approved edtech tools from companies that adhered to safe data practices in favor of students. Adhering to the policies put in place allows students to benefit from the applications and software without putting data into irresponsible hands.