Month: April 2015

The Student Digital Privacy and Parental Rights Act Introduced

by Kristie Burk

Yesterday, two senators introduced a bill called the “Student Digital Privacy and Parental Rights Act of 2015.” The bill aims to protect students’ data and privacy online. Under the bill, operators would

  • be prohibited from targeting advertising to a student, selling a student’s information to a third party, and creating a personal profile of a student for a non-school-related purpose.
  • be required to disclose to schools the types of information being collected and how that information will be used.
  • have to establish and maintain strong security procedures to prevent data breaches. In the event of a data breach, operators must notify the FTC and all potential victims of the breach in compliance with existing law.

The bill also gives more rights to parents, including the ability to authorize the use of student information for a non-educational purpose and the right to access and correct a student’s covered information.

You can read the full text of the bill here.


Tech Tip Tuesday: Use Google to Create a Quick Timer

by Kristie Burk

Today’s tip is quick and easy.  Did you know that you can use the Google search engine to create your own timer?  Go to google.comtimer and type in the word timer plus the amount of time in hours, minutes or seconds. You can also type right into the browser if you’re using Chrome.

Click on start and the timer begins!  You can also click on the frame to make the timer full screen.

How easy is that!?

Food for Thought Friday: More Changes in Higher Education

by Kristie Burk

DASD’s vision statement in its District-level Comprehensive Plan says, “For our future, we want our students to be career and/or college ready upon graduation.” In the same document, one of our shared values states that we believe that “every [DASD] high school graduate will be college and/or career ready.”

If one of our goals as a district is to prepare our students for college, it is vital that we understand what their college experience will be like and what skills they will need when they get there. For example, we know that higher education is moving to more blended and online classes and students who can successfully learn online will have huge advantages.

Some proof of these changes came on Wednesday when Arizona State University announced a new program that will shake up the way students experience college. Through a partnership with EdX, the university will offer freshmen the opportunity to earn full college-credit for the year by completing a series of completely online courses. Students can use these courses to jump start their college careers at ASU or to transfer to other universities.

Why is this program unique?

  1. There is no admissions process – so no transcripts, essays or standardized test scores are required for students to earn a full year of credit.
  2. Students can start earning the credits while they’re still in high school or while they’re working.
  3. Students do not have to pay to take the courses.
  4. Students can choose to earn ASU credit for the course by paying $200 per credit after they’ve completed the course.

What do you think about the changing landscape of higher ed? Let us know at

#Iwishmyteacherknew Goes Viral

by Kristie Burk

Have you heard about #iwishmyteacherknew?  Denver third grade teacher Kyle Schwartz gave the writing assignment as a way to get to know her students better, but it turned into something much more powerful.

The idea went viral – on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, newspapers and the national news. Now teachers all across America are joining in!

The idea is simple…  Ask your students to complete the following:   I wish my teacher knew ____ about me. (The answers can be anonymous.)

Teachers are sharing the thoughts on Twitter using #iwishmyteacherknew.  Some of them are really heartbreaking; you can read some below.

Do you want to replicate the assignment with your students?  Share the responses using #iwishmyteacherknew and tweet them to me @KristieLBurk!

Tech Tip Tuesday: Assignments vs Events in Schoology

by Kristie Burk

We’ve been using the Enterprise version of Schoology for the last few months and have been getting lots of positive feedback from teachers, parents and students. However, it has come to our attention that there are some issues with using the “events” function to let students know about upcoming assignments, including homework, tests, projects, essays, etc.

If you are creating “events” to let students and parents know about upcoming assignments, please watch this important five-minute video:


Food for Thought Friday: What Harvard Has Learned About Online Classes

by Kristie Burk

If you’re teaching a blended class or you just want to incorporate more digital learning into your face-to-face classroom, take some time this weekend to read “What Harvard Business School Has Learned About Online Collaboration From HBX” from Harvard Business Review.

Last year, The Harvard Business School launched HBX, a digital learning initiative. By all accounts, it has been successful; the completion rate was just over 85% with high satisfaction scores.

In this excellent article, authors Bharat Anand, Jan Hammond, and V.G. Narayanan discuss some of the important things that they’ve learned, including:

  • making sure the students get to know each other before collaborating;
  • requiring students to interact with the material (watching a video doesn’t count);
  • and tying participation and online collaboration to grades.

Let us know what you think!

Tech Tip Tuesday: Drag and Drop Attachments into Schoology

by Kristie Burk

One of the (many) things that I love about Schoology is that it’s constantly releasing new enhancements to the software. A recent release now allows you to upload files via drag-and-drop. Drag a file from your computer onto a “drop zone” (see below) to automatically attach it to your item.  The drop zone will turn green when you’ve hit it correctly.

You can drag-and-drop material to Assignments, Discussions, Updates, and Calendar Events.