Eliminating Data Security Risks in EdTech

Data security in the school enterprise world is an enormous challenge. Typically, the basic data needed by any EdTech solution vendor will consist of what is referred to as the roster data, which consists of the names and course affiliations of students and teachers within every school building.  Without these names and corresponding data, the application vendors could not create accounts for the end users of their systems. This process usually requires a bulk upload of the data using an extracted report from a Student Information System (SIS) that the school or the district office uses. The roster data changes frequently, so it is important for these files to be updated and uploaded daily through an automated data extraction and upload process, which is labor intensive to set up and maintain.

Managing Multiple EdTech Vendors Is Costly and Time-Consuming

If we assume that a typical school uses a minimum of 25 enterprise applications from 25 different vendors, then the data upload process needs to be set up in 25 discrete instances. That is a lot of work for any school with limited resources, and all schools have limited resources.  Complicating the process further, many vendors require other forms of data that go beyond the roster data, which means that there may be more than one source of data that is needed by a vendor and needs to be extracted (e.g. food, transportation, and gradebooks, to name a few).  Imagine the challenge! Some vendors bypass this process and take shortcuts that involve using the teachers in the classroom as a source of data, yet we all know that this is not a good utilization of teachers’ time and skills, and in many cases, schools create policies forbidding teachers from providing student or parent personal data to vendors, to minimize risks of data and privacy breach.

Protecting End Users Must Be a Priority

Most innovative consumer-oriented solutions today are accessed and used by end users through mobile applications that run on one of many forms of web-connected devices. This means that each user, regardless of age or the role they serve in the school, will most likely have to set up a personal account, agree to the vendor’s data privacy terms, and provide their profile data to the third-party vendor, to be able to use the product effectively. Some vendors, not all, do a great job taking data security and consumer privacy seriously, protecting the personal data of their end users and being transparent about what they do with the data. But you’re still asking students to interact with third-party platforms and provide personal information that may or may not be adequately protected.

GG4L Connect is designed to address the issue of data security so that schools can take advantage of multiple EdTech solutions without worrying about data security. GG4L Connect is consent-based, requiring the school data administrator to be 100% in control of inviting or approving a vendor to access a data subset or all the school’s stored SIS data. GG4L Connect is a global infrastructure with the ability to on-board any school’s data from any location in the world. We offer our EdTech vendors the option to invite an unlimited number of their school customers to join GG4L for free.

The members and sponsors of the Global Grid for Learning are democratizing access to K-12 data and applications. We’re making EdTech easier to deploy, more effective for teachers and students, and more affordable for districts and vendors. Connect to the Grid. Take part in an Impact Initiative. Be a sponsor. Let’s make EdTech better together! Learn more.

Healthy Schools = Healthy Community

Schools are the heart of each community. One out of two families in any neighborhood has at least one child who attends school. We trust schools with our children’s safety and well-being, and count on our schools to assist us as parents in educating our children and preparing them for their lifelong journey. Accordingly, local schools are critical to all of us and can greatly influence the overall socio-economic well-being of our communities.

When Schools Flourish, the Whole Community Excels

A highly rated public-school district is an important factor in creating demand for people to live in nearby homes, thus creating an increased demand for real estate properties. The ensuing surge in the average selling price of homes can provide a nice economic gain to the home owners of such a fortunate community.  Businesses also flourish around great schools. The better the economic security of the families in the community, the higher their spending power on consumer goods and services. So why should we all care about the health of our local schools? Because there is enough evidence that proves healthy schools lead to healthy surrounding communities.

Improving School Health through EdTech

Having great technology infrastructure in schools is no longer a nice-to-have – it is a must-have. Without technology, schools are unable to leverage the innovation that offers a positive impact not just inside the classroom but also in other critical components that affect our children’s safety.  A well-architected, resourced, and executed technology roadmap is mission critical to embracing innovative solutions that will ultimately improve the prosperity of each school.  But that technology must be not only accessible and affordable for schools but also protect the data of every user.

So how do we deliver the innovation, technology, and data security that schools need? It is the mission of Global Grid for Learning (GG4L), a Public Benefit Corporation, to accomplish exactly that! GG4L will create a sustainable impact in the world by helping schools solve the problem of secure and private data interoperability while reducing direct and indirect costs, by leveraging impact investments made by philanthropic foundations, CSRs, and local school communities.

This is a new era of giving where the money will be directly invested to affect the bottom line of every school, making hundreds of thousands of schools around the globe healthier, ultimately improving the lives of every citizen. GG4L is an ambitious global endeavor.  It will take years to be able to benefit every school around the world, but we intend to stay focused on our mission of improving the life of every citizen by focusing on schools, and their well-being, one school at a time.

Whether you are a school district, an EdTech vendor, or a potential sponsor, joining GG4L’s collaborative is easy. For further details about GG4L, how to join GG4L, or how to participate in an upcoming Impact Initiative, simply visit: https://gg4l.com/ or contact us at info@gg4l.com.

Global Grid for Learning (GG4L) Merges with EduTone to Launch the First Ever Membership-Based, Data-Driven, Social Impact Platform in K-12 Education

September 27, 2018 ​| Bay Area, CA, Global Grid for Learning (GG4L), a Public Benefit Corporation, today announces the completion of its merger with EduTone Corporation. Effective immediately, EduTone will be renamed Global Grid for Learning, PBC, and Robert Iskander is named Chairman and CEO of the combined legal entity.

As a membership based, data driven collaborative, GG4L seeks to democratize access to proven effective EdTech solutions for students everywhere according to individual school needs and district priorities.

GG4L Connect, a relaunch of EduTone’s market proven education data interoperability technology, is now available as a free platform for schools to manage data exchange with EdTech solution vendors. Through EduTone’s existing distribution network, GG4L will now serve a large footprint of schools including three of the top ten largest U.S. school districts. GG4L Connect is compliant with student data privacy regulations, open standards and industry best practices to ensure school communities can safely and securely deploy innovative EdTech solutions.

To sustain its free data exchange platform, GG4L offers sponsorship opportunities to the private sector, e.g. corporations and foundations, who wish to extend their impact reach in K-12 education under this new model. Sponsors effectively enable improved equality of access for all schools at scale. Further, GG4L Sponsors are given access to a myriad of managed impact initiatives that align with their social impact goals, e.g. Community Engagement, STEM Acceleration, School Safety, College Readiness, Career Preparedness, and several others.

As Robert Iskander, GG4L’s CEO and Founder shared, “after 25+ years of observing the challenges and opportunities in K-12 education, I am convinced that now is the time to lead with a platform that enables school communities to deploy, validate, and sustain the implementation of innovative EdTech solutions through a combination of corporate and philanthropic funding. GG4L is starting with a foundational initiative to subsidize the data exchange overhead costs traditionally absorbed by the EdTech vendor community and subsequently passed on the districts in the purchase price of their solutions. This should be welcome news for both vendors and schools, who in turn benefit from this subsidy.”

Whether you are a school district, an EdTech vendor or a potential sponsor, joining GG4L’s collaborative is easy. For further details about GG4L, how to join GG4L or how to participate in an upcoming Impact Initiative, simply visit: https://www.GG4L.com or contact us at info@gg4l.com.

About Global Grid for Learning (GG4L)

Embracing the belief that our nations’ education system impacts our future, GG4L is building innovative public and private partnerships mindfully structured to harness the power of data to solve big school challenges such as school safety, literacy, college and career readiness, and student wellness. With privacy and security top of mind, GG4L, a 3-way partnership between schools (government), industry, and philanthropy, actively champions continuous cycles of improvement informed by data. By facilitating affordable access to proven solutions and efficacy data, GG4L fuels rapid innovation in education. As a Public Benefit Corporation, we are committed to voluntarily meeting higher standards of corporate purpose, accountability and transparency. We are explicitly mandated to pursue positive social impact along with financial prosperity.

About EduTone Corporation

EduTone provides schools with a more efficient and secure way to manage access to digital resources so they can refocus their energies on what’s most important. The EduTone Xchange Passport is a single sign-on platform that works on any device to provide users with a single username, password and point of access while the DataZone is an SIS/LMS integration service that makes provisioning subscription services easier. EduTone serves schools and districts around the world directly, through resellers and through white label partners. EduTone is a privately held corporation headquartered in Alameda, California, with affiliated offices in the UK and Australia. To learn more, visit http://www.edutone.com.